Today was one of the few home games I didn’t attend at the Home Depot Center, and the No. 1 ranked LA Sol suffered a loss at the hands of the Saint Louis Athletica. Would the outcome have been different had I been there? Probably not but I still feel a bit guilty.
Despite the loss, the Sol remain in first place the WPS standings at 11-2-4 (37 points), while the Athletica tighten their grasp on second with a 23 points and 7-5-2 record.
According the league’s game report:
Saint Louis took the lead just 11 minutes into the match when midfielder Amanda Cinalli slotted home a pass from Eniola Aluko past a helpless Karina LeBlanc in the Sol net. The Sol nearly equalized in the 20th minute – Marta hit a low, first-time shot towards the goal that the Athletica’s Hope Solo dove to her left to smother.
Chinese forward Han Duan almost drew the Sol even in the 31st minute after collecting a pass from Marta and eluding a couple of defenders in the penalty area, but Solo knocked her low shot out of danger. Neither team threatened for the remainder of the first half and the visitors clung to the slimmest of margins at the interval.
In the opening minutes of the second half, the Sol threatened a couple of times in rapid succession, but were unable to break through the Athletica defense and the visitors remained in the lead.
Marta nearly equalized for the Sol in the 58th minute, but Solo parried her curling corner kick out of danger. Defender Brittany Bock got her head to a corner five minutes later, but Solo reacted quickly, covered the near post well and punched the ball off the line.
Miyama collected a pass from Marta in the box in the 67th minute, but she hesitated before taking a low shot and Solo cut off the angle and again made the save to preserve the victory.
This was the last home game of the 2009 season for the Los Angeles Sol.