In advance of today’s game, here’s a preview of the SAINT LOUIS ATHLETICA team along with all of the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) teams. Courtesy of Soccer by Ives
Last season: 10-6-4, 34 points (2nd place)
Playoffs: lost to Sky Blue FC, 1-0
Head Coach: Jorge Barcellos (2nd season)
Outlook: Athletica are loaded. The club made little noise on draft day having traded away its first round pick last season for Kendall Fletcher and Christie Welsh. Two weeks later they traded up to acquire Shannon Boxx with the first pick in the LA Sol dispersal draft, and the ripple effects of drafting an American allowed them to grab Aya Miyama with the eighth pick.
If Lori Chalupny returns from a self-imposed absence to deal with concussion symptoms (she has been with the team throughout training camp), it will be difficult for any team to ever outplay Athletica in midfield. However, Boxx, Miyama, and Chalupny are not known for scoring goals so the front line will shoulder much of that load.
The back four is also a question mark as Elise Weber slides in to take over for Kia McNeill, traded as part of the Boxx deal. WPS Goalkeeper of the Year Hope Solo is capable to cleaning up many defensive miscues. The last team to score a goal and win a game in 2009 is unlikely to face the same uphill climb this time around.
Athletica face FC GOLD PRIDE who finished Last season: 4-10-6, 18 points (7th place) and failed to qualify for the playoffs.