May 6, 2009
SANTA CLARA, CA (May 3, 2009)- The skies cleared and the sun shined for the second meeting of the season between FC Gold Pride and Sky Blue FC on Sunday. The Pride emerged victorious, earning a 1-0 victory over Sky Blue FC in a physical match that took place in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 2,533.
Both teams mounted dangerous attacks throughout the first half and as a result, both keepers were tested and came up with extraordinary saves. FC Gold Pride keeper Nicole Barnhart earned her first shutout of the season, withstanding numerous seemingly unstoppable shots by Sky Blue FC's offense.
"I think once again it was definitely an entertaining game," said FC Gold Pride Head Coach Albertin Montoya. "We played some good soccer out there unfortunately we didn't get some goals there in the first half. One thing we focused on this week was getting a clean sheet for the first time and fortunately it paid off for us."
"I think I have to go out there and try to do everything I can to make sure my team is in it, and it doesn't really matter what the other goalkeeper is doing," said Barnhart. "If I can do that that, it's what counts and our defense played well too so we came out on top."
The Pride was given a chance to get on the board in the 38th minute after forward Tiffany Weimer suffered a foul in the box. Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Jenni Branam came up with a big save, pushing the shot wide, and keeping the teams even at 0-0.
"It comes from years of experience," said Branam. "It was all or nothing so I held as long as I could and I tried to fake one way and I went the other way."
The match was filled with plenty of physical play. Sky Blue FC midfielder Kelly Parker may have gotten a little too physical pressuring Formiga and was issued a yellow card in the 44th minute. The teams exchanged near misses at the end of the first half. First, Heather O'Reilly hit the post on a sliding, all-out effort to find the back of the net. Weimer followed up that attack by bouncing a well-struck free kick off the cross bar to end the half.
Both teams shook up their lineup in the second half, using up all three of their substitutions. FC Gold Pride substituted the entire starting front line seeing Eriko Arakawa, Leigh Ann Robinson and Adriane take over the front line on the attack.The fresh legs up top seemed to be the right move for the Pride as Adriane connected with Leigh Ann Robinson for the game winning goal in the 86th minute. For Robinson, who can usually be seen on the Pride's back line, this marks the first goal of her professional career.
"I was just staying out wide; that is what we kept talking about," said Robinson. "So, I was there and Adriane just got her head up, we made eye contact and she gave me a perfect ball so, I just went towards the goal."
With Robinson's goal, the Pride has now had goals scored by six different players, a stat that only the Pride and the Washington Freedom can claim.
With Sunday's victory, the Pride takes over sole possession of fourth place in the WPS standings with a 2-2-1 record. For Sky Blue FC, the loss leaves the team still searching of their first WPS victory. They now share the sixth place slot with the Saint Louis Athletica, both teams have a 0-2-2 record.
Today's match was the second of five consecutive road games for Sky Blue FC. The team will return home to regroup before heading to Chicago to take on the third place Red Stars. The Pride will take this week to prepare for its first trip to the Midwest to take on the Saint Louis Athletica on Saturday, May 9.
Sky Blue FC Head Coach - Ian Sawyers Overall thoughts on the game... "Obviously disappointed with the result, to come this far and to not get anything out of this game is pretty disappointing. They had some excellent chances in the first half and again the in the second half and we thought we had a couple golden chances that we didn't take care of. Overall all just pretty disappointed with the quality."
Thoughts on being back in the Bay Area... "It was great, I got to hang out with some people that I love dearly, very special people. So we're kind of half happy, but that's okay."
On having a professional soccer league for women... "It's a great opportunity and it's great to have it back again. I think the overall quality and depth is probably deeper this time around and the quality of player is deeper. We want to be good stewards of the game and make sure your daughters and grand-daughters have a league to look up to."
Goalkeeper Jenni Branam On saving the penalty kick... "It comes from years of experience. It was all or nothing so I held as long as I could and I tried to fake one way and I went the other way.
On the goal that beat her... "It was a bummer. It went past me near post, on the ground almost."
FC Gold Pride Head Coach Albertin Montoya Overall impression of the game... "I think once again it was definitely an entertaining game. We're playing some good soccer out there but unfortunately we didn't get some goals there in the first half. One thing we focused on this week was getting a clean sheet for the first time and fortunately it paid off for us."
On calling the right shots with the substitutions... "When it works out like that, it's great. We saw that we could use Leigh Ann's (Robinson) speed. It worked out that Adriane came in and she found the ball, turned and played the ball into Leigh Ann (Robinson) when she was making the run down the side. It's nice to see when it works out that way. It was a total team effort and we've seen that every day in practice."
Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart On seeing the opposing goalie making huge saves and what it means for her level of play... "I think I have to go out there and try to do everything I can to make sure my team is in it and it doesn't really matter what the other goalkeeper is doing. If I can do that that, it's what counts and our defense played well too so we came out on top."
Midfielder Leigh Ann Robinson On her goalie and what it means to have her playing so well... "When Barnie (Nicole Barnhart) plays like that it pumps me up and definitely gets our energy going with amazing save after amazing save that I don't think other goalies could have made so it sparks our team.