Saint Louis Athletica players found out at halftime of their game Saturday that they had clinched a playoff berth as a result of Washington Freedom's loss to FC Gold Pride earlier in the afternoon. Then they went out and finished off the Boston Breakers in the second half to wrap up a second-place finish in the 2009 WPS regular season -- and earn the right to host the WPS Super Semifinal on Aug. 19 that goes with it.
Three teams entered the weekend with the chance to clinch playoff berths -- Boston, Saint Louis and Washington -- but only the Athletica could get the job done, as three teams will now vie for the final two spots in the WPS Playoffs in the last week of the regular season. Sky Blue FC, the third team with a chance to reach the playoffs, had a bye in Week 19.
FC Gold Pride 3, Washington Freedom 2
For the second time in three head-to-head games between these two teams, a late goal in a high-scoring affair was the difference as FC Gold Pride put Washington's playoff hopes on hold until Week 20 with a 3-2 victory at Buck Shaw Stadium on an 83rd-minute goal by Adriane. Washington came in with a chance to clinch a playoff berth, but were undone by FC Gold Pride's offense which had a multi-goal game for the first time since late April to end a 10-game winless streak. Sixteen goals were scored in three head-to-head games between these cross-country rivals this season. Washington hosts Sky Blue FC to close the season.
Saint Louis Athletica 1, Boston Breakers 0
Saint Louis Athletica were just minutes away from clinching a playoff berth last weekend before giving up a late goal to FC Gold Pride. This week, the Athletica found out at halftime that Washington's loss had put them in the playoffs -- and they went on to notch a 1-0 victory over Boston to secure a place in the WPS Super Semifinal as the second-place finisher in the WPS Regular Season. A first-half goal by Eniola Aluko -- her sixth this season -- was all the Athletica needed, as the Breakers failed to score for the third straight game and will need either a win or tie against Los Angeles this weekend to reach the playoffs depending on other results during the week.
Chicago Red Stars 3, Los Angeles Sol 1
In a meaningless game in the standings, the Chicago Red Stars defeated the Los Angeles Sol, 3-1 in front of 7,959 fans at Toyota Park, the third-highest attendance on the WPS Season.
The Red Stars played one of their most complete games of the season as all three offensive stars –--Carli Lloyd, Lindsay Tarpley and Cristiane -- notched goals in the upset of the regular season-winners. Chicago finishes its season Wednesday at Midwest rival Saint Louis, while the Sol travel to Boston on Sunday. Los Angeles is now 0-2-1 in their last three games, but have already clinched a place in the WPS Championship at The Home Depot Center on August 22.