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FC Gold Pride Capture WPS Regular Season Championship

August 22, 2010 - Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) - FC Gold Pride News Release

FC Gold Pride clinched the WPS Regular Season Championship on Sunday with an exciting 3-2 victory over the Chicago Red Stars. The team has now matched the WPS record nine-game unbeaten streak, set during the 2009 season by the Los Angeles Sol, and ended its 278-plus minute scoring drought on Sunday.

"This is very exciting," said FC Gold Pride Head Coach, Albertin Montoya, on clinching the WPS Regular Season Championship. "We went from finishing at the bottom last season to being on top, so we are ecstatic. Coming back strong in our second season and finishing in first means a lot to the entire organization. I want the team to really enjoy this moment because they earned it, but we also need to keep in the back of our minds what happened to last year's Regular Season Championship Team [Los Angeles Sol] in the finals."

"I'm very, very happy," said the league's leading goal scorer Marta. "Winning the regular season title is great, but winning the WPS Championship is very important. We achieved a lot, but there is more work to be done to prepare for the Championship."

The Pride opened the scoring in the eighth minute, taking the early advantage in the game on a goal by the league's leading goal scorer, Marta. The opportunity began with a long ball served by Pride captain, Rachel Buehler to outside back, Ali Riley who was streaking up the left flank; Riley brought the ball down to her feet and played a perfect cross to Marta who placed the ball in the back of the net. The WPS league-leading 14thgoal of the season for Marta also ended the Bay Area team's three-game scoring drought which totaled 278-plus minutes without a goal.

The Pride's early lead was short lived as Ella Masar, assisted by Cristiane, would score the equalizer for the Red Stars in the 17th minute of play. The Bay Area team would take back the lead in the 34th minute on a goal from Rachel Buehler, her first of the year. Milbrett earned the assist on the goal, taking the corner for the Pride and serving a well placed ball to the far post where Buehler fought her way into position to head the ball into the goal.

The intensity in the match continued to mount throughout the second half. The Red Stars' lone forward Masar struck again in the 61st minute, assisted by Marian Dalmy, to tie up the game at two apiece. The Red Stars would give up a penalty kick in the 79th minute, on a hand ball foul called on Natalie Spilger. Marta stepped up to take the kick, and would score her second goal of the game with a well placed shot bypassing Chicago Goalkeeper Jillian Loyden; the goal would also prove to be the game winner as the Pride held off the Red Stars' last ditch efforts to get back in the game, earning the victory and the regular season title with a 3-2 win.

"It was great to be able to contribute and help our team earn the win today," said Marta. "We have not scored in while, so scoring two goals was very nice, we really needed this win."

Next Saturday, the Pride will pay its third and final visit to the KSU Stadium in Kennesaw, GA to take on the Atlanta Beat. Fans still have two opportunities to see the Pride play at home during the regular season as they host the Boston Breakers on Sept. 5, and Philadelphia Independence on Sept. 11.

"I think we have an excellent schedule to close out the regular season," said Montoya. "We're going into the postseason playing against a few of the best teams in the league in Boston and Philadelphia. I think we'll be more relaxed now that the pressure is off and we can play the way we really know how to. "

With a record of 13-3-4 the Pride captured the 2010 WPS Regular Season Championship and will now turn its focus to the WPS Final, on September 26. In clinching the regular season title, the Pride have also earned home field advantage in the WPS Final and will host the winner of the WPS Super Semi-Final at Pioneer Stadium on the campus of California State University East Bay. Tickets for the WPS Final are now on sale and can be purchased by calling 888-541-3511.

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