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March 31, 2010 > Pride demolish USF in final preseason tilt

Pride demolish USF in final preseason tilt

By Giovanni Albanese Jr.
Photos By William Mancebo

If Thursday night (March 25) was any indication of how FC Gold Pride are going to perform throughout the regular season, the other seven teams in Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) have a lot to worry about.

Without six regulars (all on National Team duties), the Pride were still able to manhandle the University of San Francisco Lady Dons soccer team, 10-0, in its final scheduled preseason match at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco.

"We've had a great three weeks of preseason; the team has come together really well," said FC Gold Pride coach Albertin Montoya. "We've got a lot of weapons up top and it's exciting."

Gold Pride's top goal scorer from last year Christine Sinclair got a pair of goals early -- one in the 11th; another in the 19th minute -- to get the offense going.

"It's always good to score some goals," said Sinclair. "I think that's a problem we had last year, so to get the goals flowing early on in preseason helps the confidence."

Gold Pride's second leading scorer from 2009 Tiffeny Millbrett also put in a couple first-half goals -- in the 24th minute off a pass from Sinclair; and in the 30th minute on a penalty kick after drawing a foul in the 18-yard box.

But aside from the four goals from the team leaders of last season, the depth of the team showed, scoring six goals, one in the first half (Kim Yokers in the 21st minute); and all five second-half goals.

In a World Cup qualifying year, which will have the Pride playing many regular season games without its full compliment of players, the depth of the team is going to be one of the more important facets going forward.

"It's going to be very important ... there are a few FIFA dates (which have game conflicts)," said Sinclair. "We're going to be missing players throughout the season, and I think it's important for us to have the depth to know that when we are missing five, six players, we can still beat anyone."

A reason for the team's deep roster is the addition of FIFA Player of the Year (2006, '07, '08, '09) from Brazil, Marta, who was acquired in the Los Angeles Sol's dispersal draft in early February.

Marta got her first playing time since joining the club on Thursday, playing 45 minutes, creating several scoring chances for her teammates, as well as herself. She wasn't one of the goal scorers on the night, but coach Montoya was impressed.

"Her pace, her quickness, it just changes the game," said Montoya, mentioning that team's have to defend her with two and three players. "But, what she does so well is she finds her teammates. She makes her teammates that much better.

"She's known to be a great goal scorer, but you can see how well she sets everyone up, too," added Montoya. "As she gets comfortable and fit, she's going to be able to add that scoring touch."

Marta had several point-blank shots in her 45 minutes but couldn't find the back of the net.

"That's what being away from the game for three months does," said Montoya. "It's just a matter of time (until she gets her finishing touch)."

Marta will put her scoring touch to the test when the Pride take on St. Louis Athletica in both teams' season opening game on Sunday, April 11, at 1 p.m. local time; Gold Pride comes to the Bay Area for its first home game on Saturday, April 17, at 7:30 p.m. at Castro Valley High School Athletic Stadium against reigning WPS champion Sky Blue FC (New York/New Jersey).

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