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The Opening Whistle: Even in dealing one pick, Beat retain two first-rounders

Dan Lauletta

The Beat’s 3-0 loss to Sky Blue FC last weekend dropped them to the bottom of the standings after what had been a promising start to the campaign.  The four-match losing streak has the coach seething, and led to a trade in which Kelly Parker and Julianne Sitch were acquired from the Western New York Flash.  The Beat did not sacrifice any manpower in the deal, only a first and second round draft pick in 2012.

The Beat still retain two first round picks, and will retain their first two with whichever pick winds up being third in the bunch becoming part of the trade.  So they will remain major players early in what is expected to be a strong draft.  The question is whether Parker and Sitch are enough to put the Beat into the playoff discussion or if they would have been better off hoarding the picks.  The club already has a poor history when it comes to trading draft picks, having shipped the picks that turned out to be Ali Riley and Becky Edwards for Allison Whitworth.  They later flipped Whitworth to Chicago and moved Johanna Rasmussen to magicJack in deals that saw them swap 2011 draft picks for picks in 2012.

One would imagine the Beat envisioned a return greater than Parker and Sitch when they began stocking up 2012 draft picks, but in the short term coach James Galanis is banking on the pair’s competitive edge and championship quality to rub off on a struggling group.

“I know they are both very competitive so I think that It’s going to rub off on some of our younger players,” Galanis said of the pair who were teammates on the 2009 WPS champion Sky Blue FC.  “They are both fantastic individuals as locker room personalities and they have this never say die attitude which I think can help us a lot.”

The trade was an easy win for the Flash, who dealt depth players for a chance at three top eight picks in 2012 (depending on any franchise shifting and where the Beat finish in the standings.)

Here’s how Week 8, the last before the US National Team players depart for good, is shaking out:

Saturday:  Atlanta Beat (1-5-1, 4 points) at magicJack (3-1-0, 8 points)

The Beat are struggling and will have their hands full with magicJack’s all-out attacking mentality.  magicJack is without Lindsay Tarpley and Shannon Boxx is questionable.  Christie Rampone though is not on the roster report meaning she should play.  The Beat will be looking to integrate new acquisitions Kelly Parker and Julianne Sitch.

KEYS TO THE MATCH: Can the Beat do enough early to win some confidence and put magicJack on their heels? If they fall behind early it could be a long night.

Saturday:  Boston Breakers (2-4-1, 7 points) at Sky Blue FC (1-3-1, 4 points)

It is amazing to think that Sky Blue, at 1-3-1, is playing a match to go level on points with the Breakers with a couple of games in hand.  But that’s exactly where they are after the Breakers have struggled out of the gate.  Sky Blue meanwhile, comes in off a three-goal outburst against the Beat that snapped them out of an early season funk.

KEYS TO THE MATCH: These are the two poster teams for the old saying, “We’re creating changes, we’re just not finishing them.”  Whoever finishes more precisely figures to emerge victorious in this one.

Sunday:  Western New York Flash (5-0-1, 16 points) at Philadelphia Independence (2-1-2, 8 points)

Caroline Seger returns to Philadelphia as does Marta, who gave the Independence fits in 2010.  This should be a good test for the hosts, who have found their game after a slow, choppy beginning to the season.  And it’s not too early to think that a Flash win would make it a mighty tall mountain to climb for the Independence to secure best record.

KEYS TO THE MATCH: Can the Independence stop Marta and Christine Sinclair? They couldn’t do it last year and it burned them right down to the championship match.

Three points of interest

1)     The first round pick the Beat sent to the Flash will almost definitely be the one originally acquired from the Chicago Red Stars.  Although no formal announcement has been made, that pick is likely to be slotted in at the end of the first round.

2)     magicJack owner Dan Borislow will serve the back end of his two-game suspension this weekend.  He is forbidden from participating in any match activities.  That being said a Christie Rampone tweet indicated that Borislow was firmly in charge during last Sunday’s loss at Western New York.

3)     The injury to Ifeoma Dieke could not have come at a worse time for the Breakers, who will lose their entire opening day back line to the World Cup.

Roster Report:

Boston Breakers @ Sky Blue FC (May 28, 2011)

Boston Breakers
Injured: Nikki Washington, Kelsey Davis, Jordan Angeli
Not rostered: Leah Blayney, Ifeoma Dieke, Taryn Hemmings, Elli Reed, Claire Zimmeck

Sky Blue FC
Injured: Lindsey Johnson
Questionable: Danielle Johnson
Not rostered: Kristin Arnold, Erin Guthrie, Jennie Clark

Atlanta Beat @ magicJack (May 28, 2011)

Atlanta Beat
Injured: Heather Mitts
Not rostered: Katie Bethke, Colleen Flanagan, Katie Fraine, India Trotter, Lauren Sesselmann

magicJack
Injured: Lindsay Tarpley
Questionable: Shannon Boxx
Not rostered: Amanda DaCosta, Meghan Klingenberg, Jillian Loyden, Sophie Schmidt

Western New York Flash @ Philadelphia Independence (May 29, 2011)

Western New York Flash
Injured: Candace Chapman
Not rostered: Ashleigh Bowers, Kim Brandao, Kaley Fountain, Alex Sahlen

Philadelphia Independence
Injured: Allison Falk
Unavailable: Veronica Boquete
Not rostered: Lauren Barnes, Gina DiMartino, Lauren Fowlkes, Robyn Jones

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