LA Strikers grab big wins in successive weeks to keep chase for playoffs alive

Strikers: Coming on strong at the end of the season - Rachna Kapur

The Strikers are on top of their game right now!

Over the past two weeks, the LA Strikers have picked up six points, getting two massive wins in Southern California. What this means for the Strikers is that they are knocking on the door of the playoffs, with the final games of the season left to determine everything.

On June 29, the Strikers faced the Pali Blues once more, this time at the stadium complex where Chivas USA play. As part of a doubleheader with the Goats' game against the New England Revolution, the local derby was highly anticipated, especially because Pali had only lost once all season, and that was to the Strikers in the season opener.

However, the Strikers had the Blues' number once more, as they beat Pali 2-1, completing the improbable season sweep over their rivals. Melissa Fernandez broke the scoreless tie in the 54th minute, off an assist from Kristy Moore, and Jamie Bell got the game winner in the 81st. The Blues tried to get back into the game, as Mele French notched a goal in the 82nd minute, but the Strikers held on for the big victory.

Then on Sunday, the Strikers finished their home schedule for 2013 with a 2-0 win over the Colorado Rush, who sit at the bottom of the standings. With those six points, the Strikers stay in third place in the Western Conference, five points behind both the Seattle Sounders Women and the Pali Blues, but the Strikers have a game in hand. That makes the last two games absolutely vital for the Strikers' W-League playoff hopes.

They will finish the season with a two-game road trip in Colorado, as LA will face the Colorado Rapids Women Thursday, before facing the Rush again Sunday. The first game is a must-win, as the Rapids sit just a point behind the Strikers in the standings, and have playoff ambitions of their own. If LA can get the victory in that game, then they will just have to take care of business against the Rush.

Nine teams will qualify for the W-League playoffs, and if the Strikers end the season with two wins and have 24 points on the season, they will have a good shout for making it to the postseason. But first things first: they must get those wins if they are to play beyond the regular season.

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