There was no spectacular two-goal comeback in Orlando tonight.
After a long, 57-minute weather delay, the Orlando Pride (6-7-0, 18 points) were unable to fight back from a first half goal from the Chicago Red Stars (6-4-3, 21 points) and fell, 1-0, in front of an announced crowd of 7,247 at Camping World Stadium. The loss prevented Orlando from wrestling fourth place from the Red Stars in the battle for playoff positioning.
It was a fairly even game throughout and both sides had plenty of opportunities to score, but Taylor Comeau's header was the difference for the visitors.
The Pride thought they had a game-tying goal in the 88th minute after Christina Burkenroad found the back of the net from the headed pass of Jasmyne Spencer, but the goal was called back for offside. This was probably one of the best chances on the night for Orlando, who were out-shot, 12-6.
"I was happy with the effort of the team. I thought we put in a good effort tonight and kept going to the end," Orlando Head Coach Tom Sermanni said after the game. "I thought at times our execution wasn't as good as it should have been and I thought at times the tempo could have been a little bit higher, particularly early in the game."
Orlando did have some good plays on the defensive end throughout the game, which kept the scoreline within reach. That all started in the 13th minute, when Jen Hoy got behind the defense, but Toni Pressley came and slid in for a tough challenge to knock the ball out of play for a corner, which eventually was cleared away.
13′ Fantastic tackle from Toni Pressley to save the chance!!
— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) July 16, 2016
The first chance for the Pride came in the form of Spencer in the 19th minute. After losing the ball behind her, Spencer took the ball through the defense and took a tailing shot curling towards the near post, which was saved by Red Stars keeper Michele Dalton.
The only goal came just a few minutes later, in the 23rd minute, as Chicago struck. A fantastic cross into the box by Sofia Huerta met the head of Taylor Comeau and left Kaitlyn Savage with no chance. Cami Levin, who was marking Comeau, got beat to the ball as the only goal of the match hit the back of the net.
The Pride turned things up a bit after the opener. In the 33rd minute, Jamia Fields got free on the wing after a pass from Levin sprung her, but her cross into the box with three Pride players inside missed everyone.
Five minutes later, Chicago's Vanessa DiBernardo, after dribbling from the right to left side of the pitch, tried a left-footed shot that beat Savage, but didn't beat the post, as it bounced back into play. The follow-up from the Red Stars was whistled offside. On the other end of that play, Spencer once again took it into the teeth of the Red Stars defense and was knocked down by three Chicago defenders and remained down for a moment, while the Red Stars went down to Orlando's end again and had a chance on goal which was cleared away.
Halftime came and went with no changes for either side as the dark clouds began to roll into the vicinity of Camping World Stadium.
The biggest, and really only play in the first 15 minutes of the second half was a fantastic save from Savage, who came off her line to make a save.
— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) July 17, 2016
Just seven minutes later, a scramble in the box allowed Kaylyn Kyle to get a shot, which was tipped wide for a corner. Off that corner, Kyle again came incredibly close to scoring, but Arin Gilliland was able to head it off the line and into the hands of Dalton.
64′ Kyle’s header from the corner kick is saved off the line! Wow.
— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) July 17, 2016
A while later, the rain started to come down at the campground and a huge crack of lightning sent the fans and players into cover just around the 73rd minute of the game.
An hour later, play resumed, but both teams looked a bit off, as expected after sitting in a locker room for that much time. Besides the offside chance mentioned earlier, the final 15 minutes didn't let anything in for either team and the final whistle blew, signaling the Pride's second home loss of the year.
Having finished their four game home stand, the Pride will travel across the country next weekend to face a Hope Solo-less Seattle Reign. Kickoff is set for 10 p.m. on Saturday, July 23.