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Whitecaps Women Tie with WUSA 's DC Freedom


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Attn: Sports Editors

Whitecaps Women 0

Washington DC Freedom 0

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Caledonia Park, Nanaimo, BC (attendance: 2.176)


The burgeoning community of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island was witness to a Clash of the Titans in women's soccer, as the W-League Champion Whitecaps took on the WUSA Champion Washington DC Freedom. The game lived up to its billing with two top-quality sides going toe to toe in a game that finished a scoreless draw.

It was a fast-paced game, with few stoppages, but it was the defences on both sides that dominated proceedings. Randee Hermus and Sasha Andrews were pillars of strength for the Whitecaps, while the Washington defence, led by US National Team legend Tiffany Roberts, was equal to almost everything the Whitecaps could throw at them.

Both goalkeepers had strong games, as Vancouver's Sian Bagshawe, and the Freedom's Nicci Wright earned the shutouts.Bagshawe made a couple of big saves to keep the visitors off the scoreboard, while few Vancouver balls into the box escaped the grasp of Wright, the former Canadian international from Duncan, BC. She was named Washington's player of the game.

Vancouver's player of the game was 17-year-old Sophie Schmidt, who got a rare start in midfield, and did superbly. Schmidt hit the post in the second half in the game's best scoring chance.

These two teams meet again on Thursday, in the big rematch at Swangard Stadium. Kick off for this historic contest is 7:00 pm. The Whitecaps then play their final game of the regular season on Sunday, July 24 at home to the San Diego Gauchos, in a 4:00pm start, in the first half of a Swangard doubleheader. The Men then host the Minnesota Thunder at 7:00pm.

Scoring Summary:


Game Notes:

The two teams spent much of the first half feeling each other out, probing for weaknesses, and finding none. Vancouver applied the majority of the pressure, but the visitor's defence held firm. Washington's quick and fluid passing game, meanwhile, was most impressive, but could get nowhere against Vancouver's back four, who repeatedly stepped in to breakup the play.

The game opened up in the second half, and it looked like Vancouver had scored at 58' as Sophie Schmidt found space with a strong run up the middle, and neatly chipped the onrushing goalkeeper, but the ball came back off the post. Soon after, at 66', the visitors had their best chance, as some nice passing finally got the better of the Caps defence, with substitute Lisa Zanti breaking in alone on Sian Bagshawe. The keeper was quick off her line though and sprawled to block the shot.

Vancouver pressed as the half wore on. At 87', an Andrea Neil corner from the right found Randee Hermus at the far post, but she sent her header just wide. Back the other way, and it was Lisa Zanti again who had the final chance as she broke in on the right, but her hard shot was right at Sian Bagshawe, who held it well.

This was only the second time in Whitecaps history that the team has been shut out. The only other team to do it was the New Jersey Wildcats in last year's W-League Final, a 0-0, with Vancouver then winning on penalty kicks.

In another exhibition game, Washington recently tied New Jersey 1-1, which means Vancouver and Washington share the distinction of being the only two club teams in the last two years to get a result against the Wildcats, who have otherwise won every game.

Whitecaps: 1.Sian Bagshawe - 18.Clare Rustad, 6.Sasha Andrews, 11.Randee Hermus, 13.Martina Franko - 15.Kara Lang (8.Sara Maglio 75'), 16.Sophie Schmidt, 5.Andrea Neil, 7.Ashley McGhee (2.Emily Zurrer 54') - 14.Amber Allen (10.Stephanie Smith 28'; 22.Jodi-Ann Robinson 75'), 20.Katie Thorlakson (4.Phebe Trotman 86')

Washington: 27.Nicci Wright - 5.Carrie Moore, 4.Kylie Bivens, 26.Casey Zimny, 15.Tiffany Roberts - 11.Emily Janss, 13.Betsy Barr (Madison Keller 75'), 32.April Wall (33.Shari Summers 54'), 36.Mallory Mahar (20.Meggie Curran 86') - 21.Katie Watson (35.Hayley Hunt 45') 18.Kim Francis (34.Lisa Zanti 54')

Shots: Vancouver 6 Washington 4

Saves: Vancouver 3 Washington 2

Fouls: Vancouver 4 Washington 10

Offside: Vancouver 1 Washington 1

Corner Kicks: Vancouver 6 Washington 3

Referee: Andy Foster

Cautions: none



Whitecaps Communications Department

Nathan Vanstone – Communications Manager

Tel: 604.669.9283

Fax: 604.684.5173

Email: nvanstone@whitecapsfc.com

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There's still a group that's trying to revive the WUSA, although they don't seem to be making much headway. They're now talking about 2007 or 2008. The league burned through a lot of money in a relatively short time, but did manage to build a bit of a foundation among young players.

The Washington Freedom stayed together after the league folded by building up a youth club structure and academy...maybe the only one in the US at that level designed exclusively for girls. It's an interesting way to continue the good work that the WUSA did while keeping their options open for the future. The W-League doesn't seem to an option for them right now, because they were used to getting paid to play. The barnstorming idea isn't bad, and I hope it pays off for them.



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quote:Originally posted by Johnnie Monster

These two teams are ranked 8th (Vancouver) and 9th (DC) in the world. The second match up at Swangard is well worth taking in.

9th in the World. And they don't even play in a league. I wonder if that would happen on the men's side.

Sounds like a shanky ranking system to me.

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