ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The Orlando Pride have an uphill battle this season. With a 0-4-1 record on the season, they rank last in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) at number 9. In other words, the team desperately needed a win, especially now that their international players have been called up to play for their respective national teams (Ashlyn Harris, Ali Krieger and Alex Morgan for USWNT and Shelina Zadorsky for Canada). The Portland Thorns have always been a formidable thorn in the Pride’s side, and Saturday’s match at Orlando City Stadium was no exception.
Portland made the first attempt at goal with Andresshina’s missed shot in the second minute. After two failed attempts on the Pride’s part–a miss from Joanna Boyles in the fifth minute and a blocked shot from Marta in the first half of the tenth minute, Toni Pressley got the Pride on the board first in the latter half of the tenth for a 1-0 score.
Portland’s Dagny Brynjarsdottir tied the score with a goal in the 28th minute, and Andressinha scored up high off of a free kick in the 37th minute, giving Portland the lead 2-1.
Orlando didn’t have a reply for the remainder of the first half, even with three minutes of added time.
In the 55th minute, Carson ran down the left side and made a sharp cross to Chioma Ubogagu, who ended up missing it due to Portland’s press.
In the 57th minute, Portland’s Caitlin Foord widened the lead with a right cross to find the net, despite Orlando’s valiant efforts to block, making the score 3-1.
In the 59th minute, Orlando answered by making its first sub, bringing in Camila for Chioma Ubogagu. Portland made its first sub in the 60th, bringing in Midge Purce for Andressinha.
The pressure and all eyes were on Haley Kopmeyer in the 66th minute with Foord garnering a free kick. The crowd roared with delight and relief when Kopmeyer knocked not only Foord’s kick but a second attempt out of the box.
The Pride’s defense came alive in the second half, and the audience got plenty of physicality between the two teams in battling for the ball. The Pride, however, couldn’t get another shot in the net.
Inclement weather descended on Orlando in the first minute of stoppage time at the end of the game, causing a 30-minute weather delay. But even after the break and 10-minute warmup, the Pride still couldn’t score again in the remaining three minutes of stoppage time.
Head Coach Marc Skinner was still cautiously optimistic in the postgame press conference:
“In that game, I think [we] had more shots, I think [we] had more corners, which is better than our last performance. I’m proud of what [the team] did tonight. Could the quality could be better? Of course, it can always be better, the quality. But, their never say die attitude, they gave everything and I am very pleased with that and that shows the foundations of what we are trying to build for a better tomorrow.”
The Pride hit the road to face the Utah Royals on May 25 before returning home to host North Carolina Courage on June 1 at 7:30pm ET.
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | email@example.com
NWSL Challenge Cup: Despite Orlando Pride Midgame Rally, North Carolina Courage Still Dominate, 4-2
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
MATCH RECAP: Pride Maintain Unbeaten Streak on Courtney Petersen’s First Career Goal
ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Source: Orlando Pride // Second-year defender Courtney Petersen scored her first career goal on Sunday night, a 90th minute equalizer, to lead the Orlando Pride (3-0-3) to a 1-1 draw with visiting NJ/NY Gotham FC (2-1-2). With the point, the Pride’s unbeaten streak reaches six-straight to start the regular season, and eight total dating back to the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup.
Despite going down 1-0 near the end of the first half, the Pride continued pushing and eventually found the equalizer in the final minutes of the match. The home side led the night with a 16 to 12 advantage on shots, including a three opportunity stretch immediately following Gotham’s goal as the team looked to quickly equalize.
Sunday also marked the Mission Rainbow match with the Club honoring the victims and survivors of the Pulse nightclub tragedy, which happened five-years ago, the first responders from that night, and also a celebration of Pride Month and the LGBTQ+ community.
“I thought we were the better team, I thought that we created chances that were much more effective than the chances they [Gotham] created,” said Orlando Pride head coach Marc Skinner postgame. “The players now are in a space where they are believing who they are, believing what the team is doing and believing together.”
45’ Caprice Dydasco (Ifeoma Onumonu) – NJNY 1, ORL 0
The visiting side took the lead just before the first half whistle, with Caprice Dydasco directing a ball toward the far post that snuck beyond the outstretched Ashlyn Harris to find the side netting.
90’ Courtney Petersen (Marta) – ORL 1, NJNY 1
Late in the match, Marta and second-half substitute Erika Tymrak teamed up to cause a turnover in the midfield, with Marta ultimately sending the ball wide to Courtney Petersen. In similar fashion to the game’s opening goal, Petersen put the ball in and over goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan for her first professional goal and the late-game equalizer.
- Sunday’s match marked the team’s first game in 14 days and first at home since May 30, with the side defeating Kansas City 1-0.
- Courtney Petersen’s 90th minute goal marked the first of her professional career. The University of Virginia product earned her first career assist just two games ago, earning the helper on Alex Morgan’s game-winner over Kansas City.
- Petersen’s goal marked the team’s latest goal since July 14, 2019, also an equalizer and also a first professional goal, when Erin Greening knotted things up at 3-3 on the road in Portland.
- Marta picked up her second assist in as many games Sunday night, previously setting up Taylor Kornieck on June 6 at Washington, who also scored her first professional goal and the team’s equalizer on the night.
- Orlando remains atop the NWSL standings, now tied with Portland Thorns FC, who also sit at 12 points with a 4-2-0 record.
- On Sunday evening, the Pride celebrated the five-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub tragedy and honored the victims and survivors with a number of tributes and integrations throughout the match. The team also wore rainbow numbers on their Ad Astra kits in celebration of Pride Month.
PREVIEW: Orlando Pride Close Out Two-Game Home Stint Against Kansas City
ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Pride (2-0-1, 7 points) look to earn their fourth-consecutive result to start the regular season, set to host Kansas City (0-1-2, 2 points) on Sunday, May 30. Kickoff for the match, presented by OUC, is set for 6 p.m. ET at Exploria Stadium.
The match will be available to stream on Paramount+, with international viewers able to tune in on Twitch. Tickets for Sunday’s match are available at Orlando-Pride.com or by calling (855) ORL-CITY. The fixture will serve as the Pride’s Mission Planet Earth match and the first chance for fans to purchase the Mission Planet Earth patch, coinciding with the Club’s recently announced sustainability efforts.
“There’s great energy, great commitment and the group has been wonderful. We have to take that energy into the next bout of games. It’s going to be a difficult match. [Kansas City] want to be in ball possession, they want to exploit you, they want to open up the width of the field,” Head Coach Marc Skinner said. “They’ve got some very good players and some standouts in midfield, so I think they’ll be expansive and want to dominate the ball to work on their identity, but it just depends on how they come out. It will be an interesting mix, but what we have to do is try and take control as much as we can, dictate the game as much as we can to them.”
The match will mark the first between the Pride and Kansas City in NWSL play, serving as the second match for Orlando against an expansion side across all competitions this season, after opening up Challenge Cup play at Racing Louisville on May 10.
The Pride come into the contest following a 2-1 victory over Portland Thorns FC on Wednesday night at Exploria Stadium, with Alex Morgan opening the scoring in the 22nd minute, getting on the end of a ball from Taylor Kornieck. Simone Charley would answer for the visitors just before the halftime break, but Sydney Leroux countered seconds into the second half, with a strong individual effort to net the eventual game-winner in the 46th minute.
Morgan leads the NWSL with three finishes in as many matches to start the season, marking her best start to a campaign in Orlando, while Leroux follows with two. Kornieck sits tied for the league-lead in assists with Chicago Red Stars forward Mallory Pugh and Portland Thorns attacker Morgan Weaver, all with two in 2021.
Kansas City comes to Orlando looking to bounce back from a 2-0 loss at the hands of the Chicago Red Stars on Wednesday. The visitors from Chicago tallied both their finishes in the second half of play, first with Kealia Watt in the 67th minute before Makenzy Doniak doubled the advantage three minutes later.
Taylor Leach and Amy Rodriguez have both found the back of the net for Kansas City this season, with Rodriguez serving as the club’s leader across all competitions with three goals total including Challenge Cup play.
Following Sunday’s contest, the Pride will head back out on the road to face the Washington Spirit at Audi Field on Sunday, June 6 in a 2 p.m. ET. kickoff.