Athletica Draws 3-3 on Road at Washington
Daniela - Bill Barrett

Daniela breaks Athletica’s scoring drought with two goals but suffers knee injury  (ISI Photos)

ST. LOUIS (May 3, 2009) – Saint Louis Athletica nearly earned their first win of the season Sunday night in Washington but could not hold onto a late 3-1 lead and were forced to settle for a draw and a point.

With just over ten minutes to play Saint Louis seemed to have matters under control but injuries to Tina Ellertson, cramping, in the 74th minute and Daniela, knee, in the 81st minute changed the complexion of the final quarter hour of the game and Washington stormed back to tie the match.

Sonia Bompastor equalized in just the first minute of stoppage time. Bompastor got to the end of a Cat Whitehill forward ball and out jumped all Athletica defenders to head over the top of Hope Solo who was stranded on her line. The goal was Bompastor’s second of the match.

Just over ten minutes earlier Abby Wambach set up the chance that got Washington back into the game. Wambach’s hard cross from the right wing to the back left post was met by Lisa De Vanna who drove a powerful header straight down between Hope Solo’s legs. Solo otherwise had the shot completely covered.

“Everyone fought hard in those last minutes,” said Tina Ellertson. “Washington kept pressing and they capitalized on the changes we were forced to make because of my coming off and then Daniela going down. We can’t lapse at any point though. We have to stay focused for 90 minutes.”

The match was one of good news, bad news for Athletica. The good news was that a three game goal-scoring drought came to a quick end. Athletica’s characteristic quick start paid off for the first time as they took possession immediately to start the game. Daniela fired onto goal from 25 yards in the game’s first minute. Her shot set the tone for what was to come.

Daniela stuck again in the 5th minute. A Washington turnover was reeled in by Lori Chalupny. Chalupny fed Daniela on the left side of the penalty area but the Brazilian’s shot was over the bar.
Abby Wambach managed a shot in the 6th minute but her effort posed no problems for Hope Solo. Solo used the save as an opportunity to unleash a counter attack that saw Athletica rush down the field towards Washington’s goal. The Freedom’s Katie Jo Spisak made a blind save on a Melissa Tancredi shot but the rebound fell to Daniela who hammered it into the back of the net for the franchises first ever goal. Daniela and teammates celebrated with a samba dance.
The Freedom established some momentum midway through the first half. Wambach got free in the 28th minute down the right side but the speed of Athletica’s back line prevented a shot from being taken. The Freedom kept up the pressure though and it would pay off.

Just one minute later Washington evened up the game with a goal from Sonia Bompastor whose header off a Jill Gilbeau cross was perfectly placed inside Hope Solo’s right post. 1-1 after 29 minutes.

It would take Saint Louis several minutes to settle down and regain their composure and later in the first half they began to control possession again.

The result was a diving header on goal by Melissa Tancredi on a cross from Aluko that was driven in hard. Spisak handled the shot well.

6o seconds later Daniela struck again. Daniela made a one on one move to create space 25 yards out from goal and her strike was hard and true finding the upper corner of the net as it streaked past a stranded Spisak. Athletica regained a well-deserved lead again. 2-1 Athletica at the half.

In the 67th minute Jorge Barcellos sent in Kerri Hanks to replace Melissa Tancredi at forward as Athletica looked to inject some fresh legs in an attempt to kill of the game. Barcellos also switch Captain Lori Chalupny to the backline and brought Francielle forward at the beginning of the half.

The move to bring in Hanks paid off as she played a through ball to England’s Eniola Aluko who used her pace to get onto the end of it. Aluko reached the ball in the penalty area and her one-timer to the far post beat Spisak cleanly giving Athletica a comfortable two goal margin with just over 20 minutes to play. It wouldn’t last.

“I would have taken the win rather than score,” said Aluko. “The draw took away any joy that came with that goal. Everyone is very disappointed. To go 3-1 up in any game and lose it in the 90th minute and lose Daniela is very tough to take.”

After taking a knock in the 73rd minute Tina Ellertson came out and was replaced by Niki Cross. Five minutes later Washington was back in the game when De Vanna scored and Bompastor’s equalizer 11 minutes later would send Athletica back to St. Louis still winless.

Following the game Daniela was taken to a local hospital for examination.

Next up for Saint Louis will be FC Gold Pride Saturday night May 9. Game time is 7:00 at Ralph Korte Stadium on the campus of Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville.

Saint Louis Athletica (0-2-2) vs. Washington Freedom (1-2-2)
May 3, 2009 – Maryland SoccerPlex

STL – 7 Daniela (rebound from Tancredi shot)
WAS – 29 Bompastor (assisted by Jill Gilbeau)
STL – 41 Daniela
STL – 69 Aluko (assisted by Kerri Hanks)
WAS – 79 De Vanna (assisted by Wambach)
WAS – 90 Bompastor
STL:  Solo; Francielle, Ellertson (Cross 74), McNeill, Weber; Stoia, Woznuk, Daniela (Gray 83), Chalupny; Tancredi (Hanks 67), Aluko
WSH: Spisak; Gilbeau, Sauerbrunn, Whitehill, Singer; De Dycker (Moros 64), Lindsey, Sawa, Long (De Vanna 46); Wambach, Bompastor
STL – Kia McNeill (caution) 39
WAS – Wambach (caution) 81
STL – Elise Weber (caution) 90

Total Shots: 15 28
Shots on Goal: 8 14  
Saves: 11 5
Fouls: 11 7
Corners: 3 6
Offsides: 2 1  
Referee: Shane Butler
Referee's Assistants: Kristine West, Michael Donovan
4th official: Moo Hackett
time of game: 1:53
attendance: 5,149
weather: Cloudy -and- 57 degrees, raining

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