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. | firstname.lastname@example.org