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July 16, 2010 > Gold Pride - Philly preview

Gold Pride - Philly preview

By Giovanni Albanese Jr.
Photos By William Mancebo

FC Gold Pride will go for a stranglehold of the Women's Professional Soccer standings on Saturday, July 17, at their home field of Pioneer Stadium on the campus of Cal State University-East Bay in Hayward. Squaring off with the first-place Pride (9-3-1, 28 points) are the second-place Philadelphia Independence (6-4-3, 21 points).

In the clubs' first meeting, the Gold Pride gave Philadelphia its first home loss of the season, trouncing them to a tune of 3-1 on June 13 in which all stars Christine Sinclair (1) and Marta (2) tallied all the goals.

But Philadelphia's Amy Rodriguez, who didn't factor in the loss to the Gold Pride, has been arguably the hottest player in WPS since then, receiving player of the month honors in June, recording five goals and two assists in five games.

Unfortunately for the Independence, they'll be shorthanded this weekend -- maybe more so than the Gold Pride. While the Pride will be without regular starters Kelley O'Hara, Shannon Boxx, Nicole Barnhart and captain Rachel Buehler, Philadelphia will be without Lori Lindsey, Sara Larsson, Heather Mitts, Caroline Seger and Rodriguez.

Philadelphia's missing players will take away much of their offensive production. They will, however, be fortunate to have regular starting keeper Karina LeBlanc in uniform (if LeBlanc doesn't play, they have an equally good back up in Val Henderson to fill in). Meanwhile, the Pride will still be with the likes of Sinclair, Marta, Camille Abily, Solveig Gulbrandsen (playing in her final game with the Pride) and Ali Riley.

Having all this talent is something coach Albertin Montoya put together in preparation for these times when players would be called up for national team duties (all the players missing the game on Saturday will be out playing with their national team).

"Throughout the season I've changed the lineups several times," said Montoya. "The reason I've done that is so players can come in, step up and make a difference."

Gulbrandsen made the difference last week, scoring the game-winning goal for the Pride in its 3-2 home win over the Washington Freedom last Sunday (July 11). On Saturday, it will be seen who -- if any -- makes a difference in a win over Philadelphia. Kickoff at Pioneer Stadium is at 7 p.m.




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