Saturday, April 12, 2003

WUSA Soccer: Boston vs. Atlanta

The first 30 minutes of this match did not predict a high-scoring game, as most of the action took place at midfield, and both teams seemed content to kick the ball out of bounds at any sign of trouble. But the quick, aggressive play of Homare Sawa hinted that she would be a key player for Atlanta. Kristine Lilly controlled the left side of the field for Boston, but had few good attacking opportunities.

In the 36th minute, Atlanta's Maribel Dominguez took a free kick from the top of the Boston penalty arc. Dominguez blasted the ball perfectly over the wall of defenders and it bounced off the crossbar and into the goal, leaving Boston keeper LeBlanc no chance to make the save. Less than 5 minutes later, Sawa took advantage of some defensive confusion at the top of the penalty area, and scored her first goal of the season on a low shot that hit the right goalpost and caromed in.

In the last few seconds of first-half stoppage time, Lilly got in close against Scurry and shot from a bad angle, but Scurry easily made the save and the first half ended with Atlanta up 2-0. Surprisingly, Cindy Parlow was not much of a factor.

In the second half, Dominguez once again took a free kick from a nearly identical spot at the top of the penalty area. This time she opted to shoot around the wall instead of over it, and blasted the ball into the left side of the goal to give Atlanta a 3-0 lead.

After getting a yellow card for a seemingly minor foul, Sawa scored again on a one-timer in the 63rd minute. Shortly thereafter, Dominguez put together the play of the game when she stole the ball from a Boston defender, dribbled past two others, and completed her hat trick with a goal from near the penalty spot. Cripton added a 6th Atlanta goal in stoppage time. The dominance of Sawa and Dominguez, though exciting to watch, does not necessarily bode well for the U.S. in the upcoming World Cup, since these two players play for Japan and Mexico respectively. Final Score: Atlanta 6, Boston 0.

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