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August 10, 2010 > FC Gold Pride draw against Chicago Red Stars

FC Gold Pride draw against Chicago Red Stars

By Sanjna Shukla
Photos By William Mancebo

On Saturday, Aug. 7, FC Gold Pride and Chicago Red Stars tied, 0-0, in Women's Professional Soccer action at Pioneer Stadium on the campus of Cal State University-East Bay in Hayward. The FC Gold Pride, clad in bright pink to support breast cancer awareness, denied the Red Stars a spot in the playoffs, but only for now.

Although the Gold Pride offense was, at best, lacking, their defense was able to deny Chicago of any chances. It was uncharacteristic of the Gold Pride to lose the ball so often and quickly, but the Red Stars were not able to capitalize on these chances. The offenses of both teams were stagnant and were not able to convert any chances in the box to goals.

However, Gold Pride did have a couple close chances in the game. Kelley O'Hara almost scored in the sixth minute, but it was saved by Red Stars keeper Jillian Loyden. Neither team was able to penetrate the other's line of defense for long stretches and the game became, more or less, a series of kickball. For a period of 15 minutes halfway through the first half, Chicago was in full-on attacking mode, and the Pride was not able to respond immediately. Somehow, the defense stood their ground, and the Red Stars were not able to take advantage of their opportunities.

In the 40th minute, it looked like the Pride had a chance as Tiffeny Milbrett steamed down the line and crossed it to O'Hara who attempted to head it to goal, but Loyden made a diving stop and pounced on it to deny the Pride of a goal.

In the closing minutes of the first half, the Red Stars caught the Pride flat-footed and had a strong counter attack. Once again, the team was not able to finish the play with a goal.

Camille Abily stepped on the field for Tiffeny Milbrett in the second half. She was not able to control the game as coach Albertin Montoya had originally hoped. The Red Stars gave the Pride a scare as Megan Rapinoe of the Stars sent a dangerous negative ball into the box. Kandace Wilson cleared it, but it proved to the Pride that they had to up their game to avoid a loss.

A yellow card was handed to Wilson in the 62nd minute for fouling Cristiane. The free kick taken by Casey Nogueira was dangerously placed in the box, crossing up Pride keeper Nicole Barnhart, who left a rebound in the goal mouth. Fortunately for the Pride, Candace Chapman cleared it to avoid going down a goal.

The pressure started building on the Pride, and they started to attack more seriously. After a shot by Shannon Boxx, O'Hara was fouled outside of the 18 box. Sinclair took the kick, but it was clear over the cross bar.

The Pride was able to get one in the back of the net when Marta bent in a free kick to Boxx who squared a header to Sinclair who buried it in the net. It was called back, however, when the head official blew Boxx for a foul In the 81st minute. Sinclair was obviously frustrated with the call, but recognized that Chicago "pressed" the team, and decided that the whole game was a "good learning experience."

Despite the lackluster performance by both teams, Sinclair recognized that the Gold Pride needs to up their game as other teams are now looking to clinch a playoff spot. She stated that the team needs to be prepared as all teams are fair competition, and the team has been on "the right side of some luck" recently.

Although the game resulted in a 0-0 draw, Chicago Red Stars coach Omid Namazi recognized that possession-wise the Stars had control in the first half, but also stated that creating goal-scoring opportunities was the team's Achilles heel.

FC Gold Pride, now at 12-3-3 with 39 points on the season, has clinched a playoff spot while remaining 11 points ahead of the competition in the WPS table. But this game was a wakeup call that they can't get too comfortable. Chicago (5-8-6, 21 points) sits tied for fourth with defending champions Sky Blue FC. (Just four teams get into the WPS postseason.)

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