Redemption is defined by the dictionary of every man, woman, and child as "atonement for guilt."
Albertin Montoya's FC Gold Pride is a story of redemption for a club that suffered the most miserable of seasons, only to bounce back as champions the following season at the top of Women's Professional Soccer.
On a warm Sunday afternoon, before more than 5,000 fans at Pioneer Stadium on the campus of California State University, East Bay, the Lionesses roared to a 4-0 shutout victory over the Philadelphia Independence to complete this rags-to-riches tale that will be remembered for many years to come.
More so, it was redemption for Marta, Shannon Boxx, and Camille Abily, players who were on the defunct Los Angeles Sol that lost last year's championship, 1-0, at the hands of Sky Blue FC.
This time, against a brave Philadelphia Independence side led by coach Paul Riley, there would be no denying of the spoils in Hayward.
Controlled passing, clockwork defending, key saves from goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, and a barrage of shots saw goals come for FC Gold Pride in the 17th, 29th, 53rd, and 91st minutes.
Marta Vieira da Silva played out of her mind, en route to a goal and two assists, while her right-hand assassin, Christine Sinclair, capped off the season with a brace.
In all self-evident truth, Philadelphia did not come ready to compete with this hungry group of Lionesses from the East Bay. Every shot they dished out was either snatched up by a certain Nicole Barnhart—Goalkeeper of the Year Nicole Barnhart, that is—or was squandered by the dispossessing ability of players like Candace Chapman and team captain Rachel Buehler.
It was, for what it was worth, one hot mess for the Indies. It really was. Before the championship game, their last meeting saw the Pride smoke Philly to the tune of 4-1, so a number of fans thought that there would be an improved look to the club.
Unfortunately, the burden of three matches in eight days proved too much to handle for the Independence and Icelandic swingwoman Holmfridur Magnusdottir, who was kept in check by the most tenacious defense in the league.
With the victory, the Pride also accomplish something the Sol didn't—secure the WPS double of the regular season plate and championship cup. And of course, the Gold Pride get a gold star to put on their black jerseys.
This was the Marta and Christine show, and they put on a dazzling display of football, justifying their position on the table. I pointed out why this team deserves to hoist the trophy this season a few weeks ago.
They backed it up with flying colors. There can only be one team that knows how to climb from the bottom of the mountain to the the very top.
That is Bay Area Football Club Gold Pride: The Lionesses of the East Bay.