Athletica Wins First Game in 1-0 Win Over FC Gold Pride

Athletica celebrates its first win of the inaugural 2009 WPS season.

EDWARDSVILLE, IL (May 9, 2009) – Last week Athletica scored their first goal of the year, tonight in front of 3,860 they recorded the franchise’s first ever win by defeating FC Gold Pride 1-0.

“I feel a lot more relaxed,” said Head Coach Jorge Barcellos. “It is kind of hard when you are representing a town and a city and you can’t get a win in four games. When you get the win you are relieved that you finally got what you are looking for.”

Captain Lori Chalupny provided the games only goal when she managed to bend her left-footed corner kick around Gold Pride goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart and place it just inside the far post. The goal came in the 16th minute and Athletica’s defense was able to hold the lead for another 80 plus minutes to secure the win and their second shutout of the year.

“I was looking far-post trying to challenge the keeper since it was one of the first corners of the game,” said Chalupny. “I can’t say I meant to do that but sometimes you get lucky. Those are the ones you put your head down and say we got some luck on our side.”

Athletica made their luck hold up as the second half of the game saw FC Gold Pride get some late momentum. Hope Solo was called into action and saved the win as stoppage time started.

Solo challenged a ball on the edge and knocked it forward where Christine Sinclair fired it back towards goal. Solo turned as she retreated and grabbed the shot just inside the penalty area to prevent FC Gold Pride from tying the game.

“I made a better read on that than a save,” said Solo. “I could have retreated to my line but I chose to turn and make a play on it.”

Solo had been tested earlier in the 75th minute as she punched away an Eriko Arakawa screamer. The chance was FC Gold Pride’s best of the game at that point and the first serious threat that Solo had to deal with.

Minutes later Tiffeny Milbrett nearly equalized when she let go of a well struck right-footed shot that bent from right to left. The chance sailed just a foot or two over the bar ending the best sequence of play from the Bay Area 11 in the game.

Athletica had to dig deep in the second half to survive an 8-1 shot advantage by the visitors. They also had to survive six minutes of stoppage time, which seemed like an eternity to the team’s bench.

Jorge Barcellos did get to display some new talent as forward Christie Welsh and defender Kendall Fletcher subbed into the game in the second half. Welsh and Fletcher were acquired on Friday in a trade with the Los Angeles Sol. Athletica sent draft picks in 2010 and 2011 to Los Angeles in exchange for the duo.

Afterwards it all seemed worth it as Athletica players signed autographs for hundreds of screaming fans.

“This is one I’ll never forget,” said Chalupny. “It may not be on the scope of the Olympic Finals or the World Cup Final but this is really big to finally get that win under our belt. To do it at home is perfect.

Athletica have a bye week coming up and then will hit the road for games in Chicago on May 23 and Los Angeles on May 30 before returning home on June 6.

Saint Louis Athletica (1-2-2) v. FC Gold Pride (2-3-1)
May 3, 2009 – Korte Stadium, Edwardsville, Illinois

16th Saint Louis Lori Chaupny (unassisted corner kick)

Solo; Tancredi (Cross 62), McNeill, Ellertson, Weber; Stoia, Larsson (Fletcher 57), Woznuk, Chalupny; Aluko, Hanks

BAY: Barnhart; Wilson, Buehler, Dew, Graczyk (Robinson 80); Formiga, DiMartino, Osborne (Erika 72), Weimar (Milbrett 46), Sinclair, Arakawa

56th FC Gold Pride Tiffeny Milbrett (unsportsmanline conduct)
94th Saint Louis Elise Weber (dissent for time wasting)

Total Shots: 6 12
Shots on Goal: 6 5
Saves: 5 5
Fouls: 8 3
Corners: 5 4
Offsides: 3 5

Referee: Dallas Malhiwsky
Referee's Assistants: Melanie Johnson, Mike Dutt
4th official: George Major
time of game: 1:56
attendance: 3,860
weather: Clear, 60 degrees

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