The WPS home page and standings page are afraid to admit it, apparently, but Chicago is out of the playoffs. I'm guessing it's because "See the Sol and Red Stars jog around for two hours!" isn't a recipe for FSC ratings gold.
Nevertheless, we must not quail from the truth. The Red Stars have 17 points, and two games left = maximum of 23 points.
Freedom and Sky Blue play each other = at least four teams with 24 points.
I guess what I'm most annoyed with is Chicago not only failing to take out the Freedom, but giving Abby Wambach another couple of goals. People who put absolutely zero thought or effort into their All-Star picks now have some factual basis to support their views. Hell, she scored when it counted. I might have to put her on my ballot now. Crap. Thanks for nothing, Chicago.
The Gold Pride took themselves out yesterday by waiting eighty minutes before scoring in St. Louis, which said goal didn't do anything except irritate the Green Street Pony-Tailed Hooligans.
Where did it all go wrong?
I hate to be repetitive and reductive, but Kandace Wilson. I think she comes back strong next year, and makes FCGP respectably bad instead of just bad. They'll have to do something about Formiga and Leslie Osborne, who this year combined for...let's see, carry the two...zero goals and zero assists. In other words, Bill Archer and I were as productive for the Gold Pride this year as Osborne and Formiga. This is the sort of disaster that usually harbingers massive job losses, so hopefully FCGPers are renting and not buying.
I thought the Red Stars would contend for the title, I only saw them a couple of times this year, and I don't want to judge them based on the Home Depot Center apocalypse. So I really have no idea what happened there. I'm assuming either Emma Hayes or Carli Lloyd will bear the brunt of responsibility, though.
So now we're down to five. As MLS mulls over some really, really terrible playoff scenarios, they might want to see how things end up over in WPS. The differences between second, third, and fourth are pretty huge, unlike in any MLS scenario we've seen. If the WPS system works, other leagues in the hemisphere should pay attention. They probably won't, though.
Let's see what's likely to shake out.
The big game is Wednesday, Washington at home against the Breakers. The Breakers have by far the worst schedule of the contenders. Visiting Washington Wednesday, visiting St. Louis Saturday, and then the Sol at home for, potentially, everything. The good news is, under any scenario that would matter, Boston holds the tiebreaker over Saint Louis. (If the A's win Saturday, then that tiebreaker will either not exist or count for naught.) They'll frankly be lucky to see Harvard Stadium again after the Sol game.
Washington has a couple of headache games, but they're at home - Boston Wednesday, Sky Blue a week from Saturday. They get three free points against the Gold Pride on Saturday, though. If Wambach is right, and they're starting to gel, then it looks like Germantown is hosting the semifinal.
New Jersey is in trouble, but they know that, and have for a while. They get to sit around and hope for a tie Wednesday, and rival losses on Saturday. At least they get to host the Gold Pride, which will probably put them on 26 going into the showdown in Maryland. If they don't win the Gold Pride game, though, we have our playoff contenders, it's just a matter of in what order.
The A's are sitting pretty, despite stupidly giving up that goal on Sunday. The easiest and most intelligent course of action for Saint Louis is to defeat Boston at home Saturday. But failing that, their last two games are against both of the league's playoff outies. Even if they do bungle the Breakers game, 33 points isn't unreasonable at all here. I think they're hosting the semifinal in the Bud Bowl.
The Popularity Contest - sorry, All-Star Game fan voting - is as demoralizing as you'd expect. The voting could actually benefit from Seattle Sounders fan ballot stuffing at this point. Maybe I don't understand the math, but why is Marta only on 27% of the fan ballots? Okay, Kandace Wilson didn't vote for her, that's valid. What about the other 73% of you?