It might seem easy to try to compare first-place FC Gold Pride to the 2009 Los Angeles Sol, but do not fall for the trap.
FC Gold Pride's dominant 2010 squad includes
Last season, L.A. ran away from the rest of the pack in Women's Professional Soccer with an 11-game unbeaten streak from May 10-July 8, only to fade at the end of the year, going 1-2-1 in the stretch run and losing the 2009 WPS championship 1-0 to Sky Blue FC, the Cinderella story out of New Jersey.
This year's FC Gold Pride team has sat atop the WPS table since Week 3, but three straight scoreless draws have some fans feeling a case of déjà vu. However, while the typically high-powered offense has been stifled, the trio of shutouts extends FC Gold Pride's unbeaten streak to eight games and the shutout streak to 318 minutes.
"We've put a lot of emphasis over the last few weeks on tightening up our defense and making sure we are solid all the way around, because I think some teams are now going to play us a little bit differently, like Washington did in a 4-5-1," FC Gold Pride coach
Despite the recent draws (against Atlanta, Chicago and Washington), FC Gold Pride is still playing very attractive soccer and was unlucky to not convert consistent second-half pressure into a goal Saturday against Washington.
Defense wins championships, and for all the attention the likes of Marta,
With the best defense and most dangerous front line in the league waiting to re-energize for a playoff run, FC Gold Pride continues to be the scariest opposition in WPS. And don't expect FC Gold Pride to experience the same late-season struggles that the Sol did last season.
"It is two different teams and if anything, we do have a few players from that team that hopefully have learned from that experience and that are going to assure they step up and they don't let it happen," Montoya said. "I think I will work closely with those players to make sure we communicate and continue to make sure that doesn't happen."
CONCACAF finally revealed details on qualifying for the 2011 Women's World Cup in an announcement that was disappointing, but far from surprising.
The qualifying tournament will take place from Oct. 28-Nov. 8 in Cancún and Playa del Carmen, Mexico, with Group A featuring Canada, Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana and Group B featuring the United States, Costa Rica, Haiti and Guatemala. The top two teams from each group advance to the semifinals, and the two finalists receive automatic berths to the 2011 Women's World Cup. The third-place finisher will face the fifth-place team from Europe in a home-and-home series.
The timing of this announcement -- less than three months before the start of this tournament -- proves that CONCACAF clearly has very little regard for the tournament. Men's qualifying dates are set much further in advance to allow for necessary preparation time (for example, details of 2014 World Cup qualifying
Even worse is the selection of venues. Estadio Beto Ávila in Cancún, the 9,000-seat home to Mexican baseball team Quintana Roo Tigres, will play host to Group A. What business does CONCACAF have placing important Women's World Cup Qualifying matches in a baseball stadium when there are hundreds of other viable soccer stadiums throughout the continent and plenty right in Mexico? It speaks volumes about how little the tournament means to the region, which is an absolute shame.
U.S. women's coach