The plan to come to Chicago for a July vacation was made well before the WPSL Elite schedule came out, or even before the decision was made to cover the league at all this summer (which I thank AWK for, it’s been fun).
I knew I would basically miss a weekend of games, but when I saw July 7: Boston at New England, I had a sneaking suspicion it may be bad game to be absent for.
Of course, we know what happened next. Paul Riley had said all season that one “amateur” team would beat a “pro” team before the 2012 campaign concluded, and the Mutiny did so in spectacular fashion, scoring twice in stoppage time to give them a win over their intrastate rival Breakers, 2-1.
New England does not have the best team in WPSL Elite (as their 31 goals conceded in 11 matches can attest to), but they may be the most interesting thing to come out of this makeshift domestic women’s soccer season, at least on the East coast.
The Mutiny have a marketable star in youngster Morgan Andrews, one of the best attacking talents in Kate Howarth, and recently added to that with veteran Tiffany Weimer who – for my money, at least – was one of the most entertaining players in WPS (this side of Marta) when she played with FC Gold Pride just a couple of years ago.
Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, New England is only 4-5-2, and although it has a fairly favorable schedule to close, finishing above .500 will be difficult. But, even in competitive athletics, sometimes it’s not about the destination, but the journey to get there.
With goals galore, upsets of more heralded teams, and just entertaining soccer, the Mutiny journey has been a lot of fun.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Philadelphia, Indiana, and Chesapeake all sit on five points in the battle to avoid finishing last, which would be a solid accomplishment for any of those teams … If Western New York finishes second or third, it will play in the 5 p.m. semifinal game at Sahlen’s Stadium on Wed, July 25 … Chicago (+17), Boston (+16), and WNY (+16) are separated by only one in goal difference as well … Chicago and Boston are the only two teams who have not drawn a match … Kyah Simon and Tameka Butt were called into the Australia team for Wednesday’s friendly with Japan in Tokyo. It’s unclear how many games they’ll miss (they played in both this weekend), but will certainly log plenty of frequent flier miles going to Tokyo and back.
New York 4:0 New England
It was a week ago, but I didn’t have a chance to report on this game (or even know what the heck was going on, but that’s a story for another day), but the Fury seemed like an angry team with something to prove and basically played the Mutiny off the field. With the schedule fairly light down the stretch, the Fury might escape fourth place yet before next weekend.
Indiana 0:2 Philadelphia
A week after Indiana got its first win on the road at Philly, the Fever returned the favor, which is only fair, I guess. If you’ve ever gone through an entire season without a win, you’d understand.
Boston 3:1 Chesapeake
Very impressive effort from the Charge here, who actually had a little of the play in Heather O’Reilly send-off game. The Breakers get a deserved three points, but coupled with the result the next day, is it time to worry a little about Boston’s title capabilities? They should be rested by then at least.
Chicago 1:0 Philadelphia
Fairly lackluster effort from the Red Stars, but the Fever have been very tough to break down of late (and are in Boston this weekend). Chicago has a tough closing schedule, and I plan on being at their last three regular season games (WNY, at New England, at New York). We shall see.
WNY 4:0 Chesapeake
The Charge were slightly tired, the Flash were rested, and dominated basically from start to finish. If you were putting odds on the winner of WPSL Elite at the moment, WNY probably has to be your favorite, playing at home and – with the exception of a half against New England – playing well lately.