Washington Freedom at FC Gold Pride

Saturday, August 1, 2009

When: Saturday, 6 p.m.

Where: Buck Shaw Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.

Records: Freedom (7-6-5, 26 pts.), FC Gold Pride (3-9-5, 14 pts.)

Outlook: After three consecutive losses earlier this summer threatened to put Washington on the outside looking in for the inaugural Women's Professional Soccer playoffs, the Freedom has responded with a four-game unbeaten streak, including three consecutive wins, and now hold the No. 3 seed in the four-team postseason.

A major catalyst to the turnaround has been the play of forward Abby Wambach, who since scoring her 100th career international goal, and with a year of rehabilitation from a broken leg behind her, has come into form in recent weeks -- scoring three goals in the past two games.

With just two games remaining in the regular season and Washington one point behind second-place Saint Louis Athletica, which has a game in hand, the Freedom has a prime opportunity to pick up a valuable three points on the road at last-place FC Gold Pride.

The Freedom is 2-0 against FC Gold Pride this year -- the teams have combined for 11 goals in the two games. Washington must have another strong outing from goalkeeper Erin McLeod, who preserved her third shutout of the season in Wednesday's 1-0 win over the Boston Breakers with a quality save in injury time.

-- Paul Tenorio

© 2009 The Washington Post Company