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FC Gold Pride finds rhythm in home opener

Posted on 18 April 2010 by asu

On this brisk night in April and in front a home crowd, the FC Gold Pride found the back of the net three times in a huge win over reigning Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) Champions, Sky Blue FC. Whether it was due to the Pride’s owner, Nancy NeSmith’s pre-game and accurate 3-1 prediction, forward Christine Sinclair’s new purple with pink-striped shoes, or as coach, Albertin Montoya put it, the team “put[ing] on a show for their fans,” the packed stands (3,757) at Castro Valley High School in Hayward, California, were treated to quality soccer tonight.

Sinclair and Marta celebrate after Sinclair's second goal

The Pride’s desire for a win after their loss last weekend to the St. Louis Athletica was apparent immediately at the 7:00 p.m. kickoff. The Pride offensive team of Sinclair, Camille Abily, and Marta each took multiple shots on goal within ten minutes of the first half, culminating in a goal by Sinclair in the tenth minute with a low and driven ball into the left corner opposite Sky Blue keeper Karen Bardsley’s dive. Though there was some miscommunication between Pride players at the beginning of the match, with failed attempts at give-and-go type plays, Sky Blue was unable to capitalize on any of the loose balls in dangerous Pride territory. As the half wore on, the Pride maintained a majority of the possession, making run after run on the Sky Blue goal, but unable to fit in another goal in the first half.

Sky Blue came out in the second half attacking the Pride goal ferociously and were able to tie the game in the 59th minute on a Rosana goal that hit the near post and bounced across the open goal before rolling past the goal line. However, the Pride definitively announced their presence with another Sinclair goal in the 75th minute. Sinclair was able to beat out two defenders and chip a ball over Bardsley, who came out of the box for a challenge.

Hometown favorite and WPS newcomer Kelley O’Hara assisted in the third and final Pride goal of the night. O’Hara, while drawing two defenders on the wing, crossed a ball to a center-streaking Marta, who dribbled through two defenders and placed the ball directly over Bardsley’s reach into the back of the net.

Though the Pride had multiple missed opportunities in front of an open net, their defense was able to keep Sky Blue powerless on the offensive. Sky Blue appeared to lack the cohesiveness that made their team dominant last season. They had no time to settle the ball or combine for many intrusive set plays, which was likely due to the Pride players following Montoya’s directive that they stay “tight” on their opponents; many Sky Blue players found themselves double teamed. Pride goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart kept vigilant watch in goal, breaking up many Sky Blue offensive chances, showing no fear of getting in to the mix of elbows and cleats.

Montoya was understandably excited, yet reserved, after the game, with a reminder that this was “only the second game of the season,” and to consider that there was “a lot of room to improve.” He did emphasize; however, that “everyone’s going to get that much better.” When questioned about the team chemistry, Sinclair focused more on the apparent cooperative dynamic that was forming within the offensive ranks, and acknowledged the abilities of O’Hara, Abily, and Marta, stating, that with “so much talent” on the field, it was only “a matter of gelling together” and felt that they were not “too far away” from that point.

The season may be young, but if the Pride can play consistently at this level for the remainder of the season, they will be able to show any crowd, whether it be home or away, that they are true contenders for the WPS 2010 Championship.

2 Comments For This Post

  1. asu Says:

    Correction: Goal by Sky Blue FC was by Laura Kalmari in the 49th minute.

  2. asu Says:

    Correction: Goal by Sky Blue FC was by Laura Kalmari in the 49th minute.

1 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. Different Coast, Same Result as Sky Blue FC fall to FC Gold Pride | Women's Professional Soccer Says:

    […] both teams tied for first place in the league coming into Saturday’s match. Two weeks ago Sky Blue lost to Gold Pride, going down 3-1 on the west coast. And while the home teams were switched, the end result was still the same, with the Pride topping […]

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