ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – North Carolina Courage, Orlando Pride’s longstanding rival, wasted no time showing their dominance in their NWSL Challenge Cup match against the Pride Saturday.
The relatively “new” Pride–with its new head coach and roster of fresh faces–have struggled for the duration of this tournament, with all losses save for a scoreless draw against the Washington Spirit in their very first match on March 19.
The Courage hit the Pride with their greatest weapon: speed. The Courage scored their first goal in the third minute, courtesy of Megan Oyster’s bounce off Orlando goalie Anna Moorehouse, setting the stage for a, well, challenging game.
In the sixth minute they scored again and buried the Pride with a third goal in the ninth minute.
Orlando Pride finally got on the board in the 16th minute thanks to Darian Jenkins’ straight shot through an opening up the middle, making the score 3-1.
The Courage missed one in the 22 minute. Former Pride player Carson Pickett, now playing for North Carolina, fired a left-footed shot from the right side of the six-yard box, which Orlando goalie saved in the bottom right corner.
The battle for the ball continued until halftime, but despite NC’s dominance, Orlando was able to hold them to three points. The score was still 3-1 at halftime.
The second half saw Darian Jenkins score again in the 57th minute with a headed assist from Kerry Abello (a first career point for Abello), shrinking the gap to 3-2.
Orlando’s Carrie Lawrence got hit with a yellow card in the 73rd minute, suspending her from the next game against NJ/NY Gotham FC. Montefusco received one in the 77th minute and Jenkins also got one in the 79th minute, all for bad fouls.
While the Pride were able to still hold the Courage to three goals, Debinha put the nail in Orlando’s coffin with an 89th minute goal, doubling the Courage lead to 4-2.
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org