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September 17, 2010 > Gold Pride take three postseason awards

Gold Pride take three postseason awards

By Giovanni Albanese Jr.

In a remarkable turnaround season where FC Gold Pride of Women's Professional Soccer went from last place to regular season champions, the individual accolades came on Thursday, Sept. 16.

Gold Pride ran away with WPS, finishing with a 16-3-5 record, while holding the league's best offense, as well as the stingiest defense. Both sides of the ball were recognized.

Marta, an off-season pick up from the defunct L.A. Sol, led Gold Pride and all of WPS in scoring with 19 goals in 24 games. Being the league's leading scorer, Marta was awarded the PUMA Golden Boot. In addition, Marta tallied five assists and countless game plans which help pave the way for great seasons all around from other Pride members. Marta's contributions gave her the Michelle Akers Player of the Year (MVP) award for the second straight year.

While Gold Pride's offense remains the topic of discussion for many people - 53 goals, 17 more than the next highest scoring team Boston - the defense was no slouch, allowing a league-low 19 goals, eight fewer than the next best defensive club, Chicago.

Two members of the Pride back line were rewarded for their exemplary play. Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart was voted as the Coast Guard Goalkeeper of the Year; defender Ali Riley was given WPS rookie of the year.

Barnhart led all WPS keeper with a 0.77 goals against average, which she accumulated in 21 games. She also led WPS with eight shutouts. And in Riley's rookie season, she logged over 2,000 minutes in 23 while marking some of the league's best and tracking back arguably better than any outside back in the league. She also streaked forward, helping the offense with three assists.

Marta, Barnhart, Riley and all the Gold Pride continue to train in preparation for the WPS Championship on Sept. 26 at 11:30 a.m. They are unsure who they play, but it will be Washington, Philadelphia or Boston.

WPS postseason kicks off on Sunday, Sept. 19, at 11:30 a.m. when the Philadelphia Independence hosts Washington Freedom in the WPS First Round; that winner takes on the Boston Breakers on Thursday, Sept. 23, at 5 p.m. in the WPS Super Semifinal; and that winner will take on the Pride for the championship.

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