Philly to face familiar foes in final

August, 20, 2011

Once again, the Philadelphia Independence are back in the WPS final, and once again, they are facing the dangerous pair of Marta and Christine Sinclair. Last year, they lost 4-0 to FC Gold Pride. This year, they'll be looking to shut down the Western New York Flash in Rochester.

"It'll be an exciting game with two very attacking teams. I don't think it's going to be nil-nil. I think there's going to be a lot of goals in the game," Independence coach Paul Riley said after Saturday's 2-0 semifinal win over magicJack.

The Independence needed a full team effort to get past magicJack's offensive attack. Abby Wambach came into the game having scored six goals in her previous four games, and looked unstoppable. But Philadelphia's defense came up big, posting a clean sheet Saturday in Philadelphia.

"To get a clean sheet against magicJack is just unbelievable," Riley said. "We've had the best record defensively in the league with Western New York, but people still don't think we're that good in the back. We're athletic. We get stuck in. We get in the way of crosses. We get in the way of shots."

Independence forwards Tasha Kai and Amy Rodriguez scored good goals in the second half of Saturday's win. Midfielder Vero Boquete -- named the Michelle Akers Player of the Year earlier this week -- had several dangerous moments in the attack as well.

With eight members of the Western New York Flash having won a title last year with FC Gold Pride, it feels a lot like a rematch, even though it won't officially be one. Rodriguez said after Saturday's game the Independence have shirts that read "Unfinished Business" -- a reminder of their 4-0 loss.

"We felt disappointed in ourselves because we had worked so hard during the season and to let go in that last game was kind of unfortunate. This is another year to hopefully snatch up the win," she said.

Sinclair and Marta combined for three goals in the match. They've shown no signs of slowing down this year, finishing tied for the league lead in goals with 10 each. Last year, Philadelphia had just two days' rest for the final. Now, it has a week to prepare and turn around the result.


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