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Sinclair Leads FC Gold Pride to 2-0 Victory Over Philadelphia Independence

July 18, 2010 - Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) - FC Gold Pride News Release

HAYWARD, CA - FC Gold Pride (10-3-1) defeated the second place Philadelphia Independence (6-5-3) in a 2-0 victory on Saturday, July 17 at Pioneer Stadium. Sinclair pulled through once again for the Pride with two well placed goals both from within the six yard box in tonight's win. The four US Women's National Team players: Boxx, O'Hara, Buehler, and Barnhart were still absent from today's lineup. Despite the hole in their roster, the Pride came through with the 2-0 win, showing, once again, that they are an extremely deep and talented team.

This was Solveig Gulbrandsen's last game before she leaves the Pride to return home to Norway to focus on life after WPS. At home, she will start a career working for an automotive sales agency, as well as continue to play for the Norwegian National Team and the Norwegian club Stabaek IF.

The first half was seemingly uneventful, as both teams attacked well, but were unable to finish. The Independence seemed to get off more shots than the Pride did, but Brittany Cameron made several fantastic saves, and was a real game changer for her team today.

The Pride is a deep, talented team with several standout athletes. Marta, Ali Riley, and Kandace Wilson are very likely some of the fastest players in the league, and their lightning speed was apparent on the field today.

The half looked as if it was going to finish in a 0-0 tie, when Gulbrandsen came streaking down the right side. She crossed the ball past both Philadelphia center backs just within the reach of Sinclair. Sinclair got a foot on the ball and finished it giving the Pride a 1-0 lead in the 44th minute!

At the start of the second half, both teams came out with increased vigor. Their intensity led to a choppy start, and possession went back and forth several times before either team was able to get real control over play.

Marta was taken down several times, but no foul was called. She seemed to get frustrated with the physical play, asking the referee to watch the fouls more carefully. However head coach Albertin Montoya, was pleased with the referee's decision to let the physical play go.

"I thought the ref was very good today, he let the players play," Head Coach Albertin Montoya said. "And most importantly he was consistent both ways."

Bay Area local Allison Falk, a center back for Philadelphia, had an excellent game today. She did a good job staying with Marta, and preventing her from getting a clear shot off. Falk played at Stanford with the Pride's Ali Riley, Rachel Buehler, and Kelley O'Hara.

In the 80th minute the game seemed to be slowing down. Marta found the ball, and played Abily after beating her player. Abily then slipped it across the goal to Sinclair, who was able to finish it with ease to the right of Philadelphia goalkeeper Val Henderson. Sinclair did a great job getting open in the box and capitalizing on her chances.

"In the midfield we did well, but up top we never penetrated or got beyond them," Head Coach Paul Riley said. "We did a decent job stopping Marta, obviously the game plan was to stop her, but I think we forgot about Sinclair while trying to focus on Marta."

FC Gold Pride celebrated Canada Day and its Canadian players with today's game, as three of the four Canadian players in the league were represented by these two teams. The Pride's Candace Chapman and Christine Sinclair, and Philadelphia's Karina LeBlanc are three of only four WPS players from Canada.

"Hopefully the league can expand, and branch into Canada," Sinclair said. "That would be amazing for women's soccer in Canada."

Sinclair's two goals were greatly deserved, but she still gives credit to Marta, and their ability to combine up top.

"I think we are finally starting to click," Sinclair said. "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."

Next weekend, the team will head to Harvard Stadium on Wednesday, July 21 to play the Boston Breakers at 4PM PT. This will be the third time this season that the two sides will meet. The Pride walked away with a victory the past two times with a 2-1 win on May 14, and a 1-0 win on June 19. Marta scored both goals in their first battle, and Kelley O'Hara put one away the second time they met.

The Pride hopes to continue their winning streak and make it win number four next weekend. They have a ten-point lead in the league, and hope to make their league lead even larger in their upcoming games. Follow your Bay Area FC Gold Pride as it continues its success throughout the 2010 season!

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