The Philadelphia Independence, which finished runner-up last season, faces magicJack in the WPS Super Semifinal on Saturday (4 pm, Fox Sports Net). Leading Philly is Spanish forward Veronica Boquete, who arrived June 2 after completing her season with RCD Espanyol. She has tallied five goals, four of them gamewinners, and four assists in 11 games. The team is 9-1-1 when she plays but just 2-3-2 without her.
On Wednesday, the 24-year-old Galacian won the WPS' Michelle Akers Player of the Year, which Marta had claimed in WPS's first two seasons.
"This is a dream for me," Boquete told Jeff Kassouf. "It is the best individual success of my sports career to be MVP of the best league in the world. I can't believe it yet, but it is not just mine; it is for the team."
Laura del Rio, a forward, played for the Boston Breakers last season and came to Philadelphia in the offseason with Boquete. They have helped each other adjust to a new culture, language and style of play. "We already played together in Spain, and we understand each other," Boquete said. "In Spain, soccer is more possession of the ball, touch and movement. It is less physical but more technical than in the U.S."