FC Gold Pride vs. Sky Blue FC: A Play-by-Play (and Other Miscellany)
T-180 minutes to kickoff: Today, FC Gold Pride takes on defending champions Sky Blue FC at Pioneer Stadium, on the campus of California State University East Bay in Hayward, California.
T-150: The Lionesses of the East Bay, led by mastermind Albertin Montoya, are the queens of the hill in Women's Professional Soccer, boasting a 7-2-1 record (22 points). They are a point to the good of the Philadelphia Independence but have a couple of games in hand, and this is one of them.
T-120: Pauliina Miettinen's Sky Blue FC are sitting in fourth with a formation record—that is, a 4-4-2 record (14 points).
T-90: In other action around the league, the Indies were busy this week. On Wednesday, they drew 2-2 with an improving Atlanta Beat side before defeating the Washington Freedom 3-2 on Saturday.
On Friday, the Chicago Red Stars gave Omid Namazi his second victory at the helm with a 2-1 win over the Boston Breakers.
FC Gold Pride's next three matches involve the Atlanta Beat at Beat/KSU Stadium on July 3, a July 11 home date with the Washington Freedom that will be televised by Fox Soccer Channel, and a July 17 collision with the Philadelphia Independence at Pioneer Stadium.
T-75: Sky Blue FC's next three games include a July 7 date at Joe Yurcak Field against the Freedom, a July 10 road trip to Bridgeview, Illinois to face the Chicago Red Stars and a July 18 home tie with the Beat.
T-50: In other World Cup results...England were hammered by Germany 4-1, Uruguay toppled Korea Republic 2-1, and Mexico were sent packing by Argentina 3-1.
T-40: And you all know that the USA have also bowed out in extra time by Ghana 2-1. Good riddance, Bob Bradley. Nice knowing you...
T-30: A half hour to go. I like this new venue that the people in Chester, Pennsylvania erected: the world-famous PPL Park. There is a good view of the bridge, and every seat has excellent sightlines. And those Sons of Bens are vocal as ever.
T-25: But seriously, that will be an exciting match: Argentina vs. Germany—always a classic.
T-20: The possession battle will be crucial for FC Gold Pride, while consistency will need to be attained for Sky Blue FC.
T-15: Marta leads all scorers (alongside Amy Rodrigues of Boston) with six goals. Christine Sinclair has also chipped in four goals for FC Gold Pride. Nicole Barnhart has been a beast in goal, possessing a 0.80 goals against average. Shannon Boxx has four assists on the year for the Lionesses of the East Bay.
T-10: Laura Kalmari leads all scorers for Sky Blue FC with four goals, while Rosana has been hot as of late, with two goals in as many games.
T-5: Felisha Mariscal is our match official today.
1' - The first half begins.
3' - Early chance for Rosana out of reach.
4' - There's Karen Bardsley with the save.
5' - Nothing too spectacular early on; we are seeing some possession battles as the teams settle in.
6' - India Trotter getting her fifteen seconds of fame.
7' - The field here is quite lush, albeit artificial. The East Bay logo looks like a souped-up version of the Dayton Flyers logo.
9' - Some percussion can be heard in the distance. Out of touch for Heather "HAO" O'Reilly.
10' - Here's Trotter again. Now it's O'Reilly wide. Ali Riley was off on the delivery. Goal kick for Nicole Barnhart.
11' - Back come the Pride. They need to do something about their possession.
12' - Here come the defending WPS Champions. Rosana was not on the same page on that pass and the Pride reset the distribution.
13' - Some chippiness from Laura Kalmari. Here comes a corner for Sky Blue FC.
14' - Barnhart with the grab.
15' - Great marking on Marta. A spiderweb of orange closes in on the Brazilian international. Here's Ali Riley, but the black shirts are there.
17' - This stadium, Pioneer Stadium, is constructed in a pocket, which means that the temperature on the pitch is quite warm during day matches.
18' - Offsides on Kelley O'Hara. And thus, Sky Blue resets.
19' - Kalmari was open on that shot and needed to add more mustard to that hot dog. Blown chance to blow open the match.
20' - Good anticipation by Karen Bardsley on that save. Another forward run by Marta is snuffed.
21' - Side netting for Kelley O'Hara.
22' - No foul on that challenge. Tasha Kai looking like a sheika on the sidelines. Maybe we should call her Tasheika Kai?
23' - Rosana in the offsides.
24' - Back comes Sky Blue FC. This field is wide enough to bring back the university's football team.
25' - Diving header for Rosana misses. Great defending by Sky Blue FC.
26' - I tell you, these ladies will need some Gatorade G3 Series when this is over and done with.
27' - Marta is marked and is forced to retreat. This is great defense.
28' - I wonder who will win the All-Star Game: Abby's XI or Marta's XI?
29' - This is Kelley O'Hara. There is no one on that pass for the Lionesses of the East Bay.
31' - Barnhart dives in for the grab and Karen Bardsley responds on the other end.
33' - Sky Blue FC is parking the bus right now. I don't know what happened with the Fox Soccer Channel feed; they are not showing the time.
34' - A challenge by Daphne Koster results in a set piece.
35' - Kiki Bosio's communication was off the mark.
36' - Shannon Boxx seems to be a little bit out of shape. You know something? The match needs to be held at night down at Pioneer Stadium.
37' - Good defense by Meghan Schnur on Marta. All right, now the Fox Soccer Channel ticker is back on.
39' - O'Reilly rehydrates, and it's back to action.
40' - Too much, not enough flash from HAO? Who knows. Here is Nicole Barnhart. We are scoreless in this match here in Hayward, California.
41' - Again, Meghan Schnur denies Marta. A little trip by the No. 10 for the Lionesses of the East Bay. (I love that nickname.)
42' - Barnhart was a little bit slow off her line, but she is there. Good effort by Christie Rampone.
43' - That air horn seems to be a distraction—I wonder how they allowed that into the stadium?
44' - Looks like we will see Tasha Kai in the second half, and a return to the ol' bread-and-butter formation. The formation changes have resulted in a scoreless draw.
45' - No stoppage time here this half. We head to the break.
46' - And the second half is underway. I have nothing but rave reviews for the defense on both sides today.
Substitution FC Gold Pride
IN 13 Kristen Graczyk
OUT 9 Kandace Wilson
47' - Goal kick for Barnhart. The Pride are firing out early.
48' - This is Daphne Koster. Now it's Laura Kalmari, setting up the next stanza for Sky Blue FC. Rosana is offsides.
49' - Back come FC Gold Pride. This is Rachel Buehler.
50' - Shannon Boxx seems to be having an off game today.
51' - Kiki Bosio couldn't keep that in bounds. Bardsley grabs the shot by O'Hara.
52' - Tasha Kai warms up. And that flip throw by Bosio goes into the hands of Bardsley for a goal kick. Bleh. So much for that.
53' - A set piece for Rosana. Sky Blue FC go on the attack.
54' - That run by Sinclair is off for O'Hara. Goal kick for Bardsley.
55' - There is a free kick for the Pride. Daphne Koster marked Shannon Boxx inside the box. Well done. Becky Edwards is shaken up.
56' - Sinclair is double-marked and Bardsley should have grabbed the ball. The Canadian international almost disposed her for the first goal of the game.
57' - We are 57 in, and it's scoreless.
58' - GOAL! Sky Blue FC 11 Rosana
Great header from the Brazilian, escaping Kristen Graczyk, who missed her marker. Excellent set piece from Heather O'Reilly.
59' - Substitution Sky Blue FC
IN 6 Natasha Kai
OUT 11 Rosana
60' - Rosana has gone on a tear today; she is on a hot streak.
61' - Montoya's crew needs to play with a sense of urgency.
62' - Substitution FC Gold Pride
IN 15 Tiffeny Milbrett
OUT 77 Shannon Boxx
Substitution FC Gold Pride
IN 20 Camille Abily
OUT 11 Kiki Bosio
63' - We are 63 minutes into the match, and it is 1-0, Sky Blue FC. This will open up the match a little bit.
64' - The timing of that cross by O'Hara was abysmal. Goal kick Bardsley.
65' - This is Meghan Schnur. She is dispossessed. Sky Blue FC will be wise not to give an inch.
66' - Unfortunate shot dings off the woodwork for Milbrett.
67' - Substitution Sky Blue FC
IN 12 Jessica Landstrom
OUT 20 India Trotter
68' - Christine Sinclair put too little mustard on that hot dog. Did like the chaleira by Marta, though.
69' - A local high school drumline is providing some rhythm.
But back to that Rosana goal. There is no excuse to miss your marker. Kristen Graczyk will need to submit her mea culpa. Bardsley pushes that over for a corner.
70' - And Sky Blue FC continues to frustrate FC Gold Pride with their defending.
71' - Offsides, and for the first time, the boo birds are calling out the referee's assistants.
72' - Bardsley collects. The Pride have not lost in nearly a month, and right now, they are 18 and stoppage away from being dealt some heavy blushes from the Ladies of the Raritan.
73' - Oh Marta. How the hell do you not finish that one. Ugly, ugly shot.
Now Christine Sinclair is doing a little bit more than necessary. What is up with this side?
74' - Traffic, traffic, traffic. Miettinen's ladies park the bus on that one. This is a field day for Sky Blue FC.
75' - Free kick for FC Gold Pride. O'Reilly is lucky to not be carded.
76' - This is what disgusts me, and I am an at-large writer here for the WPS team on Bleacher Report: the inability of a number of teams to finish. FC Gold Pride is not making the most of their stadium debut here on national television. That deserves a major-league "YO."
78' - Tiffany Milbrett butchers the shot. Yep, it seems to me that she has seen better days. I'm sorry, but she has.
79' - When you can't finish your way out a wet paper bag, you will lose 10 times out of 10 at the minimum. FC Gold Pride are realizing that right now.
80' - If I'm Pauliina Miettinen, I'm asking the ladies to cool the engines and set the tempo for the rest of the game.
81' - Substitution Sky Blue FC
IN 5 Kendall Fletcher
OUT 13 Yael Averbuch
82' - Here is a corner for FC Gold Pride. Horrid corner.
83' - This Sky Blue FC side can just play bunkerball—it really won't make much of a difference.
84' - Schnur with the throw-in. Good clearance by Koster.
86' - Here is Tasha Kai. Sky Blue FC are just playing on the defensive for the rest of the match. A sage tactic.
87' - A breakaway run by Kai...and this is trouble.
88' - GOAL! Sky Blue FC 6 Natasha Kai Assist 12 Jessica Landstrom
This is what you call a howler. Great run from Tasha Kai, and a well-placed tap. The fans are now filing for the exits in disgust. A few who made the trip across country elect to applaud.
89' - Dos a cero. This is all academic here.
90' - Two minutes of stoppage time. They should go rather quickly. Kai hurdles off camera. She is back into form, the tattooed wonder from Hawaii.
90' + 1' - Yellow Card 10 Marta
FC Gold Pride
As if things haven't been bad enough...dissent. Well-deserved card.
90' + 2' - We are done here...and a wasteful debut of their home stadium for the Lionesses of the East Bay, who slink down in defeat.
Stay tuned for this week's WPS Power Rankings on Bleacher Report and on the View.
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