CARD PARTY: Referee Arnold Baldeaux was the star of San Diego's 2-1 victory Sunday over visiting San Jose, issuing red cards to Joy Fawcett and Pretinha that left players on both sides -- and a Torero Stadium gathering of 6,220 -- aghast.
Both ejections were answered by free-kick goals, Sissi firing San Jose ahead after Fawcett was sent off in the fifth minute and Aly Wagner returning the favor in second-half stoppage time following Pretinha's second yellow card.
Fawcett, who had not received a card of either color in 36 previous WUSA games (and who has been cautioned just twice in 213 international matches), was ejected after grabbing Keri Sanchez to prevent her from getting to a pass from Pretinha, a ''last-defender'' call.
Fawcett said she was ''stunned,'' and teammate Shannon MacMillan -- in the booth during the Spirit's broadcast -- called the decision ''absurd'' and noted: ''I think the ref is wearing the wrong-colored jersey. He thinks he's in [CyberRays] orange.''
Pretinha, cautioned in the 23rd minute after spilling San Diego defender Kim Pickup, was ejected after standing in front of the ball to delay a Wagner free kick.
''When he pulled the red on that one, I said, 'You are unbelievable,' '' Spirit captain Julie Foudy reported. ''I don't know if he was trying to make up for Joy or what.''
Julie Fleeting's seventh goal, in the 52nd minute, proved decisive for San Diego.
HOME GIRL: It had been 14 matches -- since July 26, 2001 -- since Tiffeny Milbrett had scored a goal at Mitchel Athletic Complex, New York's home facility. On Saturday, the U.S. national team star ended the drought, finishing Krista Davey's pass in the 56th minute for a 3-1 lead against Carolina.
It proved a bittersweet moment. The Courage rallied with goals by Danielle Borgman in the 85th minute and Birgit Prinz five minutes into stoppage time to earn a 3-3 draw.
Milbrett was ''disgusted'' by the Power's collapse but pleased with her fourth goal of the campaign.
''I am not going to lie and say that it has not been on my mind,'' she said. ''It's been ridiculous, the weight on my shoulders. It's something that as a forward makes you so angry. I've been carrying that around for almost two years. Now it's time to get more.''
DOWN AND OUT: Carolina's week started far more distressingly. Forward Danielle Fotopolous, tied as the league's top scorer heading into Wednesday's clash at San Jose, saw her season come to a premature close with a torn left anterior cruciate ligament sustained n the 35th minute.
Fotopoulos, who earlier left the field to get her head bandaged, was challenging CyberRays defender Thori Bryan at midfield. When Bryan cut, Fotopoulos tried to change direction. Her knee buckled, and she fell to the turf. After getting up and trying to play, she finally gave up.
A magnetic imaging resonance test is scheduled for Wednesday to confirm the ACL tear, but there is no doubt about the injury. The Courage already is without playmaker Hege Riise, who tore an ACL in April.
Other players out this year with ACL tears: MacMillan, Philadelphia's Deliah Arrington, and New York's Sarah Whalen and Kristy Whelchel.
Kari Sanchez and Betsy Barr, with her first WUSA goal, scored in the CyberRays' 2-0 victory, snapping the Courage's five-game unbeaten streak.
DEFENSE WINS: Washington's best performance of the season counted for nothing after Atlanta, the best defensive team in the WUSA, held off the Freedom's onslaught for a 1-0 victory in the week's big showdown.
The Beat got a second-minute goal from Charmaine Hooper and superb work in the back from, especially, Nancy Augustyniak, Sharolta Nonen, Kylie Bivens and goalkeeper Briana Scurry to grab a one-point lead over Boston in the standings.
Washington, which fell to fourth, took charge when Mia Hamm -- nursing a sore right knee that kept her out of practice most of last week -- came off the bench at halftime. The dominance added to only one shot on goal, although Sandra Minnert rocketed a shot off the right post.
HUCLES: HEROINE: Angela Hucles came up big for Boston, which grabbed four points last week with a 2-1 win Wednesday over visiting New York and a 2-2 draw Saturday in Philadelphia.
Hucles' first goal of the season was the winner over New York, and she assisted on both tallies -- with Ragnhild Gulbrandsen's first WUSA determining the outcome in the 88th minute -- as the Breakers twice rallied in Philly.
Marinette Pichon scored twice for the Charge, taking over the WUSA scoring lead with 22 points, one more than Boston's Maren Meinert, who was handcuffed by rookie Rachel Kruze's marking.
WUSA SUMMARIES WEEK 13: Home teams add points
June 25 at Boston
BOSTON (6-4-2, 20 points) 2 NEW YORK (5-7-1, 16 points) 1.
Goals: own goal Pearce 31, Hucles (Meinert) 67; Pearman (Boxx) 20.
June 25 at San Jose
SAN JOSE (5-6-1, 16 points) 2 CAROLINA (4-6-2, 14 points) 0.
Goals: Sanchez (Pretinha, Venturini-Hoch) 9, Barr (Pretinha, Sanchez) 86.
June 28 at Villanova, Pa.
PHILADELPHIA (3-6-3, 12 points) 2 BOSTON (6-4-3, 21 points) 2.
Goals: Pichon (Misaki, Hoffmann) 25; Pichon (Fair, Hoffmann) 84; Mellgren (Hucles) 29, Gulbrandsen (Hucles) 88.
June 28 at Atlanta
ATLANTA (6-2-4, 22 points) 1 WASHINGTON (5-4-2, 17 points) 0.
Goal: Hooper 2.
June 28 at Uniondale, N.Y.
NEW YORK (5-7-2, 17 points) 3 CAROLINA (4-6-3, 15 points) 3.
Goals: Davey (Tietjen, Milbrett) 6, Beem (Davey, Rapp) 50, Milbrett (Davey, Boxx) 56; James (Prinz) 33, Borgman 85, Prinz (Fettig) 95+.
June 29 at San Diego
SAN DIEGO (5-3-4, 19 points) 2 SAN JOSE (5-7-1, 16 points) 1.
Goals: Wagner 47+, Fleeting (Latham, Krzykowski) 52; Sissi 6.
Red cards: San Diego: Fawcett 5; San Jose: Pretinha 46+.