Former USC All-American Amy Rodriguez, a U.S. national-teamer who struggled in Women's Professional Soccer's inaugural season, is taking charge for the Philadelphia Independence this year.
She scored three more goals last week as the WPS expansion club tied Atlanta and rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat Washington, climbing within a point of first-place FC Gold Pride in the standings.
Rodriguez was selected the league's Player of the Week for the second time in four weeks -- the honor will be announced Tuesday -- after pulling even with Marta, the former L.A. Sol star now with Gold Pride, atop the WPS goalscoring list. The speedy forward has six goals after scoring just one last season in Boston.
“It feels great to know that my hard work is paying off,” Rodriguez said after scoring twice to pull Philly even after surrendering two goals in the first 12 minutes.
Rodriguez, who was the Gatorade National Player of the Year as a senior at Santa Margarita Catholic High School in south Orange County, hooked up with former UCLA star Danesha Adams, the Player of the Week last week, after the Independence gave up an early goal Wednesday against Atlanta. That game ended dramatically, with Tina Ellertson heading home Aya Miyama's cross in the 90th minute to give the Beat a 2-2 draw.
Rodriguez scored in the 62nd and 72nd minutes in Saturday's 3-2 win over Washington, the first from former UCLA star Tina DiMartino's feed, and Liane Sanderson netted the winner with a fine shot inside the right post in stoppage.
ALL-STAR LISTS: WPS held that “playground pick 'em” Monday to determine the sides for Wednesday's All-Star Game in Kennesaw, Ga. (5 p.m. PT on Fox Soccer Channel). Rodriguez, a reserve for the game, was taken by Marta, one of the captains selecting from the starters voted in my media, teammates, coaches and fans and reserves chosen by Commissioner Tonya Antonucci and the ASG coaches.
Chicago defender Kate Markgraf and Philly midfielder Caroline Seger pulled out of the game with injuries.
Rodriguez is one of three local products in the game. Gold Pride midfielder Shannon Boxx (South Torrance High School) and Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Karen Bardsley (Ayala High School/Cal State Fullerton) are starters.
Here are the rosters:
Abby XI: Coach -- Paul Riley (Philadelphia), Captain -- Abby Wambach (Washington); Starters -- GK Hope Solo (Atlanta), D Amy LePeilbet (Boston), Tina Ellertson (Atlanta) and Catherine Whitehill (Washington), M Lori Lindsey (Philadelphia), Shannon Boxx (FC Gold Pride), Heather O'Reilly (Sky Blue FC) and Lori Chalupny (Atlanta), F Eniola Aluko (Atlanta), Lauren Cheney (Boston) and Wambach; Reserves -- G Jillian Loyden (Chicago), M Angie Kerr (Atlanta), Karen Carney (Chicago) and Laura Kalmari (Sky Blue FC), and F Kelley O'Hara (FC Gold Pride) and Natasha Kai (Sky Blue FC).
Marta XI: Coach -- Albertin Montoya (FC Gold Pride), Captain -- Marta (FC Gold Pride); Starters -- G Karen Bardsley (Sky Blue FC), D Allison Falk (Philadelphia), Rachel Buehler (FC Gold Pride) and Brittany Taylor (Sky Blue FC), M Kelly Smith (Boston), Sonia Bompastor (Washington), Kristine Lilly (Boston) and Aya Miyama (Atlanta), F Ramona Bachmann (Atlanta), Christine Sinclair (FC Gold Pride) and Marta; Reserves -- G Erin McLeod (Washington), D Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (Washington) and Alex Scott (Boston), and F Cristiane (Chicago).
U.S. ROSTER: Rodriguez also was chosen, no surprise, for the U.S. women's national team roster for games against Sweden on July 13 in Omaha, Neb., and July 17 in East Hartford, Conn. It's mostly the usual suspects, which means Redondo Beach's Shannon Boxx and Diamond Bar's Alex Morgan are on the list. Morgan, heading into her senior year at the University of California, is playing for the W-League's Pali Blues.
A FEW MORE NOTES: Former Sol defender Allison Falk has given away two penalties in Philadelphia's past three games. … DiMartino departed the Independence's game Wednesday with a thigh injury, but she was back in the lineup Saturday. … San Clemente's McCall Zerboni (UCLA) assisted Mami Yamaguchi's goal for Atlanta in Wednesday's game. … Ella Masar scored her first two WPS goals to lift Chicago past Boston for Coach Omid Namazi's first victory. The Breakers, under former U.S. women's national team coach Tony DiCicco, have lost four in a row at home and are winless in nine games since their opener. … Omissions from coach Pia Sundhage's U.S. roster include defender Catherine Whitehill, midfielder Lori Chalupny and forward Lindsay Tarpley, all former University of North Carolina stars. Chalupny has not been cleared to play for the U.S. after suffering a concussion last year, but she is playing in WPS.
Last week's scores (home teams listed first)
Atlanta 2 (Yamaguchi 15, Ellertson 90), Philadelphia 2 (Rodriguez 36, og Bishop 49)
Boston 1 (Fabiana 46), Chicago (Masar 13, 79)
Philadelphia 3 (Rodriguerz 62, 72, Sanderson 91+), Washington 2 (Mykjaland 2, Wambach pen. 12)
FC Gold Pride 0, Sky Blue FC 2 (Rosana 3, Kai 3)
Standings: FC Gold Pride 22 points, Philadelphia Independence 21, Sky Blue FC 17, Washington Freedom 15, Chicago Red Bulls 12, Boston Breakers 7, Atlanta Beat 6
This week's games (all times Pacific)
WPS All-Star Game at Kennesaw, Ga., 5 p.m.
FC Gold Pride at Atlanta, 4 p.m.
Boston at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.
Chicago at Washington, 2 p.m.
1. Marta (FC Gold Pride) 6
Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia) 6
3. Abby Wambach (Washington) 5
4. Eniola Aluko (Saint Louis/Atlanta) 4
Laura Kalmari (Sky Blue FC) 4
Christine Sinclair (FC Gold Pride) 4
7. Cristiane (Chicago) 3
Natasha Kai (Sky Blue FC) 3
Lene Mykjaland (Washington) 3
Rosana (Sky Blue FC) 3
Liane Sanderson (Philadelphia) 3
Homare Sawa (Washington) 3
Kelly Smith (Boston) 3