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Tough Defense Takes Atlanta Beat to Top of WUSA Standings


CHICAGO (Monday, May 28, 2001) - After handing the Philadelphia Charge its first loss of the season with a 2-0 win on Thursday, the Atlanta Beat posted a 1-0 victory over the Bay Area CyberRays on Sunday to remain undefeated at 3-0-3. Charmaine Hooper's 13th minute goal was all the offense the Beat needed, as the team boasts of the league's top defense, backed by goalkeeper Briana Scurry. The Beat has shut out five of its six opponents, and the only goal it has allowed this season was a late-game own-goal. The loss puts the CyberRays, now 1-4-1 with four points, in a tie for last place with the Carolina Courage, which picked up its first victory of the season Saturday against the San Diego Spirit.

The Courage offense came alive in their 4-3 victory, led by two strikes from Danielle Fotopoulos. Shannon MacMillan had two goals and an assist in the match for the sixth-place Spirit (1-3-2, 5 pts.).

Philadelphia and Washington are tied for second place at 3-1-2 and 11 points - just a point back from Atlanta - after each posting wins on Sunday. The Philadelphia Charge needed a late goal from Laurie Schwoy to pull off a 3-2 win over the Boston Breakers (2-2-2, 8 pts.). Philadelphia's Liu Ailing scored two goals in the match, while Maren Meinert and Dagny Mellgren provided the offense for the hosts.

The Washington Freedom had a two-goal-scorer of their own as Bai Jie added a dramatic 90th minute goal to secure a 2-1 win over the New York Power (2-1-3, 9 pts.). The defender had given the visitors an early lead with a goal in the third minute, before New York's Ann Kristin Aarones equalized with a header in the 78th minute. In second-half stoppage time, Bai redirected a Mia Hamm corner kick past Power goalkeeper Gao Hong to give the Freedom the victory.

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