In sports, crazy things happen. Thats just the way things work. Womens Professional Soccer is no different. In the inaugural season of WPS, one in which the Los Angeles Sol ran away with first place (allowing them to host the WPS Championship game), no one would have ever suspected that Sky Blue FC, a club that made the postseason as the lowest seed, would win three consecutive road games, including topping the seemingly unbeatable Sol in the WPS Championship in SoCal, all along being guided by player-coach Christie Rampone. Yeah, that was crazy. And on Sunday nights FOX Soccer WPS Game of the Week, theres the potential for something unforeseen to happen when the first place Western New York Flash (12-2-3, 39 pts) host the last place Atlanta Beat (1-12-4, 7 pts) at Sahlens Stadium in Rochester. Throughout the year the Flash have proved to be an elite club. MVP candidates Christine Sinclair (10) and Marta (9) are the leagues top two goal scorers. While Sinclair has tapered off slightly at seasons end, Marta has begun to show why shes the reigning five time FIFA Womens Player of the Year, scoring the teams last four goals. But even with a league-leading 38 tallies, the Flash is a complete side, allowing the second lowest goals against (18), accounting for a WPS best plus-20 in goal differential. Meanwhile, theres the Atlanta Beat. With just one match remaining, the Beat have shown an unprecedented futility in the offensive capacity, scoring a mere seven goals (the Marta/Sinclair duo has scored nearly three times that) while allowing a league worst 30 goals - and minus-23 goal difference. Atlanta has been shutout 12 times, including six matches in a row, and hasnt found the back of the net since June 11 (a 3-2 loss to magicJack). One thing that Atlanta has in their favor is an inkling of success against WNY. On April 24, the two tussled to a 2-2 draw. Since that draw, however, the Flash have topped the Beat in both matches - 3-0 on May 1 at home and 2-0 in Kennesaw, Ga., last week. All the Flash need is a draw and the second place Philadelphia Independence (11-3-3, 36 pts) cannot catch them. Philadelphia travels to Boca Raton, Fla., to take on Abby Wambach and the surging third place magicJack (8-7-2, 25 pts), in a 4 p.m. kick off., two hours prior to the Flash-Beat contest. Should Philly win and the Flash meltdown against the Beat, Philly will host the WPS Championship. Also kicking off at 4 p.m. on Sunday is the win-or-go-home match at Harvard Stadium in Allston, Mass., where the fifth place Boston Breakers (4-9-4, 16 pts) look to leapfrog fourth place Sky Blue FC (5-8-4, 19 pts) for the final WPS playoff spot. A week ago on FOX Soccer, Sky Blue only needed a draw against Philadelphia to secure the fourth and final postseason berth but were sent home with a loss when Lianne Sanderson scored a scrappy goal in stoppage time to give the Independence a 2-1 win. Sky Blue keeper Jenni Branam played out of her mind, making one remarkable save after another, but to no avail. Her 11 stops were one too few. In the loss, the New Jersey-based club lost its best defender Carrie Dew to a questionable red card. Shell be out for Sundays game vs. Boston as well, opening the door for Lauren Cheney, Kelley OHara and crew. Perhaps there will be a Kelly Smith sighting. A win for Boston, and they take over fourth, edging into the playoffs much like Sky Blue did in 2009. Perhaps that could catapult them into a deep playoff run. However, like last week, all Sky Blue needs is a draw, which may prove even more difficult than against Philadelphia a week ago seeing if Boston doesnt win, their season is done. All the action takes place on Sunday, and by the conclusion of the FOX Soccer telecast of the Flash-Beat match, well know exactly who is in the playoffs, and where the WPS Championship goes through.
All to play for on last WPS weekend