[WPS] Women's Professional Soccer can't seem to get a break. Its playoff race once against went down to the final day of the regular season, but Saturday's action was overshadowed by reports of another shakeup for the troubled league. It didn't help that one of the league's biggest stars went off in Twitter tirade about a game whose result didn't affect her team's final placement ...
Abby Wambach's goal in the 89th minute gave the Washing ton Freedom a 1-0 win over the Atlanta Beat that clinched fourth place and the final playoff berth.
Boston's 0-0 tie with Sky Blue FC was enough to give the Breakers second place ahead of Philadelphia, whose 4-1 loss at league leader FC Gold Pride was its fourth straight loss.
WPS has retained its postseason format that will decide the 2010 champion within a week.
Sept. 19: First Round -- Washington at Philadelphia
Sept. 23: Super Semifinal -- First-round winner at Boston
Sept. 26: Final -- Semifinal winner at FC Gold Pride
Missing out on the playoffs was the defending champion Sky Blue FC, which needed to beat Boston and hope Washington didn't defeat Atlanta, Chicago, whose season had ended last week, and Atlanta.
Christine Rampone, who served as player-coach when Sky Blue won the 2009 championship with a three-game sweep of the playoffs, tweeted “Free at last!!!!!!!!!!!!” after another season of upheaval in New Jersey ended, then deleted the tweet the next day.
But that was nothing compared with the rant by U.S. national team goalie Hope Solo after the last-place Beat's 1-0 loss to the Freedom.
She tweeted, "Its official, the refs are straight bad. Its clear the league wanted dc in playoffs. I have truly never seen anything like this. Its sad. A goal taken away with no explanation, one offsides call against dc, many against atlanta. An amazing all ball tackle for a red. We play with 10, DC with 12. Players punched in the face. Free corners. I am done playing in a league where the game is no longer … In control of the players."
And the league shakeup? The Washington Post's Steven Goff reported that Commissioner Tonya Antonucci, who oversaw the league's launch, will step down in the continued house-cleaning of the league office, which also has lost COO Mary Harvey and several key marketing and communications executives.
The moves signaled the remaining owners to take on a more hands-on role in the operation of the league, which lost two franchises, Los Angeles and St. Louis, in 2010.
"We realized after St. Louis we needed to get in the room and make sure we can build this to last,” Atlanta owner T. Fitz Johnson, the chairman of the WPS board, told the New York Times. “We don’t want another St. Louis."
Antonucci will be replaced by WPS General Counsel Anne-Marie Eileraas, who will take the title of CEO