Kelly Smith made an immediate impact as a substitute for Boston Breakers on Wednesday.
After coming on in the second half because of knee trouble, the former Arsenal star swung in a 76th minute corner for Jennifer Nobis to head home and salvage a 1-1 home draw with FC Gold Pride of Santa Clara.
England’s Alex Scott also lined up for Boston who nearly snatched the win when Kristine Lilly’s shot came back off the cross bar.
The draw means Boston have gone five games without a win, frustrating their coach Tony Dicicco. “We saw the worst and the best in this team,” he said. “It’s a Jekyll and Hyde story. It was really disappointing in the first half, and then they came out and showed how good they really can be.”
Both sides are now on 12 points, joint fourth in the Women’s Pro Soccer (WPS) standings with Sky Blue FC after the New Jersey side’s 1-0 home win over Chicago Red Stars. England defender Anita Asante starred for Sky Blue, while Karen Carney was suspended following her sending off against Washington Freedom.
Carney was dismissed from last weekend’s match after the referee gave her a straight red for a tough tackle on Freedom captain Abby Wambach. Chicago managed to ride out the storm that followed, surviving some 14 shots on goal to earn a 0-0 draw on the road.
There were differing fortunes for Eniola Aluko, who bagged a winning goal and the player of the week award last weekend. Her Saint Louis Athletica made it four wins in five and moved into second place on 14 points behind Los Angeles Sol.
Aluko latched on to Kendall Fletcher’s through ball in the 43rd minute and calmly slotted her third goal of the season. The England striker’s pace is proving to be a great weapon for Athletica and Aluko has had a hand in their last four goals.
She said: “Absolutely brilliant ball from Kendall Fletcher. She put me right in to the channel and I just knew I had to finish. Thankfully it went through the goalkeeper’s legs and we got the win away from home. The last time we came here, we got educated. Looking back now, it’s the same team. It’s fair to say that out of all the teams, we have grown the most since we were in last and now we’re in second.”
WPS leaders LA Sol dropped points last weekend, drawing a blank at New Jersey with Asante playing a key defensive role with formidable Brazilian forward Marta lining up for Sol.
The LA outfit remain well clear in the standings, though they have played two or three more games than the other teams for their 25 points.
The Women’s Sports Magazine