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RSL returns to Salt Lake, hopes to extend home streak

Posted on 24 July 2010 by kali

Real Salt Lake’s overall unbeaten streak may be over, but the team will be looking to keep its 18-game unbeaten run at Rio Tinto Stadium alive on Saturday when Chivas USA comes to visit.

RSL, despite having its 10-game unbeaten and 567-minute shutout streaks ended last weekend in a 2-0 loss at FC Dallas, has more than just its first home match since the Independence Day weekend to look forward to.  Midfielder and captain Kyle Beckerman, who has been out of action for the past seven matches with a foot injury, is likely to return to the lineup on Saturday.  Beckerman’s return would give coach Jason Kreis nearly a full complement of players from which to choose, with the exception of players away on loan with USL teams.

Real will face a Chivas team that has made some significant roster changes since the two teams last met in May, a match which RSL won 2-1 at the Home Depot Center.  The Goats recently signed midfielders Paulo Nagamura and Rodolfo Espinoza and striker Giancarlo Maldonado, then acquired U.S. youth international Sal Zizzo in a lottery earlier this week.  While Maldonado and Espinoza both played in Superliga action this week and are expected to play a role in Saturday’s match, Zizzo is unlikely to appear.

Chivas’ visit to Rio Tinto Stadium will also mark a homecoming for striker Justin Braun, who grew up in Salt Lake City.  Braun has scored six goals this season, with three of those coming in the last five games; although he is officially listed as questionable for Saturday’s match, he expects to play.  Coach Martin Vazquez said of Braun’s recent form, “That’s huge, and it is well deserved. He comes in every day and works. The last two games, he has come in and taken his chances, as well.”

However, the Goats will be without defender Jonathan Bornstein, who has a knee strain, and goalkeeper Zach Thornton, who is out with an ankle sprain.

Regardless of the players that Vasquez selects on Saturday, Real coach Jason Kreis expects his own team to move on from last week’s defeat and return to winning form.  “We move forward. We need to forget that game as quickly as possible,” Kreis said. “The biggest concern is how the players will view it and whether or not they can move on quickly. We haven’t lost a game in a long time, so it feels brand new.”

The match will kick off at 8 pm MT and can be seen locally on KUTV 2.2.

In other RSL news:

  • Defender Jamison Olave received his green card this week, meaning that he will no longer occupy an international spot on RSL’s roster.  Although RSL is not expected to make any immediate major acquisitions, the spot will allow more flexibility when considering international players in the future.
  • Goalkeeper Nick Rimando was named to the MLS All-Star team this week; he will join Olave, Beckerman, and Javier Morales on the squad for Wednesday’s match against Manchester United in Houston.

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Pauliina Miettinen out as Sky Blue FC head coach

Posted on 20 July 2010 by lbarker

Pauliina Miettinen has apparently run out of tickets to continue riding the ever-popular ‘Sky Blue FC Coaching Carousel Ride.’  On Monday the New Jersey-based club announced that head coach Miettinen had been “relieved of her coaching duties.”  Miettinen’s axing came just one day after Sky Blue suffered a disappointing home loss to the bottom-of-the-table Atlanta Beat.  Assistant coach Anne Parnila was also informed that she could no longer ride this ride.  “We respect Pauliina a great deal and appreciate the effort she put forth for our organization,” said Sky Blue FC General Manager Gerry Marrone in a statement from the team.  “Her hard work and passion for the team and the game were never in question. Sometimes, a situation simply does not work out. That is part of the learning process involved when it comes to professional sports. We have to be resilient, as well as continue to adapt and grow.”

Miettinen was brought in by Sky Blue FC in September of 2009, little more than a month after the team won the inaugural WPS Championship with team captain and central defender Christie Rampone at the helm.  Rampone was named player/coach of Sky Blue on June 30, 2009 after Kelly Lindsey unexpectedly resigned with just two regular season games remaining and the team fighting for a playoff spot.  From her spot on the backline Rampone, along with her long-time trainer Mike Lyons* acting as the assistant on the sidelines, guided the Blue and Orange to a 1-1 record through those two final games.  From there the team embarked on a Cinderella-like run through the WPS playoffs, capturing the title with an upset victory over the top-seeded Los Angeles Sol.  Lindsey’s resignation had been especially shocking because she was already Sky Blue’s second coach, coming on after the team’s original head coach, Ian Sawyers, was fired just six games into the ’09 season.  Lindsey was an assistant under Sawyers, but took over the reigns after, as Sky Blue CEO Thomas Hofstetter put it then, “The disagreements between the coach, team and management made it impossible to move forward successfully.”  Lindsey managed to double Sawyers’ six-game tenure – lasting a dozen matches, and helping Sky Blue become a playoff contender – before making her exit.

Sky Blue has had an up-and-down season under Miettinen, the most consistency often coming in the fact that the New Jersey team was perhaps the most inconsistent in WPS.  Sky Blue started the 2010 season with high hopes for defending their title.  Just six minutes in to the season opener Tasha Kai scored what would be the game winner against the Chicago Red Stars.  Kai’s goal on April 11th, 2010 still stands as the only run-of-play goal the team has scored at home this season (Rosana converted a penalty kick on June 19th in Sky Blue’s 4-1 loss to Philadelphia).  Through Miettinen’s 14 game stay in the Garden State Sky Blue has amassed a 5-6-3 record, including a dominant 2-0 win over league leaders FC Gold Pride and the aforementioned [ugly] loss to the last-place Beat.  The team has often looked disconnected and occasionally uninterested, managing just 12 goals through 14 games and what has seemed at times like 1,000 different formations.  The last time anyone in blue and orange found the back of the net for Sky Blue was on July 10th.  Unfortunately it was an own goal from Daphne Koster, whose wayward clearance beat Sky Blue GK Kristin Luckenbill to put the opposing Chicago Red Stars up by two.  The last goal in the correct net came from Kai in the 88th minute of the win at Gold Pride – 272 minutes (that’s 3 full games plus 2 minutes) ago.

Rick Stainton has been named Sky Blue FC’s new head coach.  The New Jersey native is the team’s fifth in one-and-a-half seasons (for you math lovers that’s: 34 regular season games = 3,060 minutes / 5 coaches = an average of a new coach every 612 minutes or 6.8 games).  Stainton comes to Sky Blue FC from Sky Blue FC, where he’s been serving as the team’s goalkeeper coach.  “This is an opportunity that I truly look forward to embracing,” he said. Before coming to Sky Blue at the beginning of the 2010 season, Stainton was the administrator of the women’s soccer program at Seton Hall University, working alongside current US U-17 Women’s NT head coach Kazbek Tambi.  He’s also held various coaching positions at Caldwell College, Rider University and with the W-League NJ Wildcats.  “I am extremely humbled and appreciative of the trust that the organization is showing in me to complete the task at hand,” said Stainton.  “In talking with the team, they have shown a sincere confidence in the direction in which we are going and our ability to be successful. Together, I know we can achieve great things going forward, both on and off the field.”
Sky Blue has ten regular season games remaining and are currently in third place on the seven-team table, with 18 points.  Stainton will make his head coaching debut in the City of Brotherly Love on Saturday, when Sky Blue heads south to take on the second-place Independence.

*Speaking of Mike Lyons, what ever happened to that guy?

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Win tickets to USA v Brazil!

Posted on 16 July 2010 by ASN Staff

What do you think of the U.S. national team’s performance at the 2010 World Cup? Take the survey! You could win two tickets to see the U.S. take on Brazil at the New Meadowlands Stadium on Aug. 10. Click here to participate

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Real Salt Lake seeks to snap Dallas streak

Posted on 16 July 2010 by kali

Real Salt Lake looks to check another mark off its list on Saturday when the team visits FC Dallas in a key Western Conference matchup.

After eking out a historic win at Chicago last week, RSL will be seeking its first-ever road result in the series between the two sides.  Surprisingly, Real has never earned so much as a single point in Dallas, scoring only five goals in as many matches.

Given that Real is riding a 10-game unbeaten streak, it seems as though Saturday would be a perfect time to snap that losing streak in Dallas.  The Hoops are on a tear of their own, though, having gone unbeaten in their last five matches and suffering just one defeat since the middle of April.

Not only is each team’s streak on the line, but the result of the match could potentially have tremendous consequences for the Western Conference standings.  RSL is currently in second place, trailing the LA Galaxy by six points with a game in hand, while Dallas is currently tied for third along with San Jose and Colorado.

Adding to the pressure is the degree of familiarity that the two teams have with each other.  Real head coach Jason Kreis was a marquee player for Dallas before moving to Salt Lake in 2005, and current Hoops Jeff Cunningham and Atiba Harris both had stints with RSL earlier in their careers.

Earning a win at Pizza Hut Park would be especially sweet for Kreis.  “It’s a big one for me – I’ll be honest,” he remarked on the league’s official website.  “I have feelings about that club – I had been there so long. And every time I go back there’s a little bit extra on the line.”

To that end, Kreis has been preparing his team for the difficult conditions that a July match in Dallas brings, giving the team extra time off in order to be ready to deal with the heat and humidity.  Midfielder Andy Williams described the conditions to the Deseret News, stating, “The humidity there is unlike any other, and it’s pretty difficult, especially the last 20 minutes is when you’re all gasped for air.”

Kyle Beckerman (foot) and Nelson González (hamstring) remain questionable as they continue to recover from their long-term injuries.  In addition, Jamison Olave (knee), Robbie Russell (shoulder), and Alvaro Saborio (knee) have minor injuries but are considered probable for Saturday’s match; however, those issues could clear the way for the likes of Tony Beltran and Fabian Espindola to return to the starting lineup this week.

Meanwhile, Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman has nearly a full roster of players available.  The Hoops’ only injury listed is that of goalkeeper Dario Sala, who is out with a calf strain.

The match will kick off at 7:30 local time (6:30 pm MT) and can be seen in Utah on KUSG 2.2/Comcast 111.

In other RSL news:

  • Javier Morales, Olave, and Beckerman were all named to the MLS All-Star First XI that will take on Manchester United in Houston on July 28; however, Beckerman currently plans to skip the match in order to continue his recovery.
  • RSL finalized an extended loan deal that will keep González with the team through the end of the 2011 MLS season; González will remain on the roster as an international player throughout the loan.
  • The club recalled goalkeeper Tim Melia from the Charleston Battery and sent Kyle Reynish out in Melia’s place in an attempt to get Reynish more minutes before Real starts CONCACAF Champions League play.

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Has the coaching change made a difference for the Red Stars?

Posted on 14 July 2010 by mwkajdas

Two months ago, the Red Stars fired Emma Hayes, their coach of one and a quarter seasons and replaced her with their current coach, Omid Namazi. Despite building a team that, for the most part, dominated play against its opponents, especially in the second halves of games, the complaint against Hayes was that her team was not only not winning enough games but it was not scoring very many goals either. So has the Red Stars new coach solved the two problems that plagued the tenure of Emma Hayes?

On first glance, it would seem to be the case. In the first six games of this season under Emma Hayes, the Red Stars compiled a record of 1-4-1 and scored three goals while allowing 6. In their first seven games under new coach Omid Namazi, the Red Stars compiled a record of 2-1-4 and scored 6 goals (plus an own-goal from Sky Blue) while allowing 5.

However, the more things have changed, the more they have also stayed the same. Under Emma Hayes, the Red Stars’ lone victory was a 2-0 win over the Boston Breakers, currently the second worst team in the league. Omid Namazi’s two wins were a 2-1 victory over the same Boston team plus a 2-0 win over a Sky Blue team that was missing four of its players due to national team duty. Moreover, Emma Hayes’ squad lost to teams that were ranked above them in the league standings—Sky Blue FC, FC Gold Pride and the Philadelphia Independence. She did not stay on the job long enough to have the “luxury” of playing a single game against the Atlanta Beat, owner of the worst-ever record in WPS history. Omid Namazi, on the other hand, has played Atlanta three times already, earning two draws and the distinction of being the only team in WPS to lose to the Beat.

But the most important measure of a team’s progress is their place in the league standings. After six weeks of play, Omid Namazi’s Red Stars still remain ensconced in fifth place, out of playoff qualification, despite his taking over the job just after interim coach, Marcia McDermott, spotted him three points with a win over league-leading FC Gold Pride. In post-game press conferences, Namazi’s words still conjure up the ghost of Emma Hayes as he continually expresses frustration at the lack of finishing by his team’s forwards, calling out Cristiane in particular after the July 7th game. Of the six goals scored by the Red Stars since Namazi took over, four have come from Ella Masar instead of the high-priced Brazilian forward.

So did the Red Stars make the right move to change coaches so soon after the start of the season? Or is their real problem a lack of chemistry between Cristiane and the rest of the players on the pitch? The Red Stars play their next game July 21st at Atlanta for their fourth meeting with the Beat this year. Let’s see if Cristiane can prove her worth in that game and if the Red Stars can finally rack up at least one win against the last-place team in the league.

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Real Salt Lake seeks to extend winning streak, beat Chicago

Posted on 07 July 2010 by kali

Last time Real Salt Lake traveled to Chicago, the team returned as the MLS Eastern Conference champion.

Although there will be no conference championship on the line this time, RSL is looking for a similar result when it visits Toyota Park in a nationally-televised contest on Thursday night.  With only five days between last weekend’s 5-0 thrashing of the New England Revolution and Thursday’s match, RSL is looking to build on the momentum generated from that victory against a Fire side that has won only four games so far this season.

Despite having a roster with several big names, including midfielder Marco Pappa and former U.S. international Brian McBride, Chicago has struggled to find its footing in 2010 under new coach Carlos de los Cobos. Until last weekend’s loss to the Columbus Crew, the Fire had gone unbeaten in league play since May 1 yet managed only nine of a possible 15 points during that time.

In addition, the Fire are dealing with several key injuries at the moment.  Striker Calen Carr and veteran midfielder John Thorrington are out for Thursday’s match, while striker Patrick Nyarko is doubtful and defender Dasan Robinson questionable.  On the other hand, RSL coach Jason Kreis will have nearly a full complement of players from which to choose his roster.  While Kyle Beckerman’s recovery from a foot injury has been delayed by pain during training, Nelson Gonzalez has been upgraded to probable for the match.

However, if Real hopes to get three points against the Fire, the team will have some significant history to overcome.  RSL has never won a regular season match at Toyota Park, going 0-3-2 at the stadium to date.  Nor has Salt Lake outright defeated the Fire since 2006; last season’s Eastern Conference championship match was decided in penalty kicks.

Kreis is unlikely to make many changes to the starting eleven that earned such a resounding victory against the Revs, as his philosophy of not allowing the opponent to dictate RSL’s game plan has been yielding results; Real has amassed 27 points in 14 matches and are unbeaten in the last nine games.  Rather, Kreis looks at Thursday’s match as a unique challenge for his side.

“For me, when I look at this team, this represents one of the best challenges we’ve had in a very long time. It’s an away game, in a hard place to play, and they have some very, very good attacking dynamic midfielders that’s going to cause us concerns,” he told the Deseret News.

The match will kick off at 7:30 MT and can be seen nationwide on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.

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Columbus returns a vengeance

Posted on 03 July 2010 by jzidar

The knock out stage of the FIFA World Cup has begun and with it has come the return of the MLS regular season.  The Columbus Crew returned to action this week against DC United and then took on the Rochester Rhinos in Open Cup play….

Columbus

—————–Hesmer—————–

-Moffat–Brunner-Marshall–Padula-

——————Carroll—————–

—-Renteria—-Gaven—-Rogers—-

———–Schelotto—Garey———–

Bench: Gruenebaum; Iro(Padula 87′), Zayner; Ekpo(Garey 77′), Oughton, Duka, Lenhart(Renteria 70′)


DC United

——————–Perkins—————–

–McTavish–Jakovic–James–Graye–

—Pontius—King—–Simms—Najar—

———–Quaranta–Cristman———–

Bench: Hamid; Pena(James 53′), Rice; Morsink; Emilio, Moreno(Cristman 72′), Allsopp(Allsopp 81′)

After going undefeated in their first 6 games of the season Columbus went into the World Cup break on a low note. They lost at home to Los Angeles and then dropped points late at San Jose and Colorado, which turned a win and a tie into a draw and a loss.  When the official lineup was released it suggested that Warzycha was going with a 3-5-2 formation but when the players took the field it was soon apparent that Moffat was occupying the right back position.  Danny O’Rourke and Frankie Hejduk were still nursing injuries (knee and hamstring, respectively).  The move was one that raised a few eyebrows considering the availability of defenders Jed Zayner and Andy Iro. With Moffat on the backline and O’Rourke on the bench that left Eddie Gaven to slide into the center of the park with Brian Carroll. Gaven’s move left his normal position on the right wing up for grabs. Warzycha selected Emilio Renteria to start in that spot over Ekpo and had this to say about the decision, “We moved Eddie Gaven into the middle so we thought that Emilio (Renteria) would be effective on the right side. With his speed and his energy we thought he was gonna be good over there and he created a couple chances in the first half.” Renteria was a dangerous presence the entire first half but when he and Jason Garey switched positions in the second half was when he finally was able to make an impact.

In the 57th minute Jason Garey sent a  leading pass through the United defense and into the path of Renteria. Renteria took control and moved into the box from the right side.  DC goalkeeper Troy Perkins charged out of his goal and slid in for the tackle only to watch in dismay as Renteria calmly chipped the ball over him. The ball looked destined for the top corner but ended up being a bit high and pinged off the post. Schelotto was lurking at the far post and as the ball fell it smacked right into his hand. Without a second thought Schelotto let the ball fall to the ground and then slide it into the net as the United defense screamed for handball. Their pleas fell on deaf ears however and referee, Terry Vaughn, ruled the goal legitimate. “Situations like this sometimes they go for you sometimes they go against you. You’re gonna get some calls for and against so that is gonna even out at the end of the season.” said Warzycha when asked about Schelotto’s goal.

The Crew struck again exactly a half an hour later. In the 87th minute Guillermo Barros Schelotto found himself marching, yet again, out to take a corner kick.  He lined up the shot and eyed the usual targets who were jostling for position in the box.  The ball left his foot and Crew Stadium held its collective breath as Lenhart, Marshall, Iro and Brunner went skyward.  the ball flew towards the near post where Lenhart managed to get a touch on it and send it towards the back post where Brunner was able to knock it in, not with his head but with his foot! The Crew were up 2-0 over their long time rivals with 3 minutes and change left to play.

Columbus had the opportunity to slam the door on DC In the dying minutes of the game when Clyde Simms came in with a late tackle on Steven Lenhart.  The ball was placed on the spot but Columbus’ penalty pro, Schelotto, deferred to Lenhart in what he described post game as an attempt to give the young striker a boost of confidence. Unfortunately the plan back fired on the good intentioned Argentine. Lenhart chose power over finesse when taking his kick and slammed the ball right down the middle. Despite Perkins guessing wrong and diving full stretch to his right the shot was so fast that it ricocheted off his legs. Warzycha and Schelotto were seen having a discussion on the field after the match about how the penalty kick was handled. At first Warzycha smirked and simply said, “I’m a coach and he is a player so we talked about the game.” He then added, “I don’t think in my mind Steven should take a penalty. I think the game of soccer is specific. We remeber the time DC was winning 3-0 in Seattle and Seattle scored two goals in the last minute. Why put the team in a situation like that. 3-0 is 3-0. There is no way they can come back from three down. 2-0 is the worst score in soccer. I think Guillermo should have taken it.”

Columbus has a plethora of home games in the following weeks and it is crucial that they take as many points as possible while they have home field advantage if they want to cut the gap between themselves and Los Angeles in the race for the Supporters Shield.  Not only are the upcoming matches important in the battle for the SS but also for the top spot in the Eastern Conference (EC).  Three of their next five games are against intraconference foes.  Columbus faces Chicago(EC) at home this Saturday followed by a road trip to Houston. They then return home with fixtures against the Kansas City Wizards(EC), the New York Red Bulls(EC) and then another match up against Houston.  On top of all that Columbus began their run in the US Open Cup in a game on Tuesday in which they defeated the Rochester Rhinos 2-1 (Look for a recap of that game later tonight).  They will now face the Charlston Battery on July 6th at Columbus Crew Stadium.

Referee: Terry Vaughn, Referee Assistants: Philippe Briere; Daniel Belleau, 4th Official: Landis Wiley

Weather at kickoff: 80 degrees and overcast

In non-match news the Crew have announced that they have chosen to release forward Sergio Herrera.  Herrera was a pre-season signing that was intended to provide the team with a true forward capable of scoring double digit goals but since joining the club he has only seen one minute of MLS action.  The departure of Herrera has made a roster spot available which will be reclaimed by Kevin Burns who has returned from the disabled list after recovering from a sports hernia. Burns has begun practicing with the squad and will be available as soon as this Saturday against Chicago.

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RSL hosts Revs, looks for a little Fourth of July spark

Posted on 01 July 2010 by kali

If Real Salt Lake could select a theme for Friday’s match against the New England Revolution, it would certainly be that of fireworks.

Not only will the club host a pre-Fourth of July fireworks show after the match, but the team will be looking to set off a few pyrotechnics during the game as well.  After a 0-0 draw last weekend against the San Jose Earthquakes, RSL seeks to return to the high-scoring ways that sparked its eight-game unbeaten streak.  However, at the same time, the Revs will be looking to exact a little revenge from their last visit to Rio Tinto Stadium in April 2009, which resulted in a 6-0 RSL win.

On paper, the two teams couldn’t look much different.  Real has accumulated a 7-3-3 record in 2010, building on last season’s MLS Cup-winning effort with a consistent core roster and key additions such as Alvaro Saborio.  Meanwhile, the Revs have struggled throughout the season and are just 3-8-2 while battling with both injuries and consistency.

Even the two sides’ injury lists look vastly different.  Although Real’s Kyle Beckerman, who has missed several weeks with an injured foot, had hoped to return to the lineup on Friday, he has experienced some pain in training this week and his status for the match is unclear.  Nelson Gonzalez trained with the team this week, despite his loan deal expiring on Wednesday; club officials are hoping to work something out in order to keep the young midfielder in Salt Lake.  However, with Robbie Findley back in Salt Lake after returning from World Cup duty, RSL will have an additional option up front, although he is likely to be limited to a substitute role.

Meanwhile, New England have six players out with long-term injuries:  strikers Taylor Twellman, Edgaras Jankauskas, and Zak Boggs; midfielders Steve Ralston and Khano Smith; and goalkeeper Preston Burpo.  Defender Darrius Barnes is also listed as questionable with an ankle/foot sprain.

Given the Revs’ injuries and consistency issues, Steve Nicol’s side might be expected to come into Rio Tinto Stadium and employ the same midfield-clogging tactics that several opponents have used this season.  To that end, RSL coach Jason Kreis has emphasized finishing in training this week, hoping to avoid another scoreless result.

At the same time, Real must be careful not to overlook the Revs.  Shalrie Joseph will pose a threat in the midfield, while Zack Schilawski has five goals and Kheli Dube four assists this season.  In addition, goalkeeper Matt Reis has returned to action after recovering from off-season surgery.

The match will kick off at 8 pm MT and can be seen on MLS Direct Kick.

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WPS Picks 2010 All-Star Teams, Playground Style

Posted on 29 June 2010 by lbarker

On Monday night at STATS in downtown Atlanta, GA Women’s Professional Soccer held a one-of-a-kind event in preparation for the league’s 2010 All-Star Game. The game will take place on Wednesday June 30th at KSU Soccer Stadium, the Atlanta Beat’s brand-new soccer specific home on the campus of Kennesaw State University in Georgia.

In 2009 the WPS All-Stars faced off against Umea IK, topping the team that plays in the Swedish Damallsvenskan 4-2. For 2010 the league decided to go with a different and very unique format – pitting 36 of the leagues top players against each other in a schoolyard style game. To kick of the festivities WPS held a Pick ‘Em event at STATS where the two team captains, along with their coaches, picked their teams playground style. Fox Soccer Channel color commentator Jenn Hildreth MC’d the event.

The Washington Freedom’s Abby Wambach and FC Gold Pride’s Marta were chosen as team captains as they were the top two vote-getters in All-Star balloting. Abby’s XI, coached by Philadelphia Independence coach Paul Riley had the first pick – and went with a goalkeeper, US National Team teammate and Atlanta Beat ‘keeper Hope Solo. Marta’s XI followed suit, and along with coach FC Gold Pride Coach Albertin Montoya, chose Sky Blue ‘keeper Karen Bardsley with her first pick. From there the teams went back and forth, adding to rosters that had already been stocked with reserves selected by WPS Commissioner Tonya Antonucci.

Here are the picks – starters are listed in the order they were chosen:

Abby’s XI: Abby Wambach (F- Washington Freedom) (c), Hope Solo (GK – Atlanta Beat), Amy LePeilbet (D – Boston Breakers), Tina Ellertson (D – Atlanta Beat), Cat Whitehill (D – Washington Freedom), Shannon Boxx (M – FC Gold Pride), Heather O’Reilly (F – Sky Blue FC), Lori Lindsey (M – Philadelphia Independence), Lori Chalupny (M – Atlanta Beat), Enoila Aluko (F – Atlanta Beat), Lauren Cheney (F – Boston Breakers) // Reserves: Angie Kerr (M -Atlanta Beat), Karen Carney (M – Chicago Red Stars), Kelley O’Hara (F – FC Gold Pride), Laura Kalmari (M – Sky Blue FC), Tasha Kai (F – Sky Blue FC), Jillian Loyden (GK – Chicago Red Stars) // Coach: Paul Riley (Philadelphia Independence) // Not available due to injury: Kate Markgraf (D- Chicago Red Stars)

Marta’s XI: Marta (F – FC Gold Pride) (c), Karen Bardsley (GK – Sky Blue FC), Rachel Buehler (D – FC Gold Pride), Allison Falk (D – Philadelphia Independence), Brittany Taylor (D – Sky Blue FC), Kelly Smith (M – Boston Breakers), Sonia Bompastor (M – Washington Freedom), Aya Miyama (M – Atlanta Beat), Kristine Lilly (M – Boston Breakers), Christine Sinclair (F – FC Gold Pride), Ramona Bachmann (F – Atlanta Beat) // Reserves: Christie Rampone (D – Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (D – Washington Freedom), Amy Rodriguez (F – Philadelphia Independence), Erin McLeod (GK – Washington Freedom), Alex Scott (D – Boston Breakers), Cristiane (F – Chicago Red Stars) // Coach: Albertin Montoya // Not available due to injury: Caroline Seger (M – Philadelphia Independence)

“Coaching the World All-Stars almost is unbelievable. I mean, the amount of talent that will be in our locker room tomorrow and Wednesday is fantastic” said Abby’s XI Coach Riley. “It’s just a matter of natural ability. Let ’em go, roll the ball out, roll the dice, and see what happens. It’s an amazing amount of talent on the team.” The first year WPS coach, whose Independence currently sit in second place in the standings, just a point behind league leaders, Montoya’s FC Gold Pride, continued on about the level of talent that was available, “Me and Abby look down the list and we’re going ‘it doesn’t even matter who you pick next’.”

After all the selections were made, both coaches lobbied for a trade. According to Riley, Montoya wanted Kelley O’Hara, who plays for him on Gold Pride, and he wanted Amy Rodriguez, who plays for him in Philadelphia, but the players weren’t having it. Once the official proceedings ended players socialized and signed autographs for fans before heading back to Kennesaw.

On Tuesday morning both teams went through a light training session on opposite halves of a field just off the main pitch at KSU Soccer Stadium. Marta’s XI starting ‘keeper Karen Bardsley took a knock when she came out for a cross during the training session and spent the rest of the practice off the field with her shoulder wrapped in ice. It’s not clear whether Bardsley, who currently leads WPS in clean sheets (5) and goals against (.90), will be available for Wednesday’s match. “You can get hurt walking across the street or coming out here” Montoya said of Bardsley’s apparent injury. He stressed that it didn’t occur on a reckless play.

Riley had predicted a 7-5 scoreline after the selections were made on Monday night, and then followed that prediction up with this one: “That might be an underscore. I think it might go even higher than that…I don’t think you’ll see a lot of defending going on on Wednesday night.” But after the practice session both coaches were singing a slightly different tune. “We were having our issues scoring. The first finishing game we were gonna play up to ten goals, then I brought it down to eight, then I brought it down to six” Marta’s XI Coach Montoya said after practice. Ultimately though, he wasn’t worried “I think we were just kind of saving it for tomorrow.”

The 2010 WPS All-Star Game will air on Fox Soccer Channel on Wednesday, June 30th. Coverage starts at 7:30pm ET and kickoff is slated for 8pm ET.

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Injury-riddled RSL hope to avenge USOC loss to DC

Posted on 05 June 2010 by kali

Real Salt Lake hopes to cap off a busy week in Washington, D.C., with a win over DC United on Saturday night, but it won’t be easy.

Not only have injuries hit Jason Kreis’ squad hard over the past week, but RSL lost 2-1 in extra time to United in a U.S. Open Cup play-in match on Wednesday.  Those extra minutes, combined with an upcoming home match against Los Angeles next Wednesday and a full slate of activities this week, mean that Kreis will be juggling his players’ tired legs with tactical decisions on Saturday.

Although Wednesday’s loss kept Real out of the Open Cup for the fourth time in four years, it wasn’t for lack of effort.  After a scoreless first half, usual starters Javier Morales, Fabian Espindola, and Alvaro Saborio entered the match as both teams tried to break the stalemate; however, each side was only able to score by converting penalty kicks late in the game.  D.C. rookie Andy Najar ended up making the difference in the match, scoring on a mazy run and splitting the RSL defense to give United the lead.

Kreis said Wednesday that he was pleased with his team’s effort, despite the result, and that he would be speaking with the players to see who felt strong enough to play Saturday.  “Those are all conversations that have yet to come, with the players in particular, to see how many guys are really up to it. We have to make sure we do everything we can for them to get them prepared.”

Defender Nat Borchers added, “I think everybody’s fired up for this game on Saturday. I think that we know if we come out and play that type of football and bring a little more into the final third that we’re going to come out on top.”

That intensity will be critical for RSL on Saturday, as several key players have gone down with injury over the past week.  Kyle Beckerman’s foot injury continues to keep him out of the lineup, while Nelson Gonzalez and Chris Wingert have both been listed as unavailable with hamstring injuries suffered last week.  Andy Williams, who was substituted at halftime of last week’s win over the Kansas City Wizards with a hamstring problem, is considered doubtful, although he planned to participate in training on Friday.  While most of the injuries affect the midfield, Robbie Findley’s absence with the U.S. World Cup team means that Kreis will have one less option up front as well.

United’s injury list is fairly substantial as well.  Brandon Barklage, Marc Burch, Bryan Namoff, and Andrew Quinn remain out with long-term injuries, while Dejan Jakovic is considered questionable and Luciano Emilio probable.

Although RSL has never won a league match at RFK, the players might consider DC a second home after the past week.  In addition to the two scheduled matches, several players and staff participated in an MLS Works/Nothing But Nets charity event at the Washington Monument on Thursday, while the members of the 2009 MLS Cup championship team visited the White House on Friday.

Yet despite the scheduling challenges, RSL has no plans to take its foot off the pedal going into the World Cup break.  “It’s a big opportunity on Saturday to get three points,” Will Johnson said.  “We’ve got two big games now before this break to put ourselves in a really good spot. It’s a crucial game, a massive opportunity for us.”

The match will kick off at 7:30 ET (5:30 MT) and can be seen in Utah on KUSG (KUTV 2.2/Comcast 111).

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