CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) – Saturday will be a big day for Philadelphia soccer fans.
While the Union will be on the road visiting Columbus in a critical MLS Eastern Conference match (see related story), the Philadelphia Independence of Women’s Professional Soccer will host MagicJack at PPL Park in Chester in a playoff semifinal.
The Independence finished the regular season in second place in the six-team league, and they got a boost down the stretch with the return of the contingent of players that spent most of the summer playing in Germany at the Women’s World Cup.
One of those players is forward Amy Rodriguez. The US National Team member stopped by the KYW Newsradio studios recently and talked about why the Independence are still standing.
“I think that we are one of the most hard-working teams in this league,” she told KYW’s Matt Leon. “We have double days constantly and we are out working in the weight room, on the soccer field, always doing the best that we can in order to set ourselves apart from the other teams.
“We are very dynamic — we have a very strong offense, and that starts from our midfield. We are a very good possession-oriented team, and we are able to have dynamic players play on our front line and in our attacking six that are able to go out and score goals. I think that is going to be so critical,” she added.
Hear Matt Leon’s full interview with Amy Rodriguez in this CBS Philly SportsPod…
As for the Florida-based MagicJack squad, Rodriguez says they present a tough challenge.
“MagicJack is an excellent squad. They are probably the team in our league that has the most national team players (including forward Abby Wambach), so I am probably most familiar with them. I know their players very well. They are a strong team and they have a very good attacking style.”
Needless to say, the last few months have been a whirlwind for Rodriguez, and she says the experience of representing her country as a member of the national team was really special.
“Playing in a World Cup was beyond my biggest dreams — I never thought that that was going to happen for me. To be given the opportunity, and to play on such a large stage, it was amazing. I played in front of crowds as big as 50 and 60-thousand people, and that was very special.”
Rodriguez and the US finished second to Japan at the World Cup, losing the final in penalty kicks (see related story).
First kick between the Independence and MagicJack is set for 4:00pm on Saturday, in Chester. The winner of this semifinal match faces Western New York in the WPS Championship on Saturday, August 27th.
Reported by Matt Leon, KYW Newsradio 1060