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Orlando Pride vs. Utah Royals FC: Final Score 2-1 as Pride Come From Behind to Win

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End-to-end action was the theme of the night as the Orlando Pride (8-6-4, 28 points) defeated the Utah Royals (5-7-5, 21 points), 2-1. Both teams tried to stretch the other side’s defense, using every inch of the length of the pitch. In the end, it was a phenomenal goal from Kristen Edmonds that made the difference and moved the Pride one step closer to that crucial playoff place.

There was plenty of rotation from Tom Sermanni on the short week, making six changes to the lineup that was beaten by the Houston Dash on Wednesday night. Ali Krieger returned to the starting lineup, earning her 100th NWSL appearance. Superstar Marta was unavailable thanks to an unfortunate red card in the dying minutes of Orlando’s loss to the Dash.

The first few minutes were up-tempo as both teams felt the pressure of a match with plenty of playoff implications. Utah applied pressure early through Amy Rodriguez. Ashlyn Harris was called into dramatic action in the fifth minute, getting just enough on the ball to allow Monica to clear the ball out of touch. But the breakthrough for the home side came three minutes later as Rodriguez split the defense and got on the end of a cross from Rachel Corsie, chipping the ball just out of Harris’ reach and into the top corner.

Orlando’s defense struggled to contain the Royals all afternoon, picking up 16 fouls and four yellow cards as the Pride tried to keep the Utah attackers in front of them.

Panic struck around the half hour mark when Alex Morgan went down on a rough challenge, as a Royals defender came across and collided with the inside of Morgan’s knee, sending the forward to the turf. Morgan was able to walk off under her own power after a short session with the training staff and returned to the pitch a few minutes later.

The Pride threatened sparingly in the first half and couldn’t quite challenge Utah keeper Abby Smith, putting all but one of their first five chances off target. Orlando caught a break as Alanna Kennedy was held on a corner attempt just before the halftime whistle and Morgan made the Royals pay from the spot.

The second half opened up with as much tempo as the first as Christen Press once again opened up the Pride back line, finding Rodriguez in behind the defense. Luckily for Orlando, the Utah striker decided to shoot first time and skied the ball into the stands.

Orlando broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute. After a poor free kick from Utah, Ashlyn Harris moved quickly to get the ball up field. After some pinballing around, it fell kindly for Ali Krieger, who was able to find Edmonds in behind the Utah back line. Edmonds — noticing Abby Smith was well off her line — beat the keeper with a sublime chip for her first goal of 2018.

The Pride settled in after the go-ahead goal, probing the defense regularly but not able to create a clear enough chance on goal. The Royals pushed back, causing some havoc in the Orlando box but were unable to create enough space to find the equalizer.

Rachel Hill had a glorious chance just past the hour mark, intercepting a wayward Utah pass and finding herself all alone with Abby Smith. But the young forward took a few too many touches and Smith was able to collect the ball before Hill could get a shot off.

The match opened up after that with both teams going end to end playing long balls to their star attackers in Press and Morgan but neither was able to make enough magic happen.

Sydney Leroux made her appearance in the 63rd minute as Morgan made way and the substitute nearly had her seventh goal of the year just a minute after coming on. Hill pinged a ball off of Smith and Leroux found herself with an empty net but Smith recovered enough to push her attempt wide.

It was the Royals’ turn to be concerned a few minutes later as a struggle in the box involving Kennedy and Corsie collided with Smith, who took a nasty fall on her head, neck, and shoulder and was removed from the match with Nicole Barnhart coming on to replace her.

The final 15 minutes kept the assistant referees busy as wave after wave of attacks were called offside in frustrating fashion for Utah. The Pride dealt with some nervy moments as substitute Katrina Gorry brought some late life to the Royals’ attack. The Pride were happy to sit back and absorb pressure, waiting out all seven minutes of stoppage time. Utah was only able to put three of its shots on frame and none in the second half.

Orlando ended the match with just 45.1% of possession but dominated the quality of chances and the Pride were unlucky not to come away with another goal or two. But the Pride got the much-needed victory and moved that much closer to the playoff places. Orlando finished the season series against Utah with a 1-0-2 record and now own the head-to-head tiebreaker against the first-year franchise.


The Pride return home to take on the Seattle Reign next Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Orlando Pride

2023 Orlando Pride Season in Review: Emily Madril

The first-year defender played almost every single minute available in the 2023 season.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Mark Thor

The Orlando Pride selected former Florida State defender Emily Madril with the No. 3 overall selection in the 2023 NWSL Draft. The 5-foot-7 Navarre, FL native decided to forego her last season of eligibility in Tallahassee to begin her professional career. A two-time national champion (2018 and 2021), Madril left FSU, signing a contract with the National Women’s Soccer League through 2025 and was loaned to Swedish side BK Hacken FF.

Following a standout first NWSL season in which she played all but three minutes in the regular season, Madril was rewarded by the Pride with a new contract through 2026.

Let’s take a look at her first season with the Orlando Pride.

Statistical Breakdown

Madril started all 22 of the Pride’s regular-season games in 2023, leading all rookies in minutes played (1,977), and coming off only moments before the end of the club’s season finale against the Houston Dash when the Pride were desperately trying to score a game winner to stay in playoff contention. The defender did not record a goal or an assist on the season, attempting just one shot, which was off target. Madril completed 814 of her 953 passes (85.4%), 46 of her 103 long passes (44.7%), and one of her three crosses, while recording five key passes. There wasn’t much drop-off in her passing rate related to position on the field, as Madril completed 88.7% of her passes in the defensive half and 75.6% in the attacking half. 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%). She also won 54.5% of her 33 aerial duels. She won 23 fouls while conceding only nine and was booked twice during the regular season.

In the NWSL Challenge Cup, Madril appeared in five of the team’s six matches (all starts), and played 450 minutes. She did not score a goal or assist on one and did not attempt a shot. She completed 193 of her 224 passes (86.2%), including 13 of her 25 long passes (52%). Madril passed at an 89% rate in her own half and a 78.3% in the attacking half, recording one key pass, but not attempting a cross in the competition. She recorded 10 blocks and four interceptions on defense, winning 55.6% of her tackle attempts, 68.1% of her duels, and 71.4% of her aerial duels. She committed five fouls, drawing six on the opposition, and was not booked in the tournament.

Best Game

With a number of standout games to choose from, I’ll go with the Pride’s 1-0 win over OL Reign on July 7. Paired with Megan Montefusco as the center back tandem, Madril and her teammates limited the Reign to just five shot attempts (two on target) across the 90+ minutes of the game. Madril had 55 touches and completed 89.1% of her 46 passes. She recorded two tackles and drew two fouls on her opponents while not committing any. Madril and her teammates helped Messiah Bright’s 16th-minute strike hold up over the remainder of the match without constantly being under siege. It was a complete performance and one of the team’s best defensive efforts of the year. It was also just the Pride’s second win ever against OL Reign.

2023 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff gave Madril a composite rating of 6.5 for the 2023 season. There were several shaky moments early in the year for the first-year NWSL defender that prevented that score from rising higher (such as conceding a penalty against Angel City), but as the season progressed and she became more comfortable with Seb Hines’ system, the league, and her teammates, Madril was a solid player on the Pride’s back line. She showed her versatility in being able to play both center back positions as well as right back for a couple of matches. A 6.5 is a good rating for a first-year NWSL center back, and Madril showed that she has the potential to develop into one of the league’s best defenders.

2024 Outlook

Madril is obviously highly regarded by the organization and has a huge upside. She has expressed on multiple occasions how happy she is to be with the Pride, and I would expect her to be in Orlando until/unless the Pride get an offer they can’t refuse from a bigger club or if Madril decides to leave once she’s eligible for free agency. Madril should be a starter on the back line for the Pride in 2024 barring something unforseen.


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Orlando Pride Sign Defender Emily Madril to New Contract

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

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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.

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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.


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