ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The Orlando Pride returned home to face the Houston Dash at Orlando City Stadium Wednesday hungry for another win, while the Dash came to Orlando needing a victory after last Friday’s 3-1 loss to Portland Thorns FC on their own turf.
The Pride were ready to play, but the Dash brought their top defensive game. They kept the pressure on from early in the match, making the Pride earn every second they had with the ball.
In the 13th minute, Morgan had a great opportunity for a goal. She earned a free kick due to a battle for the ball with Houston’s Clare Polkinghorne, but missed the goal, hitting the left goalpost instead.
Kristen Edmonds had another close one in the 19th minute with a quick left cross and shot on goal, but Houston goalie Jane Campbell extended her left foot just in time to block the shot.
Morgan got a second chance in the 22nd minute, kicking the ball straight to the back of the net from Shelina Zadorsky’s right cross, putting Orlando on the board first with 1-0.
Despite the goal, however, Houston kept the pressure on and remained stingy. The score remained 1-0 at the half.
The first substitutions came in the second half. In the 64th minute, Orlando subbed in Sydney Leroux for Kristen Edmonds while Houston subbed in Veronica Latsko for Nichelle Prince. In the 70th minute, Orlando subbed in Rachel Hill for Marta.
The duel for the ball remained intense in the second half. It appeared Orlando increased its offensive intensity, but Houston’s speed proved a great threat. In the 75th minute, Allysha Chapman was issued a yellow card for her head to head collision with Christine Nairn.
In the 77th minute, Orlando subbed in Chioma Ubogagu for Alex Morgan.
Kealia Ohai socred the equalizer for Houston in the 80th minute, making the score 1-1.
In the 83rd minute, Houston’s Sofia Huerta scored on a free kick, giving them the lead at 2-1. It also didn’t help Orlando that Carson Pickett was issued a yellow card in the 90th minute, and the Pride earned two more penalties in stoppage time.
All in all, Orlando Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni still had an open mind about the team’s overall performance despite the loss.
“In soccer, sometimes, one-nil is never safe. We didn’t get that second goal to finish [Houston] off to then ease the pressure on us…I can’t really fault the performance except the fact that we didn’t capitalize on the chances that we created and we got punished for being a little bit sloppy a couple of times and lost a couple of goals. But overall I thought our performance in general was very, very good tonight.” – Orlando Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni
The Pride return to Orlando City Stadium Saturday at 3:30pm to face the league’s top team, North Carolina Courage.
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org