On a rainy Saturday afternoon with national team coach Pia Sundhage looking on, St. Louis Athletica took down Natasha Kai and Sky Blue FC in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 3,124 on their new home pitch at the Anheuser-Busch Soccer Park.
On a day set to honor breast cancer survivors, Athletica wore special white and pink kits, staff had pink ribbons fixed onto their shirts, and the match was played with a unique pink puma ball.
Coming into the match Athletica was tied for last place with their game-day opponents, so this match was important for both sides.
Athletica started the match with three lineup changes:
Amanda Cinalli making her debut after bring sidelined with a preseason knee injury.
Stephanie Logterman who also made her debut after wrapping up her college semester in Texas.
Christie Welsh who started in place of the struggling to adapt Kerri Hanks.
Athletica pinned Sky Blue in their half for the a majority of the first 20 minutes, resulting in several crosses and a corner kick.
Athletica would score the only goal of the match in the 15th min when Amanda Cinalli trapped a cross from Eniola Aluko and was left opened in the box, easily scoring.
The rest of the first half consisted of back and forth chances for both sides.
At around the 50th minute Aluko appeared to have injured her hamstring and was replaced by Kerri Hanks.
Other Athletica subs included, Francielle for Cinalli, and Larsson for McNeill.
Sky Blue controlled the second half, out shooting Athletica 8-2. However, they failed to create any legitimate opportunities.
The win puts Athletica tied for third place with the Breakers and Gold Pride. It is their third win in four games, all coming with a shutout.
Neither team had a stellar game, but one defensive mistake was enough for Athletica to get the win.
The players from Sky Blue FC were noticeably upset following the match, as they missed a golden opportunity to jump in the standings.
Athletica return to the pitch on Sunday at 5pm ct as they take on the Boston Breakers at Harvard Stadium. The match can be seen live on FSC or streaming online through the WPS website.
Photo property of Women's Professional Soccer & ISI Photos