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Orlando Pride vs. Washington Spirit: Final Score 2-2 as Penalties Again Affect the Outcome



The Orlando Pride have never beaten the Washington Spirit and came within moments of doing just that when another penalty call gave the opposition a late goal for the second straight week. Young USWNT star Mallory Pugh, who also scored in the first half, converted from the spot in the 90th minute to spoil Marta’s brace and what would have been Orlando’s third consecutive road win at Maryland SoccerPlex.

It was the second match of the regular season series, which concludes at Orlando on Aug. 8, following a 1-1 draw back on April 22. The Pride (4-5-4, 16 points) are now just 0-2-2 in the all-time series against the Spirit (3-6-3, 12 points) and 2-3-3 on the road this season.

Tom Sermanni gave Alex Morgan her first NWSL start of the year after playing her for 25 minutes off the bench last week.

Pugh returned to the Washington Spirit starting lineup after an ankle injury had kept her out for a couple matches in a 4-3-3 deployed by Jim Gabarra.

The Pride got on the board first just 10 minutes in after Camila went down in the box after contact and referee Henrik Karlsson pointed to the spot on a decision that may have been a bit harsh on the hosts. Marta, who had sent Camila into the box with a slick pass just a moment earlier, slotted home from the spot to give Orlando the early 1-0 lead.

It was the Brazilian’s seventh goal of the season, setting a new Pride single-season record that she would later improve upon.

But Orlando’s lead lasted only 14 minutes. The Pride had been turning the ball over cheaply throughout the opening minutes of the game and it finally cost them in the 24th minute. Estafania Banini stole a lazy pass from Kristen Edmonds in the Orlando defensive third and started the counter, passing off to Francisca Ordega, who then found Pugh on the right side. Pugh used the defender as a screen and cut a shot back against the grain that was able to sneak in between the post and Aubrey Bledsoe’s outstretched arm, tying the game at 1-1.

Bledsoe came up huge moments later, when Tori Huster made a long run from the midfield and Meggie Dougherty Howard fed a perfect pass to her behind the Pride defense. Bledsoe came off her line in the 28th minute and got a hand up to knock it away and keep it at 1-1.

After a water break at the half hour mark, the Spirit found Pugh on the far side of the box all alone but she rushed her shot and hit it wide of goal.

The Pride tried to get Alex Morgan more involved toward the end of the first half and had some success, although a pair of offside calls ruined a couple promising attacks. In the 41st minute, Morgan got the ball on the left side of the box and backheeled a pass to Marta, who turned and found Camila. The younger Brazilian hit her shot with power but it sailed a bit over the bar.

The last good opportunity of the opening period for either team came at 44’ when Ordega got in behind the defense but Toni Pressley recovered to block the first shot attempt. The follow-up was from a bad angle and Ordega hit it behind the net.

The Pride spent the final moments of the half on the attack but couldn’t fashion a good scoring chance and the halftime whistle blew with the teams still knotted at 1-1. Orlando held the possession advantage (59.2%) but much of that was in its own defensive half. The 81.3%-72.3% edge in passing accuracy was misleading as well due to several defensive-half turnovers by the Pride. However, Orlando did win more duels (23-18) and tackles (7-5) in the opening 45 minutes, but was out-shot, 7-5 (3-1 on goal).

Orlando came out of the break looking better and making fewer mistakes in its own end. Morgan finally got in and slotted the ball home two minutes after the restart but the play was offside as Chioma Ubogagu came forward 2-v-2 and played the ball behind to a clearly offside Morgan.

A poor pass from Ali Krieger — making her first return to Washington since the Spirit traded her — intended for Edmonds gave Huster a chance but she shot over the bar in the 51st minute.

Morgan was nearly in alone in the 54th on a nice pass from Ubogagu but goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe was way off her line and just beat the USWNT striker to the ball to clear it. The Pride pressed their attack with Camila blasting a drive right at Labbe in the 56th minute, but the shot had so much power on it that the Spirit keeper nearly spilled it.

Moments later, Marta scored her second. Catley stole the ball after Labbe threw it out to a defender and crossed in for Ubogagu. Chi nodded it down to Camila, who chipped it to her left to Marta. The five-time World Player of the Year let it bounce, then struck a gorgeous goal off the half volley to put the Pride ahead, 2-1, at 56’. Marta’s eighth of the season extended her club record.

Orlando continued to look dangerous with Marta nearly sending Camila in alone in the 59th minute but the play was just offside. Morgan’s day ended at 63’ when she was subbed off for rookie Rachel Hill. After the match, Morgan said she definitely didn’t feel 90-minute match fit.

Marta nearly put the game away and completed her hat trick in the 65th minute with a long chip attempt that beat Labbe but was a few feet wide of the net.

As the game wore on, the hot day playing on the road seemed to take its toll on the Pride, as they started to get a bit disjointed at the back. Catley got beat by second-half substitute Cheyna Williams in the 68th but her cross took a deflection.

That warning sign temporarily got Orlando going again, with Ubogagu getting wide open looks from distance twice, but hitting it over the net in both the 70th and 76th minute, and Camila drove another one right at Labbe in the 77th. It was the last action for Camila, who was withdrawn for Jamia Fields a minute later.

Huster fired one just over the bar from outside the box in the 80th minute that didn’t miss by much but Bledsoe seemed to have it covered. Washington then started pressing numbers forward and finding some pockets of space in the defense. Caprice Dydasco put a dangerous cross through the six-yard box in the 83rd minute, and Pugh sent in Williams two minutes later but Bledsoe went down to make the save. Estefania Banini had a shot partially blocked by Krieger in the 86th that dribbled in behind her but Bledsoe beat the Spirit attacker to the ball.

Then, disaster struck in the 89th on another ball into Orlando’s penalty area. You didn’t think Orlando would get a soft penalty and not pay for it, did you?

The Pride looked to have all the attacking players well covered but Pressley stepped in behind Kristie Mewis to keep her from turning. There was some light contact as the ball came in to Mewis and the Spirit attacker felt it and went down and got the call. Pugh stepped up and hit her second of the game from the spot to tie it.

“PKs have been given out way too frequently and I’m not sure if they’re all deserving or not but it’s just unfortunate that so many games have been decided on PKs,” Morgan said in a TV interview after the match.

It was the 26th penalty awarded in the NWSL this season and it only seems like they’ve all been called against the Pride.

Orlando had planned to bring on Maddy Evans for Marta before the penalty was called but for some reason Sermanni stuck with that plan after the call, and in a tie match with five minutes of stoppage time to play, the Pride were without Morgan, Marta, and Camila on the pitch, and Jasmyne Spencer was never used. An ineffective Ubogagu also played the full 90 (actually 97).

Washington had the only real opportunities in stoppage time. Huster had a ball fall at her feet in the box in the 94th minute but shot it right at Bledsoe. It’s a good thing she did, because on the play, Mewis’ arm came up and hit Pressley in the face, but there was no whistle for the foul and the Spirit got a scoring chance with the defender lying prone in the box. Williams took a shot in the 97th minute, as the Pressley injury had stretched the five minutes of injury time out. Bledsoe made the stop and the game ended, 2-2.

It was a thoroughly unsatisfying result after the Pride had played so well through the second half and led so much of the match.

The Pride return home next Saturday, July 15, when they host FC Kansas City at 7:30 p.m.

Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride Sign Defender Emily Madril to New Contract

The center back signs a new three-year deal, keeping her in Orlando through 2026.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Mark Thor

The Orlando Pride announced today that the club has signed starting center back Emily Madril to a new three-year contract. The defender originally signed a three-year deal with the NWSL, running through the 2025 season, but this new contract will keep her in Orlando through 2026.

“I had a great rookie year here and had so much fun and love everyone in the Orlando Pride organization,” Madril said in a club press release. “The chemistry that we have in the locker room between all the girls and the entire coaching staff is just amazing and played a big factor in me wanting to stay here in Orlando. I am so excited to be a part of the Pride for the future and continue to be a part of the special thing we are building here.” 

After leaving Florida State University following her junior season, Madril signed a three-year contract with the NWSL and went on loan to Swedish Damallsvenskan side BK Hacken. The Pride drafted the defender with the third overall selection in the 2023 NWSL Draft, immediately putting her into the starting lineup.

Madril initially started alongside Caitlin Cosme at center back, before being joined by Megan Montefusco and, eventually, Rafaelle. She showed her versatility on two occasions, starting at right back.

The Boise, ID native started all 22 regular-season games for the Pride, recording a rookie-leading 1,977 minutes, and she only came off late in the season finale against the Houston Dash when the Pride needed a goal. She completed 814 of her 953 passes (85.4%), 46 of her 103 long passes (44.7%), and took one off-target shot. Defensively, she added 19 blocks and 19 interceptions, won 17 of her 28 tackles (60.7%), and was successful on 76 of her 122 duels (62.3%).

Madril also played in five of the team’s six Challenge Cup games, recording 450 minutes. She completed 193 of 224 passes in those games (86.2%) and 13 of 25 long balls (52%). She continued to be a key defensive presence in those midseason cup matches, recording 10 blocks and four interceptions, as well as winning 10 of her 18 tackles (55.6%) and 32 of her 47 duels (68.1%).

“Emily came in and made an immediate impact, just as we expected she would when we drafted her,” Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter said in the club’s release. “She was a reliable presence in our back line throughout the entire season and showed her potential to be one of the best defenders in the league. Her maturity and professionalism shined throughout the entire year, and we are very happy to be able to have her with the Pride for the years to come. She is an important part of what we are building here, and she wants to be a part of it, which we are very excited about.” 

Madril has also had a presence for the United States at the international level, receiving call-ups for the U-19, U-20, and U-23 U.S. Women’s National Teams.

What It Means for Orlando

Madril was a key piece of the Pride’s team in 2023 and the club hopes she’ll be for a long time to come. She showed early on that she can become one of the best defenders in the NWSL and her time at right back indicated she has the versatility valued by Carter and Pride Head Coach Seb Hines.

The 24-year-old was already signed to a three-year deal through the 2025 season, so this keeps her in Orlando for an additional year. Terms were not disclosed, but it’s likely she got a raise as well. If she continues to improve on how she played this season, the Pride will undoubtedly look to extend her even further into the future. For next year, she’ll likely continue starting alongside Rafaelle, making up a formidable center back pairing the club can count on.

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2023 Orlando Pride Season in Review: Anna Moorhouse

The 2023 NWSL season was Anna Moorhouse’s first as the Orlando Pride’s starting goalkeeper.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The 2023 NWSL season was Anna Moorhouse’s second with the Orlando Pride and her first as the team’s starting goalkeeper. She was originally signed prior to the 2022 season, backing up veteran Erin McLeod that year. However, the Canadian international left the team, resulting in Moorhouse taking over the starting role.

Let’s take a look at Moorhouse’s first season starting for the Pride.

Statistical Breakdown

Moorhouse started 19 of the team’s 22 regular-season games, playing 1,623 minutes. The team’s record in those games was 9-9-1, as she conceded 22 goals, saving 72 of her 94 shots faced (76.6%). She ended the year with seven clean sheets, 19 catches, six punches, and four drops. The Pride’s number one completed 387 of her 573 passes (67.5%) out of the back and 115 of her 292 long balls. The passing accuracy in her own half was 79.1% and 32.4% in the opposing half. She conceded one foul and won two, getting sent off in the third minute of the team’s 1-0 loss to OL Reign on Sept. 3.

The English shot stopper also played in four Challenge Cup games, recording 360 minutes. She conceded 10 goals in the competition with no clean sheets and saved 13 of her 23 shots faced (56.5%). Moorhouse had three catches, one punch, and no drops in the secondary competition. She successfully completed 69 of her 111 passes (62.2%) and 29 of her 68 long passes (42.6%). Similar to the regular season, her pass completion percentage was far higher in her own half (76.4%) than in the opposing half (35.9%). Additionally, she won a foul and didn’t concede any.

Best Game

Moorhouse’s most active game was the season opener against the Portland Thorns, where she faced 27 shots and made 12 saves. However she conceded four goals and one was her fault. Her best game of the year came on Oct. 2 in Los Angeles and it was a critical one. Adriana scored in the 22nd minute against Angel City FC to give the Pride a 1-0 lead and the visitors held on for dear life to claim three points that put them in the running for a playoff spot.

One of Moorhouse’s seven clean sheets, the goalkeeper made seven saves on the night, her second-most of the season. Most of Angel City’s shots were right at the goalkeeper, but she was sure-handed, something that plagued her earlier in the year. In the 57th minute, Claire Emslie beat Haley McCutcheon to the ball inside the six-yard box, but Moorhouse was decisive in coming out, forcing the forward to send her shot into the side netting. Her biggest moment of the game came in the 86th minute, when substitute Sydney Leroux got her head on the ball and put it on target. Moorhouse tipped the attempt over the crossbar, maintaining the Pride’s narrow 1-0 lead.

2023 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff gave Moorhouse a composite grade of 6 out of 10 for the 2023 NWSL season. Shot stopping was her strength, but she struggled at other aspects, especially holding onto the ball. On multiple occasions this season, her inability to hold onto a catch resulted in second chances and goals for the opposition. She struggled in the team’s penultimate game against Racing Louisville, effectively ending the Pride’s season, and her third-minute red card against OL Reign was likely a determining factor in a crucial 1-0 loss. However, she had seven clean sheets on the season and was the team’s best goalkeeper.

2024 Outlook

Moorhouse’s initial contract was a two-year deal, running through the 2023 season. While there were questions about her dependability in goal this season, Seb Hines and Haley Carter were pleased with her performances, awarding her with a new contract on Oct. 5, keeping the goalkeeper in purple through at least the 2025 season. The Pride now have four goalkeepers under contract for next year, and Moorhouse will be challenged for her role as the starter by new signing Sofia Manner.

Previous Season in Review Articles (Date Posted)

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Orlando Pride Sign Finnish Goalkeeper Sofia Manner

The Pride have added a fourth goalkeeper and the second one from abroad ahead of the 2024 NWSL season.



Image courtesy of the Orlando Pride and FC Honka

The Orlando Pride announced today the signing of goalkeeper Sofia Manner, who was acquired for an undisclosed transfer fee from FC Honka of Finland’s top flight, the Kansallinen Liiga. Manner has signed a two-year contract through the 2025 season with a club option for 2026. The signing is a bit curious as it comes less than two months after the Pride extended English goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse through the 2025 season, giving Orlando two international goalkeepers and four total netminders under contract.

“I am immensely grateful for this opportunity to join Orlando Pride, a team I have admired since my youth,” Manner said in a club press release. “It has been a lifelong dream of mine to contribute to such a renowned organization in women’s soccer. The prospect of starting this journey fills me with great enthusiasm, and I am eagerly looking forward to bringing my passion and dedication to the team. I’m ready to put in hard work and help write a new chapter for the Orlando Pride.” 

Manner, who turned 26 on Nov. 9, conceded the fewest goals in the Kansallinen Liiga this season and is a nominee for the league’s Best Player and Goalkeeper of the Year awards. She appeared in 23 matches and earned 10 clean sheets across all competitions, was twice named the league’s Goalkeeper of the Month this season, and was Player of the Month in April.

“Sofia is a tremendous addition to our goalkeeping corps and one we expect to challenge for the starting position,” Orlando Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter said. “She brings an underdog mentality and gritty work ethic and fits every aspect of the profile we have built for our goalkeepers. Her size, aerial ability, shot-stopping prowess, and distribution are world class. She brings international experience and has led the Kansallinen Liiga in nearly every goalkeeping metric. Her nominations for Goalkeeper of the Year and Best Player are indicative of her winning mentality and drive to be the best. We are excited to bring her to Orlando and to give her an opportunity to prove herself in our environment and in the NWSL.” 

The shot stopper has experience playing in the United States, having played collegiately with Stony Brook University. She compiled a 1.14 career goals-against average across three seasons, which is fourth-best in Seawolves’ history. Her 20 shutouts ranks third in program history, and she compiled a .796 save percentage, which is ninth best all time.

While at Stony Brook, Manner was named America East Freshman of the Year in 2017, was a first-team all-conference selection in 2019, and was the conference’s Goalkeeper of the Year in 2018 and 2019. She started in every match in her final two seasons at Stony Brook, backstopping the Seawolves to an America East conference championship in 2019 and a regular-season title in 2018.

What It Means for Orlando

The Pride currently have four goalkeepers under contract: 2023 starter Anna Moorhouse (through 2025), backup Carly Nelson (through 2024), third keeper Kaylie Collins (through 2024), and now Manner (through 2025). Collins is on loan with Western Sydney Wanderers FC of the A-League Women in Australia. Four goalkeepers will provide spirited competition in preseason camp, to be sure, but it’s likely that one of these players will be on the move at some point.

If Manner wins the starting goalkeeper spot from Moorhouse, it may be for reasons other than stopping shots. Moorhouse did a good enough job of that, but often struggled with balls in from the wings, which was illustrated in the Pride’s penultimate game of the year — a must-win match at Racing Louisville — when a routine-looking corner kick cross appeared to be easily catchable, but Moorhouse went for a punch instead and knocked the winning goal for Louisville into her own net. That dropped point in the standings put Orlando in jeopardy on Decision Day and indeed the Pride beat Houston but missed the postseason on goal differential. It was a crucial point dropped.

That wasn’t Moorhouse’s only major error on the season, as she set an NWSL record with the earliest sending off in league history with her third-minute red card at OL Reign on Sept. 3 — a match the Pride lost 1-0 while playing one player short for 87 minutes plus stoppage. She has also frequently spilled crosses and shots from distance.

Orlando needed to upgrade the position. Whether Manner is an upgrade remains to be seen, but as Carter said, she is expected to compete for the starting spot. If nothing else, the competition should be good for the Pride. If Manner does take the starting position, it seems logical that the club will look to move either Moorhouse or Nelson.

The goalkeeper position will provide one of the Pride’s most intriging camp battles.

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