WUSA WEEK 3 WRAP: Dramatic victories put Charge, Courage on top

By Scott French

LATE WINNERS: There were dramatic finishes in three of the four games on Saturday, with Philadelphia and Carolina improving to 2-0-0 with late dead-ball goals. Neither team has yet played at home.

The Charge overcame New York, 2-1, on Kelly Smith's 89th-minute penalty kick. Power goalkeeper Saskia Webber, acquired from Philly last December, was red-carded after bringing Marinette Pichon down in the box.

The Courage toppled San Jose, 2-1, when Hege Riise floated a 20-yard free kick off goalkeeper LaKeysia Beene's hands and into the upper-left corner. Goalkeeper Kristen Luckenbill, hero of Carolina's victory at San Diego two weeks earlier, tied a WUSA record with 12 saves in the triumph.

Most dramatic was Atlanta's first victory, a 1-0 decision over visiting Washington on Charmaine Hooper's strike three and a half minutes into stoppage time. A long Briana Scurry punt bounced from a Freedom player's head to Homare Sawa's and into the box, and Hooper one-touched it past goalkeeper Siri Mullinix.

DOUBLE DUTY, PART 1: Beene duplicated Jorge Campos' 1996 feat, starting in the nets in both games of the WUSA/U.S. national team doubleheader in San Jose. Beene made three saves in the CyberRays' loss to Carolina but had to stop just one shot in 75 minutes of the Americans' 3-0 victory over Finland.

Campos played for the Los Angeles Galaxy and Mexican national team in a Rose Bowl doubleheader in 1996.

DOUBLE DUTY, PART 2: Two sets of twins squared off for the first time in North American major-league sports history when Atlanta's Julie and Nancy Augustyniak battled Washington's Jacqui and Skylar Little for a few minutes. Nancy Augustyniak entered the field in the 73rd minute, and Jacqui Little departed in the 76th.

BEST GOAL: Hooper's stoppage-time winner was pretty special, but Washington defender Carrie Moore's inability to deal with Sawa's header into the Freedom box detracts a bit from it. We'll go with Riise's free kick to the upper-left corner in Carolina's win.

ATTENDANCE UPDATE: The young season's smallest crowd to date, just 4,203, showed up for New York's opener Saturday. Neither the weather (a chilly 51 degrees) nor the Power's previous performance (a 6-1 loss at San Diego) helped.

The biggest audience of 2002, 11,990, watched the WUSA/national team doubleheader in San Jose. The average for the week was 7,543, raising the season average to 6,900.

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