The 2007 W-League final four begins Friday in Rochester, N.Y., with the semifinals at PAETEC Park. The Seattle Sounders (8-4-1) and Atlanta Silverbacks (11-2-1) will kick things off at 5:30 pm ET, and the Rochester Rhinos (5-7-0) and top-seeded Washington Freedom (14-1-1) will follow at approximately 8:00 pm. Both games will be available on www.USLlive.com. The winners will advance to the W-League final, which will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel on Sunday at 5:30 pm ET. Here's the final four teams at a glance.
Atlanta Silverbacks: In one of the more impressive conference tournament performances in recent memory, the Silverbacks dominated play with a surprising 4-0 victory over a returning playoff side Michigan before hammering the host Minnesota Lightning 5-2 for the conference title. Atlanta built a shocking 5-0 lead over the 11-1-1 team before allowing two late consolation strikes. The Silverbacks, seeded fifth overall in the playoffs, clinched a playoff berth for the first time in their three-year history.
Washington Freedom: The legacy of the former WUSA club has developed quite a pedigree in USL with a Super-20 League championship last year, and in its first full season in the W-League, nearly went unbeaten at 12-1-1. The Freedom entered the playoffs on a six-game winning streak and opened with a 6-1 drubbing of the very talented Toronto side before ending Ottawa's four-year streak of reaching the W-League semifinals by shutting them out at home 1-0 for the conference championship.
Seattle Sounders:Less than a week after falling to San Diego 2-0 in a game that decided the regular season conference title and the right to host the conference playoff match, the Sounders returned to California and came back from a 1-0 deficit to knock off the expansion Sunwaves 2-1. While the Sounders are seeded 11th overall, they do boast an impressive resume with their win in San Diego and their two victories, one home and one away, over the 2006 champion Vancouver Whitecaps. The victory in Vancouver ended the Whitecaps' amazing 34-game home unbeaten streak.
Rochester Rhinos:The Rhinos, seeded 13th overall in the playoffs, will be looking to register what would go down as the greatest upset in league history. As hosts of the league championship tournament, the Rhinos received an automatic berth in the semifinals.