Sunday night at Pioneer Stadium in Hayward, Calif., there will be a potential WPS Championship Game preview when the second-place Boston Breakers (10-7-5, 35 points) travel cross country to take on 2010 WPS regular season champs, FC Gold Pride (14-3-5, 47 points).
Boston has climbed up the WPS table over the second half of the season with a 9-2-1 stretch, taking a one-point lead over third-place Philadelphia (10-9-4, 34 points) with a game in hand. A win on Sunday over Gold Pride, who Boston is 0-3 against this season, would clinch second place and home field in the WPS Super Semifinal on Sept. 22 or 23.
Rookies Jordan Angeli, Lauren Cheney and keeper Alyssa Naeher have stepped up and made this run possible. Angeli leads all rookies in scoring with seven goals. And English national Kelly Smith has been stellar, scoring 11 goals to this point.
Breakers coach Tony DiCicco feels this game against Gold Pride is extemely important for a number of reasons.
"We want to try to win this weekend for a lot of reasons including securing second place," said DiCicco. "We also have not beaten Gold Pride in three attempts this season and we also want to keep our momentum going."
Gold Pride finished up its road schedule with a 1-1 draw at Sky Blue FC on Wednesday in the last of a three-game road trip where Becky Edwards scored in stoppage time to give the Pride its 11th straight game without a loss.
They end the regular season with two home matches -- Sunday vs. Boston; Sept. 11 vs. Philadelphia. Montoya intends to rest some players and give others a chance to play.
Expected to get minutes this weekend are Kim Yokers, Kristen Graczyk, Rosie Tantillo and Kiki Bosio. Regular starters Rachel Buehler, Candace Chapman, Shannon Boxx and maybe even Marta may get time off to rest.
Boston aims to beat the Pride for the first time. In their previous three losses, the Pride has only been able to eke out a one-goal win each time.
"We have not beaten them but we have played well against them," said DiCicco of his club's performances against the Pride this season. "They are a very good team with a lot of personalities … so the more we play them, the more we can figure out how to play them."
For the Pride, they just want to stick to their game. Heading into the final two games of the season, they want to make sure any potential WPS Championship Game opponent doesn't have the satisfaction or confidence from defeating them.
"If we can go into the championship game by putting two very good games together, I think that'll do a lot for our confidence going into the finals," said Montoya. "I want to make sure teams fear us. I don't want teams to think they have a shot at us. I don't want to give anybody an opportunity to think they can play with us."
Kickoff is 6 p.m. at Pioneer Stadium on the campus of Cal State East Bay in Hayward.
To hear what Montoya has to say of the recent road trip, looking ahead and Sunday's game with Boston, listen here.
[audio:http://www.centerlinesoccer.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/100904Montoya.mp3|titles=Albertin Montoya — September 4, 2010]