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July 20, 2010 > Gold Pride dominate Philadelphia, win third straight

Gold Pride dominate Philadelphia, win third straight

By Giovanni Albanese Jr.
Photos By William Mancebo

On Canada Night at Pioneer Stadium on the campus of Cal State University-East Bay, FC Gold Pride was led by its Canadian duo of Christine Sinclair and Candace Chapman en route to a 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Independence Saturday, July 17.

Sinclair scored two goals, one in each half, while Chapman spearheaded the strong defensive back line to preserve the clean sheet for its keeper Brittany Cameron, winning their third straight game in the process.

Philadelphia's game plan was to stop Marta. They did well at accomplishing that goal, but Independence coach Paul Riley says in that process they forgot about the Pride's other striker.

"We did a decent job stopping Marta, obviously the game plan was to stop her," said Riley. "But I think we forgot about Sinclair while trying to focus on Marta."

Cameron, a Dublin native, recorded her second win in as many starts in Women's Professional Soccer, and her first clean sheet. The win helped the Pride (10-3-1, 31 points) take a stranglehold of first-place, extending its lead over Philadelphia (6-5-3, 21 points) to 10 points with 10 games to go in the season.

"It feels amazing to get a clean sheet," said Cameron. "But most importantly, to get three points for our team and now we're 10 points ahead (of second place)."

In front of Cameron, the Pride defense did everything they could to get behind the ball and help out their keeper by blocking shots and passes to keep the total shot count by the Independence to four -- only two of which Cameron had to stop.

"That's just our team, that's how we work," said Cameron. "Everyone comes in here and they give everything they have. I think that's why we've become so successful."

And that was a Gold Pride team playing its second game without United States national team players -- and Pride regular starters -- defender Rachel Buehler, midfielder Shannon Boxx, forward Kelley O'Hara and keeper Nicole Barnhart. They adjusted well, but Philadelphia, playing without Amy Rodriguez, as well as Heather Mitts and Lori Lindsey, lacked offensive flow.

"Without A-Rod, we were not dangerous at all," said Riley. "Obviously we were going to miss her, but I didn't think we were going to miss her this badly."

Gold Pride went ahead in the 45th minute, just before halftime. Sinclair, who was in the thick of every significant chance the Pride had in the half, made a run into the box and volleyed home a Solveig Gulbrandsen cross to beat Independence keeper Val Henderson on the near side for the 1-0 lead they took into the half.

It was a lead the Pride would not relinquish. They secured the win with Sinclair's goal late in the second half.

Sinclair made her hard work pay off with her second goal in the 81st minute. Marta shrugged off an attempted tackle by Holmfridur Magnusdottir and streaked down the left flank. She cut it across to the middle and fed Camille Abily with a pass who quickly found Sinclair.

With no hesitation, Sinclair shot it to the near post past Henderson for her second goal, making it 2-0 Gold Pride, which they would hold onto for the win.

"I think we are finally starting to click," Sinclair said of the offense of the Pride, which leads WPS in goals with 24. "Earlier in the year we were playing a 4-3-3, and we were a little isolated, but now playing with two up top, we are able to combine a lot more. Marta has been tremendous for us, and Camille is finally healthy too."

Gold Pride will look to add to its first place lead this week with two road games -- Wednesday, July 21, at the Boston Breakers, and Saturday, July 24, at the Washington Freedom. Gold Pride took Sunday off and began preparation for the Breakers on their flight to Boston Monday afternoon.

Game notes: Gold Pride was celebrating Canada Night because of its two Canadian stars, as well as Philadelphia's Canadian keeper Karina LeBlanc playing in the game (LeBlanc didn't start however). After the game, fans who bought the Canada four pack got to take a photo with all three players on the field. Missing the game for Philadelphia were Amy Rodriguez, Heather Mitts and Lori Lindsey, all playing for the United States women's national team; for the Gold Pride, Rachel Buehler, Nicole Barnhart, Shannon Boxx and Kelley O'Hara were all out with the USWNT, too. Substitutions: Sarah Senty for Lyndsey Patterson (Philly, 63rd); Lianne Sanderson for Jen Buczkowski (Philly, 69th); Kiki Bosio for Solveig Gulbrandsen (FCGP, 79th); Kaley Fountain for Tiffeny Milbrett (FCGP, 85th); Karina Maruyama for Estelle Johnson (Philly, 85th); Carrie Dew for Camille Abily (FCGP, 87th). Attendance: 2,576. Referees: Allan Chapman, head official; Adam Brugman and Maurizio Laudani, sideline officials; and Jen Bennet, fourth official.

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