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May 11, 2010 > Gold Pride win fourth straight

Gold Pride win fourth straight

By Giovanni Albanese Jr.
Photos By William Mancebo

Playing a man up for the majority of Saturday night's (May 8) game at Castro Valley High School Athletic Stadium, FC Gold Pride remained unbeaten at home (3-0) and won its fourth straight game overall, beating the Chicago Red Stars, 2-0.

"It feels good," said FC Gold Pride coach Albertin Montoya about the team's fourth consecutive win. "We deserve it the way we've been playing."

Gold Pride (4-1), according to Montoya, picked up its defensive play, and created more chances this week en route to the victory.

Late in the first half, Tiffeny Milbrett took advantage of one of those chances, scoring a goal in the 44th minute, making up for a missed penalty kick earlier in the half.

Gold Pride midfielder Carrie Dew targeted a streaking Ali Riley, who took the long chip ball and volleyed it to Milbrett, who did the rest, putting it by Red Stars keeper Jillian Loyden for a 1-0 lead.

"I was able to get a great strike at it but it went off the crossbar," said the Pride's eldest player at 37 years old. "It bounced right to me and I tried to take a volley shot and I hit that well.

"Being able to even up after missing the PK," added Milbrett, "I was very happy to get one in for the team."

Milbrett's PK chance came when, in the 26th minute, Christine Sinclair fed a through ball on the ground to Marta's feet, who quickly slid the ball to O'Hara in the box, who was tackled by Ifeoma Dieke for a penalty kick, who got a red card for her efforts.

Loyden got the best of Milbrett in their first tangle against each other, guessing right and gobbling up the fluttering shot.

"I don't think I hit it with the best pace," said Milbrett. "Give (Loyden) credit, and I'll learn from it and be able to strike it better next time."

Chicago came out in the second half with a quick surge, and nearly tied the game in the 47th minute when Ella Masar caught the Pride napping -- watching Sollveig Gulbrandsen laying on the turf after a hard challenge for a head ball -- and got behind the defense.

With Rachel Buehler and Dew tracking her down, Masar took a shot just inside the box but Pride keeper Nicole Barnhart kicked it away, keeping the Pride up 1-0.

"That save was just as important as both goals," said Montoya. "It's difficult when a keeper doesn't have to do much all game long and all of a sudden make a play like that. My hat goes off to her, she was outstanding."

After tiring the Red Stars throughout most of the second half, the Pride were able to double its lead to 2-nil on Kelley O'Hara's first WPS goal in the 79th minute.

Marta collected the ball at the midfield stripe and played a 20-yard ball to O'Hara's feet, who one-touched it back to second-half substitute Kim Yokers. Yokers one-touched the ball into open space where O'Hara ran onto it and buried it on the first touch past Loyden.

"(Yokers) played it through the two defenders and I ran onto it," said O'Hara. "I took a deep breath and had a lot of time to compose myself, and I picked out the corner."

O'Hara's goal all-but ensured victory for the Pride at the time.

"As a forward, you always want to score goals," she said. "It feels great. And I'm just excited we're undefeated at home still. It's a good night."

Gold Pride's win -- which gave them 12 points on the season -- matches their win total from 2009 (4) and, put the Pride in a three-point lead atop the WPS standings, ahead of Sky Blue FC, a team the Pride has beaten twice this season.

"We don't really worry about the other teams and what they're doing until we play them," said Milbrett. "But it feels good. We have as many wins as we did last season and the tides are turning. We're a team coming together."

Next up for the Pride is a Friday, May 14, road game against the Breakers in Boston. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET, with the Pride going for a fifth win in a row.

"Boston's defensive line is one of the best defensive lines in this league," said Montoya. "We're going to have to break them down with our possession and then find our openings and take advantage of them.

"They're going to be difficult to break down," Montoya added. "We'll have to find a way."

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