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This just could be one of the most highly anticipated tournaments for the U.S. Women’s National Team . I’d argue that it isn’t the talent of the teams in the Olympics, though the field is great. The 2012 Olympics bring out the best of each country, including teams that have beat the U.S. before.

What has the U.S. soccer supporters so tuned into this year’s competition? The character of the 2012 Women’s National Team. Like the famous ’99ers, this team has captured the hearts and the attention of the country. (In case you need an example of why this group is so beloved watch this video.)

The #wpschat will look at the team’s likability, compare it to the likes of the ’99ers, and what it means for the sport in the Olympics and at home.

Q1: The 2012 U.S. Women’s National Team

  • What put this team on the radar? Why?
  • How and when did the squad get into the hearts of the country at large? Why?
  • What was that defining moment for you? Why?

Q2: The ’99ers and 2012

  • How are the two squads similar?
  • How are the two squads different?
  • What do you think is/was the main driver of the two squads to win?
  • Are the pressures facing this squad the same or different from the ’99ers?

Q3: The Sport of Women’s Soccer

  • What impact could this team have on the sport at home and abroad?

Join us on Monday at 8pm ET to throw your thoughts into the mix. Just log on to TwitterTweetchat, or Tweetgrid, and use the #WPSchat tag.

The Breakers season has been much like a promising boxers career; training hard to be in the best condition, receiving the spotlight as a top professional team, and delivering on those high expectations even through adversity.

In this important bout, the Breakers would deliver a PO (Pink Out) to their opponent the Philadelphia Fever.

The stage: Dilboy Stadium in Somerville set the stage for a fun and exciting game. The Breakers were wearing pink kits in support of Project Pink, a Puma charity campaign that raises awareness and funds to aid in the fight against breast cancer. The pink jerseys worn by the players were auctioned during the game and raised over $2,800 which will go to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. The game marked their 2012 season home finale with yet another sold-out crowd in attendance to cheer them to victory.

The weigh-in: The Breakers were the overwhelming favorites to win the game. Coming into the match, the Breakers were tied for 1st in the league standings and the Fever were tied for last. But given their recent tough loss against the New England Mutiny, would they be able to bounce back?

The fight: Like any top fighter with a bad taste in their mouth from the last bout, the Breakers came out fast and furious. The Breakers midfielder Bianca D’Agostino opened-up the onslaught of offensive blows with a shot in the 4th minute that rattled the goal. From that point on, the Breakers were going for the PO on each and every shot. Fever goal keeper Michelle Dalton would fend off stellar shots from Cat Whitehill, Katie Schoepfer, Jessica Luscinski and Melissa Henderson before conceding to Schoepfer on a penalty kick in the 13th minute. D’Agostino, who turned in her best performance of the season, kept the pressure on Dalton with great shot selection, power, and accuracy. Dalton gave in once more to the offensive blitz when Courtney Jones netted her second goal of the season off a pass from Breakers captain Leslie Osborne.

As any top fighter will tell you, you need a great defense to go with your offense. The Breakers keeping and defense recorded their sixth shutout of the season. The Breakers back line of Whitehill, Taryn Hemmings, Elli Reed, and Julie King held their ground, limiting the work for goal keeper Alejandra Velasco.  Velasco only had to save one shot to get her first shutout of the season.  The Breakers out shot the Fever 23 – 1 on the game and put almost half of those on goal.

The Fever’s strategy was to pack-in the defense and limit the damage of the Breakers blows. They were successful in holding the Breakers high-octane offense to 2 goals and goal to shot percentage of just under 10% at 9%. The strategy, while effective on the defensive end, saw the offense struggle. They only tested the Breakers once which Velasco saved.

The Breakers play their final game of the 2012 campaign away vs. the Western New York Flash on Sunday, July 22nd at 4pm ET at Sahlen Stadium. The game will determine playoff seeding as the Breakers and Flash are tied for 1st with 30 points and the Chicago Red Stars are in 2nd with 27 points and two games to play.

In less than one month, the US Women’s National Team will represent its country during the 2012 Olympics in London. This is of no surprise to most. The US women’s national team is traditionally one of the best teams to compete in global contests. With that success comes the constant pressure to be the best. Yet success is defined in many ways; on and off the field. This summer the team will be playing for more than gold on a global scale; they’ll also attempt to capture the attention of the nation.

This week’s chat will explore the pressures and expectations facing the team on and off the field.

Q1: Going for Gold or Broke

  • If winning gold is the ultimate goal, will getting anything less be a success? Why or why not?
  • What are the on-field pressures or expectations being put on the team?
  • Are those expectations valid? Why or why not?

Q2: America’s Team

  • Will this team capture the nation’s attention as they did in the 2011 WWC? Why or why not?
  • What are the off-field pressures or expectations being put on the team?
  • Are those expectations valid? Why or Why not?

Q3: Women’s Professional Soccer

  • What impact will the success of the team have on the women’s game?

Join us on Monday at 8pm ET to throw your thoughts into the mix. Just log on to TwitterTweetchat, or Tweetgrid, and use the #WPSchat tag.

The Boston Breakers went into their match versus in-state rival the New England Mutiny on a five game winning streak. With their win over the ASA Chesapeake from the previous night fresh in mind, the Breakers had momentum, aptitude, and durability going for them.

Momentum: Looking at the record, the Breakers were going into last night’s match on a roll. The Breakers were winners of five straight, and won the previous match-up between the two teams. Since their loss to now top-seeded Chicago Red Stars, the Breakers have beat up the competition. In those five wins they recorded 3 shutouts and  outscored their opponents 11 – 4. In the previous match the Breakers outlasted the Mutiny winning by a score of 4 – 2.

Aptitude: The Breakers have multiple players in the top of the league leaders for points, goals, and assists. The team’s roster includes Kyah Simon, Katie Schoepfer, and Courtney Jones. Simon is the league best in scoring and points; Schoepfer ranks in the top 3 league-wide in scores, assists, and points; Jones leads the league in assists. With skill like this on the team, it’s easy to see how the Breakers were top of the league going into last night’s game.

Durability: The Breakers are known throughout the league for being an incredibly fit team, for keeping the pressure on all game, and for scoring  late in the second half of games. If any WPSL Elite team could accomplish the physically taxing task of winning games on back to back nights, it would be the Breakers. Right?

For 90 plus minutes in last night’s game against the Mutiny, the Breakers looked as though they would pull it off.  Simon scored in the 47th minute, and the team had plenty of opportunities to net another if it wasn’t for the stellar play of Mutiny GK Vicki Alonzo. What the Breakers didn’t plan for was the ace up the Mutiny’s sleeve: Resilience.

Resilience: The Mutiny proved that staying in the game and bouncing back are the key to winning against this formidable team. This would ultimately be the story of the night.

The Mutiny would prove their resiliency by scoring two goals in stoppage time to get the all-important win, thereby keeping their playoff dreams alive. The equalizer came off the foot of the team’s recent signing and former Breaker Tiffany Weimer. Minutes later the game-winner sailed past the outstretched hands of Breakers GK Alice Binns by Mutiny substitute Taleen Dimirdjian. Another Mutiny substitute for the game Rebecca Mays would set-up Dimirdjian for the goal.

The Mutiny celebrated their victory with the 1,031 fans in attendance, while the Breakers felt as though they let three points get away.

New England Mutiny – Box score/recap

Boston Breakers – Box score/recap

The Breakers will look to show their resiliency when they return to action in their next match on July 14th against the Philadelphia Fever at Dilboy Stadium in Somerville, MA. It will be Puma “Project Pink” night at Dilboy. The players will be wearing pink jerseys to raise awareness for breast cancer. The jerseys will be auctioned off at the end of the game to raise funds for a cancer charity to help find a cure.

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