A highlight of the afternoon was no doubt Los Angeles forward Marta, named as the Women’s World Player of the Year for the past three years by FIFA, soccer’s worldwide governing body.
The Home Depot Center crowd greeted the diminutive 23-year-old player from Brazil like a rock star. There was even a corner of the stadium staked out for “Marta’s Maniacs.”
And for the most part Marta didn’t disappoint though it’s clear that her electrifying skills will have to be woven into the Sol as they develop as a team.
The first strike came 5 minutes, 26 seconds into the match. Sol defender Allison Falk, who never achieved more than second-team All-Pacific-10 honors at Stanford, tipped a long ball from Japanese star Aya Miyami into the net with a flick of her head. Sol Goooal!
One bright star for the Washington Freedom was Abby Wambach, the U.S. national team star who was playing competitively for the first time since breaking her leg last July 16. The nearly six foot tall forward made a couple of good runs but couldn’t get through the Sol defense.
While the game lacked some of the intensity I would have liked, it was an admirable start to what I hope is a long and successful run for the league. Once the teams work out the kinks and get a rhythm going, the entertainment value should increase and rivalries will become better established to add to the drama.
For now, watching Marta’s explosive play up close and in person was enough.
Check out some highlights from the day: