Sunday, May 30, 2010

Freedom 2-1 Independence

It's a tiny bit funny that after we spent yesterday in Philadelphia, returning today, that tonight's Freedom game was against the Philadelphia expansion WPS club, which is quite a good team--USWNT stars Amy Rodriguez and Lori Lindsey (first pick in the expansion draft, taken from the Freedom), along with quite a few internationals (Scandinavians--violent, brutal, thuggish Scandinavians, actually--appear to be popular with this team). The Independence also have former Freedom players Joanna Lohman (of Silver Spring) and Sarah Senty (formerly of UVa), who got nice welcomes along with Lindsey. Sadly, their unis are horrible--yellow jerseys with grey shorts. Yecch. Unfortunately, the Freedom were wearing blue camo-motif kit tonight as a special promotion.

So we're coming through the gate, and the people behind us say, "Hey! You're wearing Freedom shirts! You must be big fans, here are two field tickets." I was a little dumbfounded. "Me?" says I, " Wow, how much?" They gave us the tix for free, and we sat right on the field, just north of the south penalty box, six feet from the freaking field. Woof. Pics, you say? What do you take me for? Of course I overworked the stupid Blackberry camera and got all kinds of fuzzy crap!

All of the pictures look better big--click to enlarge.

Let's go with the humble pic first--the reserves run windsprints at the end of the game. Sadly, three of these young women had just played, one of them (Jill Gilbeau, formerly of the University of Texas and the right side of the defense, this year an awesome sub and sometime starter in the attacking midfield role) nontrivially:

Defending a corner sometime in the second half. I think I took this because the yellow shirt in the middle of the pic is Amy Rodriguez, who played really well in the US Womens' recent victory over the Germans:

The scene just after Becca Moros (more on her later--she's in the middle, in front of the red "Born Ready" sign) scored the Freedom's first goal on a wonderful breakout from her right-back position, working in a give-and-go with Christie Welch:

French national team captain and beloved favorite (I wear her number on my Freedom jersey, and she's autographed the sleeve) Sonia Bompastor just successfully dived for a penalty:

The Freedom take the field for the second half. The orange jersey is Canadian national team and Freedom goalkeeper Erin McLeod:

A scuffle right in front of us, involving (I think) Beverly Gobel (left); the aforementioned Joanna Lohman (number 17 who we're glad caught on somewhere--she was having trouble finding a niche with the Freedom) and USWNT megastar Abby Wambach (right). J-Lo hit the ground a second later.

Much later, a confrontation between the aforementioned Lori Lindsey and Sonia Bompastor (the bandage on her head is a remnant of a nasty collision two weeks ago that resulted in stitches, but not in her exit from a game against...I forget, maybe the hated Boston Breakers) resulted in a Lindsey free kick:
USWNT defender and megaglambabe Heather Mitts (also known as Mrs. A.J. Feeley, if you play fantasy football), loosely trailed by Sonia Bompastor:

Oops. Erin McLeod came out of the goal to jump on the ball...but missed, costing herself a clean sheet:

Sonia (barely visible in the haze) leaves the field many minutes after the game. The players sign autographs for the kids for a very long time after the game ends. They're very accessible, very kind, and very grateful for the support.

Like Becca Moros here. We've been watching her from the Freedom's beginning, and she's one of our favorites--my next jersey will bear her number. She has an awesome motor, never quits, and has earned a regular starting spot. She was even gracious--amused, actually--when I told her (quite truthfully) she's the only Dukie I'd ever shake hands with. She stopped by after signing a whole lot of grafs for the kids in the background, while the security guards were shooing players back to the locker room, talked to us for a few minutes, and graciously allowed us to take this picture. Absolutely awesome kid. Thanks, Becca.

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