On the field were two of the most prolific scorers in the Women's Professional Soccer league: Amy Rodriguez of the Independence and Abby Wambach of the Washington Freedom.
But in Sunday's first-round playoff match between the third-place Independence and fourth-place Freedom, the scoreboard at West Chester University's Farrell Stadium read zeros at halftime.
"It felt like I had a curse on me," Rodriguez said.
Things stayed that way until Rodriguez scored in the 120th minute, off a feed from midfielder Tina DiMartino, to give the Freedom a 1-0 victory in extra time and a trip to the semifinals.
The Independence will play the Boston Breakers on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. at Harvard Soccer Stadium. The Independence went 0-2-2 against the Breakers this season, losing in their most recent game, 2-1, on Aug. 29.
"It's always been a good battle with Boston," midfielder Lori Lindsey said. "It's do-or-die time now. It just comes down to effort."
Rodriguez's goal was her 13th of the season, tying her with Wambach for second in the league.
"We had so many chances in that game," said Rodriguez, who had 10 shots. "Inevitably we kept shooting, and the last one went in, and that's all that matters."
Wambach and Rodriguez had their share of scoring chances, none of which were closer to going in than when Rodriguez hit the left post in the 89th minute.
"I told [Rodriguez] you're going to miss," Independence coach Paul Riley said. "The best strikers in the world miss chance after chance after chance. You've got to keep going. You're going to get another one. Just stick with it."
The Independence (11-10-4) split the season series with the Freedom (8-10-7) and had lost four straight dating to Aug. 22.
"Feels good to win again," Rodriguez said.
Wambach's best chance came in the 65th minute when she took a diving shot inside the 18-yard line that just missed the net wide right.
"They were dynamite tonight," Riley said of goalie Val Henderson and a defensive line that shut Wambach down in the 30 minutes of extra time. "I thought we did a real good job of keeping [Wambach] on the defense."
In the first half, the Independence had more shots and scoring opportunities than Washington. But Freedom goalkeeper Erin McLeod came up with four big saves, two of which were on shots from close range.
But the majority of the team's scoring chances came in the second half, with Rodriguez missing a rebound that was rolling right in front of the net. Forward Danesha Adams, Lindsey and DiMartino also had near misses in the second half.
Neither team did much offensively in the first overtime period, with no shots on goal or genuine scoring chances.