LeBlanc records first clean sheet in WPS history —
Mark the moment, the Los Angeles Sol came away with the first-ever victory in the new Women’s Professional Soccer league. The Sol won 2:0 over visiting Washington Freedom in front of some 14,832 fans at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles. Allison Falk scored the league’s first-ever goal while Canadian goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc recorded the first-ever clean sheet.
“There was just so much hype leading into (the Inaugural Match),” said LeBlanc, one of several Canadians playing in the seven-team American league. “The crowd and atmosphere was amazing. You were just in awe of that moment.”
Once the match started, however, LeBlanc and her teammates were well focused on the task at hand. Despite having such short preparation time before the first official match, the team played well “defensively and offensively” to shutout the visiting Freedom.
“It was a great start for us,” said LeBlanc, Canada’s international leader in appearances (65) and clean sheets (28). “It (the clean sheet) was not just me, it was the full XI.”
Amongst those in attendance at the WPS Inaugural Match were Canadian head coach Carolina Morace and team staff Andrea Neil. As part of the pre-match ceremony, USA and world international goal leader Mia Hamm presented the game ball to the referee.
The WPS schedule continues this weekend as the other five teams get into action. On 4 April, St. Louis Athletica hosts Chicago Red Stars; on 5 April, FC Gold Price hosts Boston Breakers and Sky Blue FC hosts Los Angeles Sol. The league hopes to average 4,000-6,000 fans per match.
Along with LeBlanc, Canadians on WPS teams include Christine Sinclair (FC Gold Pride), Candace Chapman (Boston Breakers), Christine Latham (Boston Breakers), Kelly Parker (Sky Blue FC) and Melissa Tancredi (St. Louis Athletica). Martin Franko is expected to join LeBlanc on the Los Angeles Sol later this week.