Chioma Ubogagu scored early and Rachel Hill late to help Orlando to its first away win of the season and the first win and multi-goal game against Chicago in a lightning delayed match at Toyota Park.
The Pride (2-2-2, 8 points) jumped into a tie with Portland for third, but will have to settle for fourth due to the goal differential tie breaker. It was the first shutout loss ever handed to Chicago (2-2-3, 9 points) at Toyota Park.
The biggest surprise before the game was Alex Morgan not in the starting XI. She was listed as questionable with a hyperextended knee and was dropped to a substitute role — ultimately getting the night off. Marta moved up top and Emily van Egmond got her first start of the year. Orlando Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni also swapped out Toni Pressley for Carson Pickett and Dani Weatherholt started in place of Christine Nairn.
— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) May 2, 2018
The game started out slowly. Chicago possessed the ball well but Orlando held its defensive shape and would not break. The high press from the Red Stars forced a couple of Pride turnovers but when Orlando was able to break it, the Pride went on the counter attack right away.
Orlando slowly started to get more and more into the game until the 28th minute when Chioma Ubogagu stole the ball in the offensive half. She fed Sydney Leroux, who took a touch back to her right where Chi ran onto it and broke the deadlock with her third goal of the year, putting the Pride up 1-0.
— NWSL (@NWSL) May 3, 2018
Neither team could get much of a look at goal the remainder of the half and the Pride took the 1-0 lead to the break. Chicago hadn’t even mustered a shot on goal in the match to that point.
The teams came out for the second half but were quickly sent right back into their locker rooms because of a lightning delay around the 50th minute. After the brief intermission, Chicago came out with the hot hand and put the Pride on their back foot. The story for Orlando, though, was its good defensive shape and impressive defensive performance. Chicago kept putting more and more pressure on Orlando but the Red Stars were eventually held to just a single shot on goal, and that came from just above the penalty area.
In the 70th minute, Hill came on for Leroux and changed some of the momentum. Hill worked on both ends of the field and her hustle was rewarded with a goal. Ali Kreiger made a huge stop at midfield and started the attack. A couple of passes later and van Egmond played a perfect through ball to Hill. The 23-year-old took one touch around goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and one more to put it into the back of the net. Kristen Edmonds was there to usher it in but did not touch it in case she was offside.
— NWSL (@NWSL) May 3, 2018
Sam Kerr clearly wanted to get her first goal for Chicago tonight but Monica, Shelina Zadorsky, and the rest of the Pride defense kept the reigning MVP in check. Kerr ended up with four shots but did not have an easy look all game.
As the minutes wound down, Chicago went all-out in search of a goal but the Pride held it together at the back and eventually regained the composure needed to keep possession and run time off the clock.
The Pride are off this weekend and will visit Utah next Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET.