On a chilly and windy day in Boyds, Maryland, the Washington Freedom and Philadelphia Independence ended their preseason exhibition game in a scoreless draw Saturday, March 27.
The scrimmage marked the Independence's first time facing a WPS team. With several key players missing from both sides due to national team duties, each team had a glimpse of how their opponent is shaping up for the upcoming season.
"I think [Independence] looked great. I know they're missing some players, but it was a pretty evenly matched game right down to the end," observed Freedom goalkeeper Erin McLeod.
As a team whose goal coming into the second season of the league was to solidify its defense, and with defensive leader Cat Whitehill out with the U.S. national team, the Freedom had a chance to test out a new back four in the scrimmage.
"We're pretty much working with a new back line. There's definitely areas that we need to work on but I think, collectively, we're getting a better understanding of our strengths and our weaknesses and the best way to come together and work the most efficiently," added McLeod.
The Freedom will face 20-time NCAA College Cup champion UNC in their last preseason game on Saturday, April 3 at the Maryland SoccerPlex, a week before the season opener against the Boston Breakers.
The Independence will battle Penn State on Thursday, April 1 in Downingtown, Pa., 10 days before they make their WPS debut against fellow expansion team Atlanta Beat at West Chester University.