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Marta's goal is the difference for Sol

Team has been in a scoring slump lately and frustration is starting to mount for the Brazilian forward.

May 16, 2009|Grahame L. Jones

If the Sol is to make any sort of run at a championship in the first season of Women's Professional Soccer, perhaps the time has come to give Marta some help.

Otherwise, the most expensive and dynamic player in the league might as well head back to Sweden, where she previously played professionally.

On Friday night, the Brazilian striker showed all the signs of frustration that come with a personal and team scoring drought. She was, in short, one angry woman.

For more than an hour she threw her arms in the air, scowled at teammates, screamed at game officials and apparently was not enjoying herself in the slightest.

Then came a momentary bit of relief and -- finally -- a goal. French midfielder Camille Abily did what no other Sol player had managed to that point and gave Marta the ball in a good position.

Marta did the rest.

She sidestepped an attempted tackle and slammed the ball into the back of the net to earn the Sol a 1-0 victory over New Jersey-based Sky Blue FC at the Home Depot Center

The goal, at 79:06, ended 197-minute scoring drought for Los Angeles. It was Marta's team-high fourth goal of the season but her first in four games.

Afterward, she said all the right things -- at least most of the time.

"It's very frustrating," she said. "By the time I get the ball from my teammates, I am surrounded by defenders who are just waiting for me. Even if I get the ball cleanly, there is nowhere for me to go.

"There are players on this team who do not yet know my style because we are a young team. But we are slowly progressing."

All of which raises the question: Would another Brazilian player or two help?

"Another Brazilian? If she was a forward, Cristiane, maybe," said Sol Coach Abner Rogers. "But that's not possible just because of the way the salary cap is."

So instead, Marta has to wait and fume while her teammates catch up to her speed of thought and speed of foot. It hasn't become a major problem and possibly won't because the Sol is 4-1-2 and in first place in WPS.

But for fans who wanted to see the real Marta, the one who runs circles around the world's best players when she is wearing the yellow jersey of her Brazil national team, it is equally frustrating.

They get glimpses of greatness but little more.

"I don't know if she shows that. I haven't noticed that. She's always happy," Rogers said of Marta's frustration.

But the Brazilian's body language Friday said otherwise. Would she like a Brazilian teammate?

"That would be ideal," she said. "But at the end of the day you have to realize there are so many players on this team who can play at a high level as well.

"I'm a fast player. I'm always looking for a pass that comes to my feet or is played in front of me, and sometimes that doesn't happen.

"It's more [a matter of] a lack of time that we've spent together as a team. As games go on and we play more, we will start to get used to each other's style of play."

So it will get better?

"I think so," Marta said.


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