- The Washington Times - Monday, June 23, 2003

San Jose’s Pretinha has scored goals in RFK Stadium before, but never was she as explosive as she was yesterday.

The former Washington Freedom player returned to her old stomping grounds and had her first career multiple-goal game as Washington and San Jose tied 2-2 yesterday in front of 7,057 at RFK.

The Brazilian, who was traded to San Jose on Nov. 13, 2001, scored the game’s first and last goals and left a strong impression on her former employers.

“She been playing great for them,” Freedom coach Jim Gabarra said. “She pounced on the two opportunities she had.”

Pretinha helped the CyberRays (4-6-1), the lowest-scoring team in the Women’s United Soccer Association, end a stretch that included three goals in five games.

“I thought she was outstanding today,” CyberRays coach Ian Sawyers said. “Technically, she was by far the best player on the field.”

Washington (5-3-2), which lost three of four entering yesterday’s game, is now tied with Boston for second place in the WUSA.

The Freedom hadn’t played since June 11, but their time off hardly could be considered a vacation. Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach and Siri Mullinix were in Utah with the U.S. national team. Washington played an exhibition in Cincinnati on Tuesday and then had five players participate in Thursday’s All-Star Game.

To top it off, the Freedom’s practice got rained out Friday.

“We’ve got a team that had been fragmented and apart for over a week doing camps and all-star games,” Gabarra said. “I couldn’t keep players out of those events, because it helps them out in the long run. We couldn’t work on anything over the last week and a half. It’s been a very difficult and erratic time for the players.”

Washington is also adjusting to a new starting lineup. German defender Sandra Minnert was thrust into the permanent role just three games after completing her season with FFC Frankfurt in Germany.

“It takes some time to add a new player, especially in the back,” Gabarra said.

Pretinha, who had five goals for Washington in 2001, certainly found no problem operating against the revamped Freedom defense. She opened the scoring in the 32nd minute when she picked off a lazy pass by Wambach, broke away from three defenders and shot just inside the left post.

“Do I get a point for that?” Wambach said jokingly. “Unfortunate things happen.”

Washington responded three minutes later when Hamm gathered a rebound of her own shot off CyberRays goalie LaKeysia Beene and nailed a left-footer into the open net.

Hamm added an assist just before halftime when she crossed to teammate Jacqui Little, who stopped the ball dead for Wambach, who slid between two defenders and sent a left-footed shot into the left side netting. The goal gave Washington a 2-1 lead in the 44th minute.

Washington’s lead didn’t last long, though. Pretinha connected with a header for a goal at the 48th minute and ended the scoring.

Amanda Cromwell began the sequence with a long pass toward Brandi Chastain, who flicked a header in Pretinha’s direction. Pretinha then headed the ball past goalie Mullinix and tied a team record for goals in a game.

“Two mistakes, two goals,” Washington defender Jennifer Grubb said. “To give up a goal when you have a lead is never good.”

The Freedom made one last surge to take the lead when Kelly Golebiowski, Little and Steffi Jones each missed successive shots from close range in the 62nd minute.

Hamm’s three points moved her into a tie for the league lead in points with 20, and she is tied for third in goals with seven. She also leads the team in assists with six, one ahead of Little, who had two yesterday.