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CARY, N.C. (AP) _ Marinette Pichon scored two goals Wednesday night to lead the first-place Philadelphia Charge to a 3-1 WUSA victory over second-place Carolina.

Pichon and Carolina's Danielle Fotopolous scored one minute apart midway through the first half.

Philadelphia's Kerry Connors scored her first goal of the season in the 39th minute to provide the game-winner for the Charge (7-1-2).

Pichon's second goal came in the 67th minute and was her seventh of the season, tying her for the league lead with Fotopolous, Katia of San Jose and Tiffeny Millbrett of New York.

Philadelphia handed Carolina (5-2-3) its only other loss of the season when Pichon scored two goals in a 3-1 win.

Pichon had scored four straight goals for Philadelphia and five of its six prior to Connors' goal.

Pichon almost had the game-winner with a hard shot inside the Carolina penalty area that seemed to bound off the hand of Carolina defender Danielle Slaton. While Pichon screamed for a call on the hand ball and a resulting penalty kick, Connors pivoted over the ball and knocked it off the outstretched hands of keeper Kristin Luckenbill.

Carolina, which outshot the Charge 13-9, was without two regulars _ defender Erin Baxter out with a high ankle sprain and midfielder Kim Yankowski out with a lower back strain.