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June 11, 2010 > FC Gold Pride puts first place on the line again

FC Gold Pride puts first place on the line again

By Giovanni Albanese Jr.
Photos By William Mancebo

FC Gold Pride will engage in another battle for first place in the Women's Professional Soccer standings this weekend.

A week ago, the Pride hosted the Washington Freedom and came out with a 1-1 tie, preserving its two-point edge over the Freedom This weekend, the Pride will go on the road looking to fend off another streaking club, the Philadelphia Independence.

Philadelphia is coming off a 2-1 win over Sky Blue FC which had one of its highly-coveted pre season acquisitions, Amy Rodriguez, have her best game of the year.

Rodriguez had a goal and assist to help lead her team to victory, and join Washington in a second-place tie with Washington with identical 4-2-2 records, totaling 14 points.

"She is in terrific form and if two of her goals had not been disallowed (both were shown to be onside) she would be leading the league in scoring," said Independence coach Paul Riley in an e-mail. "She has doubled her 2009 tally at Boston and I think will go on and reach double figures and prove to be a very valuable addition to our expansion franchise."

She's something the Pride will most likely have to focus on.

Meanwhile, the Pride were only able to come away with a point in its final home game at Castro Valley High School Athletic Stadium, despite dominating the Freedom -- winning 14 corners, and creating 18 shots at goal.

Marta, who had three months off prior to joining the Gold Pride a couple weeks into their pre season training, seems to finally be reaching 100 per cent fitness. In the tie vs. Washington, Marta took seven of the team's 18 shots, and created several opportunities for her teammates in and around the box.

"I've been saying this all along," said Pride coach Albertin Montoya. "Marta took three months off so she wasn't fit when she first came into the league in her first games. It's just a matter of time of getting game in and playing with her teammates. I thought she was outstanding (against Washington)."

Marta, as well as the offensive juggernaut that includes Kelley O'Hara, Christine Sinclair, Camille Abily (recently back from an ankle injury) and the newly-acquired Shannon Boxx will be a tough task to deal with for Philadelphia's defense. But the Independence sport one of the top defenses in the WPS, allowing just seven goals in eight games.

Philly's defense is anchored by what Riley calls the "Twin Towers" of Allison Falk and Sara Larsson. But Falk and Larsson may not have an advantage they would on bigger players like Abby Wambach and Laura Kalmari because none of the Pride strikers revolve their game on winning balls in the air.

Kickoff at John A. Farrell Stadium in West Chester, Penn., is at 3 p.m. and can be watch on TV on Fox Soccer Channel; online at via web cast; or on your iPhone stream.

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