Not much is worse than a test on a Friday, especially when it’s 80 degrees and sunny in early June.
But this Friday night’s tests will be a lot better than those pop quizzes your most despised teacher hands out to see if you read those 100 pages last night about Medieval Europe. No, no. Friday night is test night and it should be a fun one.
Several W-League and WPSL Elite League teams embark on critical tests on Friday as the rest of us kick back and look on to see if these squads are for real. Some are playing top level opponents; others must deal with international absences.
It’s still early June, but for, say, the Seattle Sounders Women, Friday night’s line-up is the one they will have to go with in late July, should they still be playing then (playoff time, people).
So pen’s down; grab some popcorn. These are your Friday tests:
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Women @ Seattle Sounders Women (W-League), Friday, 10 p.m. ET, Starfire Soccer Stadium, Tukwila, Wa.
Vancouver still has a goose egg in the win column and the team’s 0-3-1 mark is frankly embarrassing for a traditionally strong Whitecaps program. The team’s record and criticism surrounding it are without a doubt serious motivation and the unbeaten Sounders Women will be without U.S. stars Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, Sydney Leroux and Megan Rapinoe, who are in Sweden preparing for the Olympics. The test: Win without the stars. Seattle did that in Vancouver two weeks ago, but could there be a Cascadia upset in the making?
New York Fury @ Chicago Red Stars (WPSL Elite League), Friday, 7 p.m. ET, Concordia University, River Forest, Ill.
The Chicago Red Stars composed the biggest win of the young WPSL Elite League on Sunday by defeating the previously invincible Boston Breakers 1-0. That led to a first-place ranking on our power rankings, but not without reservations on just how good this team is. While Boston has already defeated New York (on the road) and the Western New York Flash – the league’s other marquee teams – Chicago’s 3-0 record features two wins against last-place FC Indiana. The test: Friday’s match against the Fury is a chance to prove that the win over Boston was not a fluke.
Pali Blues @ Colorado Rapids Women, 8 p.m. ET, Dick’s Sports Goods Park
Pali is perfect on the season (5-0-0, 15 pts.) and sits atop both the Western Conference and the entire W-League. However, while the Blue have played road matches, they have not yet left Southern California. Friday is the start of a two game road swing through Colorado, beginning with a match against the Rapids on Friday and ending with another stiff test against the Colorado Rush on Sunday. The test: Win on the road against a physical and fairly decent Rapids Women team. This stretch will answer just how much of a title contender Pali is in the competitive Western Conference. Friday marks the start of five-straight road games for the Blues.