Week 2: Women's league moves into full gear

[WPS] Women's Professional Soccer moves into full gear with three games over the weekend. Marta's drawing power will be put to the test when Los Angeles travels to Sky Blue FC. Chicago travels across Illinois to face St. Louis on the campus of SIU-Edwardsville, while FC Gold Pride hosts Boston in the WPS Game of the Week on FSC. For a look at this week's games ...

Saturday, April 4
St. Louis vs. Chicago (7 pm CT/8 pm ET)
Site: Korte Stadium, Edwardsville, Ill.

Player to Watch

Athletica's Kerri Hanks, the two-time Hermann Trophy winner at Notre Dame, dropped to the sixth pick overall in the first draft of college players, so she'll be out to improve to prove her worth at the pro level.

Matchup
Both coaches were imported -- St. Louis coach Jorge Barcellos was Brazil's national team coach; Chicago's Emma Hayes worked at Arsenal Ladies Football Club.

What They're Saying
"WUSA gets a bit of a bad rap because it didn't survive. I would say from the things I've been able to work out that they got nine out of 10 things correct. Just the one thing they got wrong was the financing of the league."
-- Jeff Cooper, owner of St. Louis Athletica, on the first attempt at women's pro soccer. (AP)

Sunday, April 5, 2009
Sky Blue FC vs. Los Angeles (4 pm ET)
Site: TD Bank Park, Bridgewater, N.J.

Homecoming
Canadian Karina LeBlanc, who recorded a shutout in the Sol's 2-0 win over Washington, returns to central New Jersey, where she serves as the assistant coach at Rutgers.

Bottom Line
Thomas Hofstetter, co-owner and CEO of Sky Blue FC, told Forbes that his team expects to fill no more than 75 percent of 7,000-seat TD Bank Park, a New Jersey baseball park, for its opener -- even though the Sol features the league's star attraction in Marta.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

FC Gold Pride vs. Boston (3 pm PT/6 pm ET, FSC, live)
Site: Buck Shaw Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.

Matchup
Both FC Gold Pride and Boston feature Canadian strikers -- Boston's Christine Latham was the WUSA Rookie of the Year in 2003 and has been playing since its demise for New Jersey and Atlanta in the W-League; FC Gold Pride's Christine Sinclair recorded her 99th career goal for Canada in a 3-1 loss to England in the final of the Cyprus Women's Cup last month.

What They're Saying

"From top to bottom, it's better. The CyberRays were good, and the league was good before. But the younger players coming up this time around have had more experience internationally with youth national teams. My generation didn't really have that. It was the full national team or nothing."
-- Brandi Chastain on the difference between the WUSA and WPS. (San Francisco Chronicle)
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