Women's soccer league down to seven teams

Posted: May 28, 2010

The St. Louis Athletica of Women's Professional Soccer shut down Thursday, leaving the second-year league with seven teams.

After learning the news, Philadelphia Independence owner and CEO David Halstead said he still was satisfied with the direction of his team and the league.

"I'm disappointed but glad the entire league is structured so we are all independent businesses and separating operating entities," Halstead said. "We are full-steam ahead and have a solid plan for 2010 and beyond and are confident with it."

The schedule will be restructured, and Halstead said that each WPS team still will play 24 games. The Independence lost, 2-1, at St. Louis on May 8 and were supposed to host the Athletica on Aug. 8 and Sept. 5 at West Chester University.

The Independence will play their third consecutive road game on Sunday against the Washington Freedom. The 6 p.m. game at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds will be televised on the Fox Soccer Channel.

The Independence (3-1-2) are in second place with 11 points, four behind California's FC Gold Pride.

The road swing began with the loss at St. Louis and was followed by a 1-0 win at Chicago on May 15.

Independence coach Paul Riley said that goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc won't play because of a commitment with the Canadian national team. The Independence have received strong play from 'keeper Val Henderson, who was in goal during a 3-1 win over visiting Washington on April 25. Henderson also earned the victory in a 1-0 win over visiting Atlanta on May 1.

Washington is 3-2-1, just one behind the Independence.

"This is a massive game for us and will enable us to get some breathing room between us and Washington," Riley said.


Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225 or mnarducci@phillynews.com.

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