The result was always inevitable. Faced with a third game in a week – two of which went to overtime – and a cross-country flight to take on arguably the world’s best team, the Philadelphia Independence put up little fight in a 4-0 defeat Sunday to FC Gold Pride in the WPS Championship.
Pressure came early and often from FC Gold Pride and the home side got on the scoreboard in just the 16th minute when Christine Sinclair tapped the ball into the net after mayhem in front of Philadelphia’s goal. Val Henderson made two successive saves on Marta from inside the six-yard box before another rebound fell to Tiffeny Milbrett. Her shot was cleared off the line by Independence defender Estelle Johnson and Camille Abily’s shot was saved again by Henderson, but the rebound fell to an unmarked Sinclair for the tap-in goal.
FC Gold Pride then doubled its lead in the 28th minute when defender Kandace Wilson found net thanks to a screw-up in the back from Philadelphia. Marta played Wilson the ball on the overlapping run and Philadelphia defender Allison Falk looked to have the run well defended, but momentarily relaxed and allowed Wilson to strike the ball past an out of position Henderson. Though clearly taxed before halftime even arrived, Philadelphia was able to keep FC Gold Pride to just two goals in the first half.
“As a coach you’ve got two choices,” Philadelphia Head Coach Paul Riley said of the busy playoff schedule. “You freshen your lineup up and go with a little bit less of the players that got you there. Or you go with the players who got you there. That’s what I decided to do and 20 minutes into the game I was second guessing myself I’ll tell you that.”
However, Sinclair, would get her second goal of the game in the 53rd minute when she finished another easy tap-in goal. Marta dribbled around the Philadelphia back line and played a square ball to Sinclair to give FC Gold Pride the 3-0 advantage. Marta would then add a goal of her own in second half stoppage time to cap the emphatic 4-0 win.
Philadelphia managed just four shots to FC Gold Pride’s 16 and FC Gold Pride goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart was forced to make just two saves on the day. The win not only gives FC Gold Pride the 2010 WPS Championship, but a WPS record 14 game unbeaten streak to end the season. The team’s last loss was a 2-0 defeat to Sky Blue FC at home June 27.