Rosana provided a halftime spark for the defending champions (Photo by Howard Smith - ISI Photos).
Host Side Holds Off Defending WPS Champions, 3-1
Castro Valley, Calif. (Saturday, April 18, 2010) – FC Gold Pride (1-1-0, 3 points) was able to find its offensive groove tonight in getting a 3-1 result over Sky Blue FC (1-1-0, 3 points) at the Bay Area’s Castro Valley Athletic Stadium. Forward Christine Sinclair scored a pair of goals in this match (11’, 75’) with a late insurance notch from Marta (82’) to lead the host attack, while the lone tally of the night for Sky Blue FC came off the foot of Finnish National Team forward Laura Kalmari in the 49th minute.
Fresh off a season opening shutout, Sky Blue FC made the long trip to California for this match-up and looked to jump out to an early advantage over its West Coast foes. However, it was FC Gold Pride who was able to find the first opening of the evening. After Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Karen Bardsley made an athletic save of a shot by FC Gold Pride midfielder Camille Abiliy in the 11th minute, Sinclair was there to score the rebound and make it 1-0 in favor of the host side.
Sky Blue FC then looked to regain its composure in the ensuing minutes, and the team was able to string together three solid possessions in the middle of the first half on the offensive end. In the 28th minute, Kalmari struck a well hit ball towards the FC Gold Pride net, and the next two Sky Blue FC possessions ended with shot attempts by midfielder Heather O’Reilly and forward Tasha Kai. After host goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart and the FC Gold Pride back line was able to hold off that attack, it held on for the remainder of the opening half to take a 1-0 advantage into halftime.
Following intermission, Sky Blue FC head coach Pauliina Miettinen made two changes to her lineup. Jessica Landstrom was brought on for midfielder Yael Averbuch, while Brazilian forward Rosana came on for Tasha Kai. The team immediately brought a newfound intensity to the pitch, and its energetic start yielded immediate results. In the 49th minute, Rosana crossed a ball to the center of the field, where Landstrom put a touch on the feed. With the ball trickling towards the end line, Kalmari stepped onto the scene to strike the ball off the far post and into the net for the equalizer.
Sky Blue FC looked to keep feeding off the momentum that came as a direct result of that notch, and it quickly created more opportunities. Battling for the go-ahead tally, O’Reilly nearly put a ball away in the 63rd minute, but Barnhart was there to respond for FC Gold Pride.
With 15 minutes remaining in this match, Sinclair was again able to find an opening for the host side. Following a pass from MAC Hermann Trophy winner Kelley O’Hara, Sinclair struck the ball into the back of the net to regain the lead for her team. FC Gold Pride was then able to rejuvenate its attack following that score, with Brazilian striker Marta giving her team some breathing room in the 83rd minute on her first goal of the year.
The visiting squad continued to battle the rest of the way, but it would be FC Gold Pride who would emerge victorious this evening, 3-1. Tonight’s game marked the first of two consecutive road match-ups for Sky Blue FC, with the team traveling to Chicago next weekend for a road meeting with the Red Stars.
May 1st marks the return of Sky Blue FC to Yurcak Field when it will host FC Gold Pride. On an extremely limited basis, fans can purchase an exclusive ticket package to have their photo taken with Marta and Sky Blue FC forward Rosana. To purchase today, call 1-888-SBFC-TIX or visit the team’s official website at www.skybluefc.com.