It was not surprising to see Los Angles post a 2-0 win over FC Gold Pride in the Sunday, 21 June 2009, game broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel.
An FC Gold Pride win would have been shocking. But that was not meant to be.
Sol is on a roll and each win is adding to the gap between them and the other six teams. As of today, they are sitting on a 12-point lead.
FC Gold Pride defenders bit the dust every time Marta had the ball at her feet. Veteran Leslie Osborne, a defender on the United States Women's National team, was assigned to mark Marta but just could not keep up.
A normally disciplined defender, Osborne appeared to be diving during most of the 1 v. 1 duels with Marta. But credit goes to Marta for her nifty moves that leave players marking her hugging the ground.
While the first Sol goal was an opportunistic one by Camile Abily, the second goal was a beauty. A lesson on how to receive and control the ball, how to keep composure while there is a defender on your back, and how to go 1 v. 1 with the keeper to score a goal.
Working off of a long pass from Shannon Boxx, Marta did not rush her shot. She dribbled in front of a chasing FC Gold Pride defender, took an extra touch to the left that gave her space and set herself up for a left-footed shot to the far post, beyond the reach of FC Gold Pride keeper Nicole Barnhart.
Second half substitute Han Duan for LA Sol wreaked havoc on the Gold Pride backline as well. Duan, Marta, and Abily were relentless in their pursuit of additional goals. If not for Barnhart's magnificent saves, Sol would be celebrating at least a five-goal lead.
For FC Gold Pride, all hope is not lost. Christine Sinclair and Tiffeny Milbrett created some opportunities but a very well organized LA defense did not give them many openings.
Wilh playoff spots on line, games will get intense and hard fought from here on. LA appears to be in a decent position to secure a spot.
With only five points separating the 2nd place Freedom and the last place Athletica, FC Gold Pride has as much chance as any other team to make it to the playoffs.