WUSA: Charge, Courage run away from the pack

Marinette Pichon scored her eighth and league-leading ninth goals of the season and Danielle Fotopoulos and Birgit Prinz extended their point streaks to seven games on Saturday as Philadelphia and Carolina distanced themselves from the pack with emphatic home victories. Pichon tallied in each half as Philadelphia (8-1-3, 27 points) romped to a 3-1 victory over Atlanta. Prinz and Fotopoulos scored goals for Carolina (8-2-3, 27 points), a 3-0 winner over San Diego. The frontrunners stand eight points ahead of third-place Atlanta (6-5-1, 19 points) in the WUSA standings and nine in front of San Jose (5-4-3, 18 points) and Washington (5-5-3, 18 points). Philadelphia has won the season series with Carolina, the first standings tiebreaker, after handing the Courage its only two defeats. Hege Riise tied a WUSA record with her 10th assist of the season in Carolina's victory. The mark was recorded last year by Boston's Kristine Lilly and San Jose's Sissi. In Saturday's WUSA action: Boston 1 San Jose 1: Kristine Lilly answered Katia's goal within three minutes and the Breakers (3-5-5, 14 points) settled for a draw despite limiting the visiting CyberRays to five shots before 7,014 at Nickerson Field. The crowd included the WUSA's official 1 millionth fan, 11-year-old Sara Colucci of Rochester, N.H. Katia fired San Jose ahead in the 23rd minute from a diagonal feed from Sissi, whose ball beat four Breakers defenders and left her fellow Brazilian 1-on-1 with goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc on the right side of the box. The goal was Katia's eighth of the season. Maren Meinert set up Boston's 26th-minute strike, finishing a probing run from midfield with a chip over the CyberRays' back line to a streaking Lilly on the left. Norwegian forward Ragnhild Gulbrandsen, who has been sidelined with a foot injury, made her WUSA debut for the Breakers in the 80th minute. Washington 4 New York 1: Mia Hamm came off the bench to score two goals and the visiting Freedom tied a club record for goals by drilling the lowly Power (2-10-1, 7 points) and spoiling interim coach Chris Ducilli's official debut before 8,052 at Mitchel Athletic Complex. The loss was the sixth in a row and second at home in four days for the Power, which fired head coach Patrick Farmer on Thursday. Ducilli's head-coaching debut occurred last weekend, when he relieved the suspended Farmer for New York's loss at Boston. The Power has surrendered 38 goals in 13 matches this season. In its past four games, it has given up 16 goals. Skylar Little and Anne Makinen sent Washington to a 2-0 halftime lead and Hamm, who played the final 45 minutes, extended the advantage by knocking home a loose ball in the 62nd minute. Hamm netted her fourth of the season in stoppage time, beating New York goalkeeper Gao Hong with a curling shot into the upper-90. Tiffeny Milbrett assisted on Tammy Pearman's 66th-minute goal, giving her 23 points (8 goals, 7 assists), tops in the WUSA. Washington goalkeeper Siri Mullinix departed at halftime after injuring her left hand while making a save. Philadelphia 3 Atlanta 1: Pichon notched her third two-goal game of the season as the Charge withstood early pressure before pulling away to win before 6,844 at Villanova Stadium. The French striker beat Atlanta goalkeeper Briana Scurry with a header from a Zhao Lihong cross in the 34th minute and tallied on a 20-yard blast in the 73rd. Erica Iverson scored her first career WUSA goal in the 47th minute. Sun Wen netted her second of the season for Atlanta in the 80th minute. The Beat dominated play early on, and Cindy Parlow, Kelly Cagle and Kylie Bivens came close to scoring chances in the first half. Carolina 3 San Diego 0: Prinz scored her sixth goal in seven games and Fotopoulos netted her eighth of the season as the Courage romped past the Spirit (2-7-3, 9 points) before 5,430 at SAS Stadium. Prinz, who had an assist on Fotopoulos' goal, has 16 points in her seven WUSA games and has moved into a tie for eighth among the league's scoring leaders. Rookie Danielle Slaton also scored, heading in a Riise corner kick for a 1-0 lead in the 19th minute. San Diego, which hasn't won in its past six games, played without injured Shannon MacMillan and Rhiannon Tanaka for the second successive game. SATURDAY'S SUMMARIES June 29 at Boston Boston 1 San Jose 1. Goals: Lilly (Meinert, Mellgren) 26; Katia (Sissi) 23. Boston -- LeBlanc; Kluegel, McCann, Sobrero, Sanchez; Gonzalez, Hucles; Wiegmann (Yohe, 75); Lilly; Meinert, Mellgren (Gulbrandsen, 80). San Jose -- Beene; Chastain, Bryan, Lindsey, Alagich, French; Pretinha (Dorn, 84), Venturini-Hoch, Sissi; Katia, Clark (Borgman, 39). Yellow cards -- Boston: McCann 7, Sobrero 78. Referee -- Terry Vaughn. A -- 7,014. June 29 at Uniondale, N.Y. New York 1 Washington 4. Goals: Pearman (Milbrett) 66; S. Little (Bai, Jones) 30, Makinen 38, Hamm 62, Hamm (Milburn, J. Little) 91+. New York -- Gao; Pearce, Raveia, Whelchel, Fair (Pearman, 61); Ormen (Davey, 46), Lalor, McIntosh, Rapp (Stauffer, 76), Baumgardt (Janss, 54); Milbrett. Washington -- Mullinix (Fahey, 46); S. Little, Moore, Grubb, Barr; Jones, Cook (Zimny, 77), Makinen; Bai (Hamm, 46), Gerardo (Milburn, 62), Wambach (J. Little 69). Yellow cards -- None. Referee -- Kari Seitz. A -- 8,052. June 29 at Villanova, Pa. Philadelphia 3 Atlanta 1. Goals: Pichon (Zhao, Benson) 34, Iverson (Mitts, J. Tietjen) 47, Pichon (Liu, Monroe) 73; Sun (Bivens) 80. Philadelphia -- Moore; Mitts, Iverson, Tietjen, Benson; Tullock (Liu, 46), Connors, Fair, Monroe (McDowell, 76), Zhao (Martin, 46); Pichon. Atlanta -- Scurry; J. Augustyniak, Cromwell, Nonen, N. Augustyniak; Bivens, Serlenga; Cagle (Miller, 79), Sawa; Hooper (Burt, 79), Parlow (Sun, 50). Yellow cards -- Atlanta: Serlenga 30. Referee -- Rachel Woo. A -- 6,844. June 29 at Cary, N.C. Carolina 3 San Diego 0. Goals: Slaton (Riise) 19, Prinz (T. Roberts, Barnes) 29, Fotopoulos (Prinz) 68. Carolina -- Luckenbill; Burt, Overbeck, Baxter (James, 46), Slaton; Fettig, T. Roberts; Riise (Anderson, 90), Lehn (O'Hanley, 60); Barnes (Fotopoulos, 46), Prinz. San Diego -- Pagliarulo; Sauer (M. Tietjen, 61), Fawcett, Fan, Kraus; Boxx (Omagbemi, 70), Lindsey, Foudy; Kester, Zhang, Rohbock (Mascaro, 61). Yellow cards -- None. Referee -- Eric Simmons. A -- 5,340. WEDNESDAY'S SUMMARY June 26 at Uniondale, N.Y. New York 2 Carolina 3. Goals: McIntosh (Whelchel) 34, Janss (Milbrett) 66; Prinz (Riise, Fotopoulos) 14, Prinz (James, Riise) 22, Riise (Prinz) 79. New York -- Gao; Pearce, Raveia (Stauffer, 83), Whelchel, Fair; McIntosh, Lalor (Janss, 46), Whalen, Rapp, Ormen (Baumgardt, 79); Milbrett. Carolina -- Luckenbill; Burt, Fettig, Slaton, O'Hanley (Baxter, 46); T. Roberts, James (Anderson, 51), Riise, Lehn; Prinz, Fotopoulos (Barnes, 89). Yellow cards -- Carolina: Baxter 72. Referee -- Rachel Woo. A -- 5,022. STANDINGS 1. Philadelphia 8-1-3, 27 points; 2. Carolina 8-2-3, 27; 3. Atlanta 6-5-1, 19; 4. San Jose 5-4-3, 18; 5. Washington 5-5-3, 18; 6. Boston 3-5-5, 14; 7. San Diego 2-7-3, 9; 8. New York 2-10-1, 7. NEXT WEEK'S GAMES
Wednesday, July 3
Atlanta at Washington, 7 p.m. Thursday, July 4
San Jose at Carolina, 7 p.m. Saturday, July 6
Boston at San Diego, 4 p.m. Sunday, July 7
New York at Philadelphia, 7 p.m. All times EDT. LEADING SCORERS
1. Tiffeny Milbrett (New York) 8-7--23
2. Danielle Fotopoulos (Carolina) 8-4--20
3. Marinette Pichon (Philadelphia) 9-1--19
Maren Meinert (Boston) 6-7--19
5. Hege Riise (Carolina) 4-10--18
6. Katia (San Jose) 8-1--17
Dagny Mellgren (Boston) 8-1--17
8. Birgit Prinz (Carolina) 6-4--16
Abby Wambach (Washington) 6-4--16
10. Charmaine Hooper (Atlanta) 6-1--13
Kristine Lilly (Boston) 3-7--13
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