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USC, UCLA alums lead WPS comeback

4/10/2011

The highlight of Women's Professional Soccer's third opening weekend: Philadelphia's rally from a two-goal deficit for a 2-2 draw across the New Jersey border at Sky Blue FC. Scoring the goals were former USC star Amy Rodriguez, who came off the bench to halve the deficit 11 minutes into the second half, and UCLA product Tina DiMartino, who netted the 90th-minute equalizer.

It's not the first time the former college All-Americans combined for the Independence, nor the most dramatic. DiMartino assisted Rodriguez's end-of-overtime goal to beat Washington in last year's playoff opener, and both had assists in Philly's semifinal victory, also in overtime, against Boston. The Independence lost, 4-0, in the title game to Northern California's FC Gold Pride, which promptly folded.

Rodriguez (Lake Forest/Santa Margarita Catholic HS), a U.S. national team forward, bounced back last year from a disappointing rookie season with Boston and led the first-year Independence with 13 goals, including the playoff winner. DiMartino, a slight playmaking midfielder, also was a big contributor after making little impact with FC Gold Pride in her first season.

Boston won big on the road against the Atlanta Beat; Mission Viejo's Kasey Moore (Capistrano Valley HS) scored the Breakers' final goal in the 4-1 rout, converting a penalty kick deep in stoppage.

Also seeing action in week one were Mission Viejo's Kristina Larsen (Mission Viejo HS/UCLA) in midfield for Atlanta and Chino Hills' Karen Bardsley (Ayala HS/Cal State Fullerton) in the nets for Sky Blue.