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July 23, 2010 > Gold Pride take on Freedom

Gold Pride take on Freedom

By Giovanni Albanese Jr.
Photos By William Mancebo

FC Gold Pride heads to Maryland SoccerPlex on Saturday, July 24, with hopes to extend the recent woes of the Washington Freedom.

It will be the Pride's third game in seven days, which began with a 2-0 win over the second-place Philadelphia Independence. (Gold Pride also had a three-game win streak heading into its Wednesday, July 21, match at the Boston Breakers - results were unavailable at press.)

Meanwhile, the Freedom is in a downward spiral. Washington raised its level of play in May, going 3-0-1 in the month and jumping into second place in WPS in the process. But since its last win (2-1 vs. Philadelphia on May 30), the Freedom went from safe bet for the playoffs to fighting for their playoff lives.

Entering the week, Washington (4-5-5, 17 points) was tied with the Chicago Red Stars for the final WPS playoff spot with identical records. Both Washington and Chicago are one point behind the equally-as-struggling defending champs Sky Blue FC (5-6-3, 18 points), and just a point ahead of Boston (4-5-4, 16 points).

While Sky Blue FC and Washington are having considerable troubles, Chicago and Boston are on the up and up, threatening to leapfrog them in the standings; meanwhile, Gold Pride (10-3-1, 31 points) has had no struggles thus far, jumping out to a 10-point lead over second in the WPS standings.

Gold Pride and Washington have met twice this season, with the Pride hosting both contests. On June 5, the two played to a 1-1 draw at Castro Valley High School Athletic Stadium; and on July 11, the Pride topped the Freedom, 3-2, at Pioneer Stadium in Hayward.

Both clubs were without some of their stars for the July 11 match: Abby Wambach, Sarah Huffman and Allie Long for the Freedom; Rachel Buehler, Nicole Barnhart, Kelley O'Hara and Shannon Boxx for the Pride. All of them missed the game playing for the United States women's national team; only O'Hara (infection) won't be playing in the game this weekend.

Kickoff in Maryland is set for 4 p.m. PT.

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