The Washington Post

Women’s soccer: WPS attendance rises since World Cup, playoff format set, college preseason top 25 released

Women’s Professional Soccer concluded the regular season on a high note. Bolstered by the popularity of the World Cup, the struggling league enjoyed an 89 percent increase in attendance over the final 18 matches to lift its final average to 3,518. The figure for the first 36 games was 2,714, but 5,126 since the World Cup concluded in mid-July.

Using a unique format, the playoffs begin Wednesday with Florida-based magicJack (9-7-2), the No. 3 seed featuring Abby Wambach, hosting the fourth-place Boston Breakers (5-9-4). Fox Soccer Channel will carry the match live at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The winner will play the No. 2 Philadelphia Independence (11-4-3) on Saturday at PPL Park, an MLS stadium in Chester, Pa. The Western New York Flash (13-2-3), led by Brazilian star Marta, received a bye all the way to the Aug. 27 championship game in Rochester, N.Y.

Meantime, the college soccer season is about to begin and Soccer America has compiled its women’s preseason top 25.....

1. Stanford (23-1-2 in 2010)

2. Notre Dame (21-2-2)

3. North Carolina (19-3-2)

4. Florida State (16-6-1)

5. Maryland (18-2-3)

6. Boston College (17-7-1)

7. Oklahoma State (20-4-2)

8. Florida (19-2-3)

9. UCLA (13-8-2)

10. Ohio State (17-5-2)

11. Portland (19-1-2)

12. Duke (11-8-4)

13. Oregon State (16-4-1)

14. Marquette (16-5-3)

15. Georgetown (15-7-2)

16. Virginia (15-5-2)

17. Santa Clara (13-7-2)

18. Texas (11-6-4)

19. Washington (13-9-2)

20. UC Irvine (19-3-2)

21. West Virginia (18-5-1)

22. Texas A&M (15-5-3)

23. Wake Forest (13-8-3)

24. Central Florida (15-5-3)

25. Southern California (13-6-3)

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.

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