Well, the good news was it was a great game regardless, despite the last-minute goal from Milbrett to steal (at least) a point away from Breakers. Milbrett, of all people. Didn't even get picked up in the draft—teams just passed right by her—and she puts it in with minutes to spare. Ridiculous.
Let's start at the back line: Our defense looked good, then bad, then good, and then bad again. The Gold Pride's first goal was a pretty one: A gorgeous cross to the middle by someone named Weimer (why Weimer is not spending time on our National Team, I don't know) to Japanese, Afroed forward Eriko Arakawa. Gorgeous, gorgeous. Left almost everyone flat footed and watching it float on by and into the net, except for Luckenbill, who made a late (but fruitless) dive. Not too much our defense could do right then.
I expected more of a presence from Scott, but maybe that's only because I don't know the English ladies that well yet. LePeilbet had a good showing, but, like Scott, it would be great to see a little more consistency. Augustyniak-Goffi and Mitts had good games. Mitts worked her flank well, but had little help in the midfield to properly distribute the ball up front.
And about our midfield. What the fuck. No, really—WHAT THE FUCK. We have superstars here: Lilly, Hucles, Smith, and a younger player named Kacey Moore. Now, it's Kacey that I'd like to focus on first. Don't know why she wasn't subbed out sooner...or at least BEFORE Hucles was. Girl was a black hole. Gets the ball, loses the ball. Passes the ball, right to opposing team member. Gets the ball, loses the ball. Slow on the pitch. Slow on decision making. Slow to the play. She had 70 or so minutes to lose those nerves, assuming that's what plagued her, but nothing. Consistently terrible.
Now, Hucles didn't have that great a game either, but she's a vet and a proven player, so let's give her a little more time. Same goes for Lilly. Although she had some ugly corner kicks, some less-shiny moments out there, she's still a workhorse at however old she is now and having just given birth to a baby girl eight months ago. You don't get down on Lilly, the same way Red Sox fans don't get down on David Ortiz. You bite a knuckle and suffer through, but you don't cut into veteran talent.
Smith was the saviour. From her first touch, she made a difference. She's creative, moves well on an off the ball, can blast a shot as well as distribute soft through passes with equal precision...she could battle Marta for MVP this year. Smith and Lilly worked well together early in the game, exploiting the Gold Pride defense on the left-hand side of the field, but again—it didn't hold for 90 minutes.
Amy Rodriguez and Christine Latham were our starting forwards. Can't wait to see Latham settle into her game, since she's far more effective as a forward than she looked on Sunday, having seen her play for both the Canadian National Team and the WUSA's San Diego Spirit. She doesn't have the finesse that Smith and Lilly have, though, so I'm only slightly concerned with how she'll work with them. Time, maybe, to learn how to read her new teammates, to figure out where she should be and where to expect the ball to go. Rodriguez (I'm going to try to resist calling her A Rod, at least early on, because, I mean, COME ON, BOSTON) had a few good moments, but she needs to learn how to finish. Put the ball in the net, Amy. That's why you're here, why you were first-round draft pick. When you have as many chances as you did last night, you've got to capitalize. Dig?
Some subs made a difference. Bishop and Weber came in for Hucles and Moore, respectively, both of which added a nice little spark to the offense. Would love to see either player start over Moore next weekend. Schmedes came in for Latham and did a fine job as well, but I'd still like to see the Canadian get another shot in the starting 11.
I don't know who to blame for the Gold Pride's second goal. I probably already sound a little too negative about a team I've loved for many years now, and I'm so happy to see them back, even with all the new faces. So, for this reason, I will blame the second goal not on our defense nor our goal keeper, but on Tiffeny Milbrett, that stupid, washed-up has-been, who always knew how to move on the field—and apparently still does.