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FC Gold Pride Extends Unbeated Streak to Six After Tying Atlanta

August 1, 2010 - Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) - FC Gold Pride News Release

FC Gold Pride (12-3-2) came away from KSU Stadium with one point after playing the Atlanta Beat to a 0-0 tie on a sweltering Sunday evening in Kennesaw, GA. The Pride saw their WPS record tying five-game win streak come to an end, but still remain unbeaten in their last six games.

"I think we played very well under tough conditions in this heat against a team that's been on a roll," said FC Gold Pride Head Coach, Albertin Montoya, after the game. "Two weeks ago, when we started our three-game road trip we felt that earning seven points on the road would be an excellent result, nine points would be the cherry on top; we earned the seven that we set as our goal."

Montoya shook up the lineup a bit, shifting a player to the midfield and playing a 3-5-2 formation to start the game. The Beat, a bit more acclimated to the summer heat of the South held the Pride scoreless in the first 45. The Pride were not without numerous opportunities to score in the first half including a perfectly placed header to the far post by Kelley O'Hara that was just saved off the line with a diving effort by Hope Solo.

"We played in the 3-5-2 formation the last time we faced the Beat and we were very successful with it," said Montoya. "In this heat and weather we needed to keep the ball and wear them out and we did that well. More ball movement and possession was really facilitated by the five in the middle. We went into the 4-4-2 toward the end of the game to reinforce our defense a bit."

The Pride turned it on in the second half pressing the Beat defense. O'Hara and Christine Sinclairfueled the team's offense, firing off multiple promising shots which forced Solo to make multiple diving saves. Tiffeny Milbrettand Sinclair both managed to bypass the Beat's crafty goalkeeper, but each of their shots were just off the mark and were denied by the goalpost. In all, the Pride managed to find the goalpost three times in the 90+ minute match.

"We are a little bit frustrated by the number of quality chances we had that we didn't finish," added Montoya. "I think we played better at times this time around than when we beat them 4-0. This time the post and Hope Solo kept them in it."

Defender Ali Rileycame out of the match in the 75 th minute with a left hip (hip pointer) injury, after she collided with Monica Ocampo near midfield. Riley will travel home with the team on Sunday and will have her injury re-evaluated by the physician upon her return.

Shortly following the departure of Riley, the Pride shifted back to its familiar 4-4-2 formation solidifying the team's defense by adding Kristen Graczyk and Kandace Wilson to the back line. The defense would hold strong against the aggressive attack of the Beat, as the match ended after a physical 90+ minutes that included 18 fouls and three cautions.

"I know everyone likes to talk about attack, but I want to recognize our defense... we have the best in the league. We are on top, not only because we can score, but because we keep the ball out of the net. I'm very proud of our defense, and want to recognize the outstanding job they did for us today" added Montoya. "We earned a clean sheet/shutout, which we haven't been able to keep in the last couple of games. Defensively, we really kept our composure and our shape; we made key saves when we had to."

"Candace Champmandeserves a lot of credit for holding our defense together. She is one of the most underrated players in the league and has been an MVP for us all season long. She is consistent, has speed, is very intelligent and helps conduct our defense; she and Rachel [Buehler] complement each other very well."

The Bay Area team remains in first place, now 11 points ahead of the second place Independence. The team is still seeking the franchise's first ever playoff berth which would have been secured with a win on Sunday. The Pride will now have to wait to learn their fate as a loss or tie by the Chicago Red Stars in their Sunday night match against Sky Blue FC would guarantee the Pride a place in the postseason. If the Red Stars defeat Sky Blue FC this evening, the Pride will have an opportunity to secure a playoff berth next Saturday, Aug. 7, when they host the Red Stars at 10pm ET/7pm PT.

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