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WUSA's first weekend of the season saw 13 goals scored in 4 games - quite a change from the start of last year, when goals were scarce.

One thing that hasn't changed, however, is the predominance of foreign internationals among the goal scorers - 7 of the 13, and Tiffeny Milbrett leading the pack with 2 goals already.

WUSA results are well covered by the WUSA official league site, so we needn't report them all here.
 

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More on opening day

April 14, 2002 (www.DailySoccer.com) --

The San Jose CyberRays took a good first step on the defense of their Women's United Soccer Association championship last season by beating the Boston Breakers 2-1 at Spartan Stadium in San Jose as the WUSA opened its second season on Saturday.

A goal from CyberRays captain Brandi Chastain two minutes from time sent the partisan crowd home happy, and Chastain-- who got on the end of a 40-yard free kick from Sissi to one-touch it past Breakers goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc and give the team the win in dramatic fashion-- saw her own blushes saved as well as those of her team after missing a penalty kick in the 70th minute.

"When I missed, I thought to myself, 'I have to score a goal'," Chastain said, "not to make up for a mistake, but because I felt responsible for missing after Katia and Pretinha had worked so hard."

"I know Brandi," Sissi said about the game-winning interplay that led to the goal. "I can tell in her eye what she's going for, what she wants. Before the kick, I caught her eye."

Prior to Chastain's miss from the penalty spot, Maren Meinert opened the scoring for the Breakers in the 50th minute. But Chastain's penalty miss-- coming after Breakers defender Monica Gonzalez was caught handling a shot by the CyberRays' Pretinha-- seemed to give energy to her side, and it was Brazilian forward Pretinha, in her first game with the club following an offseason move from the Washington Freedom, who levelled matters in the 74th minute, scoring from a feed from Tisha Venturini-Hoch.

CyberRays coach Ian Sawyers had contemplated bringing a fatigued Chastain off after the spot-kick miss, but felt compelled to leave her on to finish the job of the day. "We were debating whether to leave her in as someone capable of being a game-changer, or get somebody else in with fresh legs. We were just playing a hunch, but after the PK, we wanted to give her an opportunity to be a game-changer even though she was struggling physically," said Sawyers.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Charge upset the Atlanta Beat 2-0 at Herndon Stadium in Atlanta. English women's international striker Kelly Smith inspired the victory with a goal on the hour from a free kick, then Chinese midfielder Zhao Lihong added an insurance goal in the 72nd minute on a one-on-one move against Beat 'keeper Brianna Scurry after Charge teammate Marinette Pichon had forced the ball free in the attacking third.

"It feels good, not only to score, but to get our first win under our belt so early," said Charge captain Smith, whose team gained revenge on Atlanta for a playoff loss to the Beat last season. "We have worked hard all preseason and to see our result is great."

"This was a great win for us," said Charge coach Mark Krikorian. "Atlanta is a tough team and to win on their turf is huge, regardless if this is the first game."

At RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., a two-goal salvo from Tiffney Milbrett paced the New York Power to a 4-1 win over a Mia Hamm-less Washington Freedom. Hamm, who is widely regarded as the world's best women's player, was on the sidelines still recuperating from preseason knee surgery and could only watch as Milbrett and Linda Ormen tore her team apart.

"If you'd asked me early in the week if we would win this game, 4-1, I would have said you were crazy," said Milbrett, whose 16-goal haul merited her league most-valuable-player and outstanding-offensive-player awards last season. "It was a total team effort, a great way to get off to this kind of start."

After Monica Gerado staked the Freedom to a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute, the international class of American striker Milbrett shone through. She opened her account for the game and the season on 33 minutes, then gave her team the lead 12 minutes after the break, with Ormen laying on for both scores. Milbrett had chances to complete her hat-trick before being substituted in the 87th minute, but the game was already in the bag for the Power, with Ormen and Anita Rapp adding goals in the 64th and 84th minutes, respectively.

"I told the team all week that you steal games on the road, maybe you win, 2-1. I think a lot more goals are going to be scored in the league this year, but I sure didn't expect this," said Power coach Pat Farmer.

Opposing goalkeeper Dawn Greathouse, making her WUSA debut under a baptism of fire, paid tribute to the deadly finishing skills of Milbrett, who is arguably the best pure finisher in the women's game. "She's known for that. That's why she's one of the best in the world. When she has the opportunity, she doesn't waste it," said Greathouse.

And at Torero Stadium on the campus of the University of San Diego, Joy Fawcett's own goal with three minutes to go handed the Carolina Courage a 2-1 win against the San Diego Spirit as both teams appeared set for a share of the honors with the Spirit's Zhang Ouying's goal in the 65th minute cancelling out Danielle Fotopoulos' 36th-minute opener for the Courage.

"You make your own luck," said Courage coach Marcia McDermott, who looked at the fortunate result for her team philosophically. "When you strike hard low shots at the frame, they're difficult to handle and, many times, good things happens. 'Lucks' [goalkeeper Kristin Luckenbill] made some important saves for us tonight."

"Quite frankly, I thought San Diego had the better of the play," she added. "They had a nice style, they came after us and they are an absolutely outstanding team. But this year we are trying to steal points on the road."

"We scored three goals today and lost," said Spirit coach Carlos Juarez after a frustrating defeat for a team that just missed last year's playoffs by just three mere points. "It was a tough way to start the season and we are very disappointed."

:cool:
 

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The average attendance for the four games was 7,300 and some change, which I don't think was all that bad considering They don't have the novelty thing going so much now and Hamm is hurt.
 
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