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June 15, 2010 > Gold Pride make statement in Philly

Gold Pride make statement in Philly

By Giovanni Albanese Jr.

FC Gold Pride made a statement on national television in the WPS Game of the Week on Fox Soccer Channel on Sunday, June 13, defeating the second-place Philadelphia Independence on the road, 3-1.

It wasn't the prettiest of matches for FC Gold Pride, but Marta took over in spurts, showing why she is the four-time FIFA Player of the Year winner, scoring twice and assisting on the other goal to lead the Pride to victory.

"I've been saying all along that it was only a matter of time before Marta would become more of a menace to defenders," said Gold Pride coach Albertin Montoya. "She had an excellent performance today and put away two; she probably could have had more. She's been playing very well and we're excited about it."

Marta got it all started when she baited a pass from Philadelphia midfielder Lori Lindsey that she picked off at midfield. After controlling the ball, she sent a clean through ball into Christine Sinclair, who put it past Independence keeper Karina LeBlanc for a 1-0 lead in the 41st minute.

After going into the half with the 1-0 lead, Marta got the eventual game winner in the 53rd minute, collecting a Shannon Boxx pass and drilling a left-footed shot through LeBlanc's legs and into the goal for a 2-0 lead.

Minutes later, the Independence nearly cut the lead in half when former Gold Pride midfielder Tina DiMartino shot one past Pride keeper Nicole Barnhart, but Tiffeny Milbrett came to the rescue, heading the ball off the goal line, preserving the two-goal lead.

But DiMartino was not to be denied, and eventually got her goal, taking a Lyndsey Patterson pass and pounding it into the ground, past Barnhart, and in the goal for a 2-1 Pride lead in the 79th minute.

But Marta, who had been causing havoc to the Independence backline throughout the second half (especially after Philadelphia lost Allison Falk to an early leg injury), put the game away in the 89th minute.

Sinclair returned the favor to Marta, collecting an assist of her own. The Canadian National team striker sent a long ball that Marta was able to run onto. After getting into the box, Marta was able to deke LeBlanc before burying a shot into the open net for a 3-1 lead.

Marta, who was named one of the 2010 WPS All-Star Game captains on Wednesday, upped her WPS-leading goal total to six.

"I thought our team was spectacular today," said Montoya. "Independence is an excellent team, and was undefeated at home so we expected a tough match. We had to persevere through some adversity this trip; we have not yet played in this type of hot, humid weather we knew it would be difficult for us late in the game. We came in, stuck to our game plan and it worked out well for us."

FC Gold Pride (6-2-1, 19 points) extended its lead to four points over the second-place Washington Freedom, and five points over the third-place clubs, Philadelphia Independence and Sky Blue FC. Next up for the league-leading Pride is a match-up of teams going in different directions with the Pride opening Pioneer Stadium at Cal State University East Bay on June 19, hosting the reeling Boston Beakers on Saturday, June 19, at 7 p.m.

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