The USC-UCLA rivalry extends to soccer, of course -- only the women's game; USC doesn't have a men's team -- and if the Bruins can point to annual trips to the NCAA College Cup final four (seven in a row now), the Trojans (or Women of Troy, as they prefer) have something their nemesis doesn't: an NCAA championship.
Lake Forest's Amy Rodriguez, who played a pivotal role in USC's run to the 2007 title (it included a semifinal victory over the Bruins), on Saturday teamed up with two UCLA All-Americans to lead expansion Philadelphia in a 4-1 rout of defending Women's Professional Soccer champ Sky Blue FC.
Former UCLA star Danesha Adams finished Rodriguez's cross for the first goal, in the fourth minute, then sent a ball over the top for Rodriguez to score in the 17th. The Independence (5-3-2), who are in second place, five points behind FC Gold Pride (7-2-1), made it 3-0 when Joanna Lohman rebounded Adams' drive and got the fourth from Tina DiMartino, another Bruins All-America, who scored for the second successive game.
A FEW MORE NOTES: Expansion Atlanta won its first game, beating visiting Chicago, 1-0, as U.S. national team defender Tina Ellertson -- one of six former Saint Louis players to sign with the Beat -- scored on a 41st-minute header. New Red Stars coach Omid Namazi is 0-1-2. … Chicago traded last week for Atlanta's backup goalkeeper, Allison Whitworth, after Thousand Oaks High School alum Kelsey Davis suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in training. Davis, who starred at the University of Portland after starting her college career at UCLA, will miss the rest of the season. … Kelley O'Hara's first-half goal carried FC Gold Pride past visiting Boston, 1-0, in the first WPS game at Hayward-based Cal State East Bay's Pioneer Stadium. Boston's Alyssa Naeher, considered the top rookie goalkeeper (although Washington's Ashlyn Harris is in the conversation, too), made her first start, then departed after 28 minutes with a head injury. … Former Saint Louis defender Niki Cross signed a developmental deal with Boston. … Chino Hills' Karen Bardsley missed Sky Blue's game while with England's women's national team for Saturday's 2011 Women's World Cup qualifier against Spain, a 2-2 draw.
Last week's scores (home teams listed first)
Sky Blue FC 1 (Rosana pen. 27), Philadelphia 4 (Adams 4, Rodriguez 17, Lohman 55, DiMartino 74)
Atlanta 1 (Ellertson 41), Chicago 0
FC Gold Pride 1 (O'Hara 37), Boston 0
Standings: FC Gold Pride 22 points, Philadelphia Independence 17, Washington Freedom 15, Sky Blue FC 14, Chicago Red Bulls 9, Boston Breakers 7, Atlanta Beat 5.
This week's games (all times Pacific)
Philadelphia at Atlanta, 4:30 p.m.
Chicago at Boston, 4:30 p.m.
Washington at Philadelphia, 3 p.m.
Sky Blue FC at FC Gold Pride, 3 p.m.
1 Marta (FC Gold Pride) 6
2 Eniola Aluko (Saint Louis/Atlanta) 4
Laura Kalmari (Sky Blue FC) 4
Christine Sinclair (FC Gold Pride) 4
Abby Wambach (Washington) 4
3 Cristiane (Chicago) 3
Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia) 3
Homare Sawa (Washington) 3
Kelly Smith (Boston) 3