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Orlando Pride vs. Portland Thorns FC: Final Score 2-0 as Pride Drop More Critical Points



The Orlando Pride dropped more crucial points at home, falling 2-0 to the Portland Thorns in a match with heavy playoff implications in front of an announced crowd of 6,012 at Orlando City Stadium. The Thorns (9-6-5, 32 points) came out of the locker room on fire to start the second half, getting goals from Lindsey Horan and Hayley Raso and went on to take three vital points to jump ahead of Orlando (8-7-6, 30 points) with a game in hand.

With just three regular-season games left, the Pride fall to fourth place, just a point ahead of Chicago, which has two games in hand.

“The second half it looked like we put a different team out on the park — same bodies but a different team — on the field and the game was over within seven minutes,” said Head Coach Tom Sermanni after the match. “In reality, we were luck to get away two-nil at the end. And again it’s just down to our frailty.”

The overriding theme in the postgame press conference was that nobody seemed to have an answer for why the Pride played so well to start the game and then so poorly after halftime. Sermanni even quipped that maybe someone drugged the team’s water, as he had no good answer for the team’s lack of energy and commitment in the second half.

Sermanni made only minor changes to the team that drew against Sky Blue FC last weekend, inserting Shelina Zadorsky into the midfield in place of Christine Nairn and putting Alex Morgan up top for Rachel Hill.

Orlando came out strong, playing hard and forcing several early corner kicks. The Pride were getting the ball into good positions but had trouble getting shots through the Portland defense. Marta connected with a shot that went just wide in the sixth minute.

The first good Portland chance came off a mistake by Alanna Kennedy who didn’t get enough oomph on her back pass for Ashlyn Harris. Raso, Kennedy’s Australian international teammate, picked off the pass and hit the near post with her shot in the 17th minute.

A minute later, Kristen Edmonds took the first of several heavy challenges she suffered in the first half and the Pride were given a free kick just to the right of the penalty area. Adrianna Franch got a hand on Marta’s delivery to keep the game scoreless.

A few minutes later, Dani Weatherholt and Edmonds fizzed a couple of crosses through the box but no one could get onto them.

The Thorns started coming into the game more as the first half wore on, earning a few corners of their own. One fell dangerously in the box but Portland was whistled for a foul before anyone could pounce on it and Christine Sinclair was booked for fouling Morgan.

The Pride got a flurry of chances just past the half hour mark, but Marta and Weatherholt fired right at Franch and Emily van Egmond sent her effort over the bar.

“We started off terrific the first 15-20 minutes, probably stretching into the first 30 minutes,” Sermanni said. “We dictated the game. The tempo was good, attacking was good, movement was good, but then we don’t score.”

In the 37th minute, Raso again hit the woodwork, this time firing a cross that Harris couldn’t reach but it found the crossbar. Harris made a save on a header by Ana Maria Crnogorcevic in the 41st minute, which was fortunate, because the flag never came up although she appeared to be offside.

Van Egmond fired a shot that Franch grabbed in stoppage time and the whistle blew on a tense first half. Orlando led in shots, 9-5 (3-1 on target), but Portland ended up with 58% of the possession and the better passing accuracy (78%-70%).

It didn’t take the Thorns long to pounce after the interval. Portland earned a corner right out of the break and made the most of it. The short corner was played back to Heath, who crossed it in and the ball went through a lot of traffic in the box before it found its way to Horan for the tap-in just two minutes into the second period.

Meghan Klingenberg sent a cross in for Crnogorcevic in the 48th minute but the Portland attacker collided with Harris and a foul was given. Four minutes later, Chioma Ubogagu tried to clear a ball at the top of the box but it was blocked and Heath slipped it to Sinclair, who fired just wide.

A minute later, the Thorns doubled the lead. Sinclair won a ball in traffic and Crnogorcevic nodded it to Raso, who blazed by half the Pride defense and beat Harris to make it 2-0 in the 53rd minute.

The second goal took a lot of steam out of the Pride. Sermanni put Camila and Hill into the game to try to find a spark, but Orlando just didn’t look a threat at all in the second half and could barely keep any possession.

“The first seven minutes of the second half our defending is embarrassing,” Sermanni said. “A lack of willingness to just simply defend is just so poor. And then we go into a malaise where nobody seems to be able to get the team, pick them up, and get us back in the game. To be honest for most of that second half performance, I apologize to the crowd for coming and keeping supporting us because our team on the field didn’t deserve that support in the second half. It was extremely poor.”

Marta sent a shot through traffic that hit van Egmond in the 63rd minute and it nearly fooled Franch, who made a diving save. That was the Pride’s best opportunity of the half. Portland controlled the ball and kept the Pride hemmed in their own half throughout the second half, making any comeback attempt impossible.

Marta did get a late opportunity to find a consolation goal in the 89th minute when she smashed a shot on target from a severe angle but Franch got her fingertips to it and kept it out. After just two minutes of stoppage time, the final whistle blew and Orlando had fallen in a critical battle for playoff positioning.

Portland ended up winning just about all the statistical categories, including shots, 17-13, although the Pride had a 6-3 advantage in shots on target. The Thorns held 60% of the possession and a 77%-66% edge in passing accuracy.

“Tonight was a difficult one, clearly,” Harris said. “It was an important three points. It’s unfortunate. It’s heartbreaking. I thought we had a great 45 minutes and then we had a really poor 45 minutes. We made things, looking ahead, now tough on ourselves. This is the path we chose so we’ve got to deal with it and we’ve got to move on.”

It doesn’t get any easier for the Pride, as next up is a trip to Shield-winning North Carolina next Saturday at 7 p.m. ET.

Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride Sign Midfielder Kerry Abello to New Contract

The Pride have signed midfielder Kerry Abello to a new three-year contract.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride announced this afternoon that the club has signed midfielder Kerry Abello to a new three-year contract. The deal keeps Abello in purple through the 2026 NWSL season.

“We are thrilled to keep Kerry in Orlando through 2026. Since joining the club, she has proven to be a reliable and versatile player for our team,” Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter said in a club press release. “In a few short years, she has grown into a leader in our locker room and sets the standard for professionalism and accountability, two values we center our culture around. Ensuring she remains a part of what we are building here, both on and off the field, was a priority for us in the off-season. We are happy to bring that to fruition and look forward to her continued growth and performance.” 

Abello was initially drafted by the Pride with the 24th pick of the 2021 NWSL Draft, but decided to return to school for a fifth season. The club finally signed the Penn State product to a two-year contract on Jan. 28, 2022. The midfielder signed another two-year deal on Feb. 23, 2023, with a club option for 2025. Just over a year later, she’s now inked a third contract, ensuring her stay in Orlando will run through 2026.

Initially coming off the bench, Abello became a regular starter late in her rookie season. Over the past three years, she’s seen time at attacking and defensive midfield, showing her versatility. In total, Abello has made 49 appearances (31 starts) in all competitions and recorded 2,835 minutes. She’s scored one goal and contributed one assist.

Last year, the 24-year-old midfielder made 25 appearances (18 starts), recording 1,642 minutes, and adding a goal and an assist. She participated in all but two league games and five of the team’s six Challenge Cup contests.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there is truly no place I’d rather be. Thank you, Orlando, for having me for the next three years,” Abello said in a club press release. “I’m feeling full of joy, gratitude, and inspiration. There’s work to be done, and I can’t wait to put my whole heart into this season and all the rest. Vamos!”

The Batavia, IL, native was a part of the United States youth set up at the U-14, U-15, U-17, U-18, and U-19 levels. She received a call up to the U-23 U.S. Women’s National Team for the 2022 Women’s U-23 Three-Nations Tournament, scoring in a 3-0 win over Sweden.

Prior to being drafted by the Pride, Abello was a three-time All-Big Ten selection, helping Penn State win three Big Ten championships. She was also named to the All-North Team twice in her five collegiate seasons.

What It Means for Orlando

Similar to her last contract, this deal ensures that Abello will continue her stay in Orlando beyond the upcoming season. She originally started on the bench under former Pride head coach Amanda Cromwell, but won over Seb Hines with her versatility in the midfield. During her first two professional season, she’s played extensively at attacking and defensive midfield. However, she can also play on the back line, having been a center back in college.

Following the 2023 NWSL season, Carter told The Mane Land’s Skopurp Soccer podcast that the club focused on the back line last off-season and was focusing on the midfield this off-season. Signing Abello, who has been a crucial part of the club’s rebuild, was always going to be part of that plan.

Between the re-signing of Abello and the new additions to the team, the midfield has more depth than before. Abello’s presence could be crucial, because the midfield’s Brazilian internationals will likely miss time due to international call-ups. Abello can fill in multiple positions, ensuring there won’t be a significant drop-off when the internationals depart.

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Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride Unveil New Kits Ahead of 2024 NWSL Season

The Pride take part in the NWSL kit reset with new primary and secondary jerseys for the 2024 season.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride unveiled their two new kits today ahead of the 2024 NWSL season. The jerseys are part of the league-wide kit reset, launched by the NWSL and Nike. The club’s new Phoenix Kit features the Pride’s two recognizable colors, purple and blue, and the secondary Citrus Kit has an all-new color scheme, paying tribute to Florida’s citrus industry. Both jerseys will be formally unveiled on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at “The Kit Party presented by Orlando Health,” taking place at the Orlando Regional History Center.

Replicas of the two new jerseys are available for purchase at, in The Den at Inter&Co Stadium during regular business hours, and on Replica goalkeeper jerseys will also be made available during a late spring release.

“We are proud to share two new, powerful kits with our fans and honored that we are again able to share the story of one of the pillars of our community and the state of Florida,” Pride Chief Marketing Officer Pedro Araujo said in a club press release. “Each year, it is important for us to use our platform to celebrate those that laid the foundation for our city, and this year is no different. We hope our fans are as excited to wear the Citrus Kit and the Phoenix Kit as we are, and to proudly represent Orlando both at home and outside of Central Florida. This new partnership with Nike is a very exciting moment for the league. We’re grateful for their continued support of the Orlando Pride and the NWSL as a whole and are excited for the future opportunities this new, refreshed commitment will bring to our kits and team performance gear.”

The Citrus Kit features a new orange and iced-out green scheme, a first for the Pride, with inspiration taken from Central Florida’s citrus industry. The jersey features oranges and leaves, with letters and numbers featuring the same iced-out green coloring. The design of the kit takes direct inspiration from the historic packaging of citrus crates and labels, unique to each grove. The back of the socks features a hand-drawn “Pride,” which is also inspired by the labels. Meanwhile, the “Outer Pride” on the lower corner of the jersey is a stylized “OP” with an orange cross-section and orange blossom leaves and flowers.

The primary home jersey this season will be the new Phoenix Kit, which is more recognizable to fans. The jersey features the club’s traditional colors of purple with blue letters and numbers. The jersey features a unique two-toned purple gradient that runs diagonally from the top right to the bottom left of the jersey. The club’s shirt sponsor, Orlando Health, remains in white, but the letters, numbers, and Nike logo on the darker purple are the team’s second color, “Eola Blue.”

The new kits are part of the NWSL’s league-wide kit reset, the first time a women’s professional soccer league has presented refreshed primary and secondary uniforms for all of its teams. Each club is receiving jerseys that reflect the club’s identity and joyful expression and celebrate the team’s community.

The Pride’s unveiling has been in cooperation with Hollieanna Groves, a local and family-owned grower, harvester, packer, and shipper of Florida citrus. The Maitland-based company is a fourth-generation packing house and sales room, providing the backdrop for one of the club’s kit photo shoots.

Here are some photos of the Pride’s newest kits courtesy of the Pride:

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Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride Place Megan Montefusco on Season-Ending Injury List

The Orlando Pride have placed center back Megan Montefusco on the season-ending injury list following surgery on her right foot.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride announced this afternoon that center back Megan Montefusco has been placed on the season-ending injury list. The defender had off-season right foot surgery, performed by the club’s official medical team, to repair a long-term problem.

“This is an unfortunate situation for Megan, though we’re happy she was able to address an issue that has plagued her for some time, and we are confident she will come out of this a stronger athlete,” Orlando Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter said in a club press release. “Our club is fully behind her and will support her throughout her rehab process, as will our amazing partners at Orlando Health. Our goal is to help Megan get back on the field as safely and smartly as possible, and we are behind her every step of the way. We look forward to seeing her back out on the pitch as soon as she is ready.”

The Pride originally acquired the defender in a trade with the Houston Dash on Jan. 28, 2022 that saw Marisa Viggiano go the other way. She was a regular starter at center back that year and through most of 2023, but lost the starting position when the club signed Brazilian international Rafaelle. Montefusco has made 45 appearances (42 starts) for 3,773 minutes in all competitions over her two seasons in Orlando, scoring one goal.

The 31 year-old signed a new contract with the Pride on June 15, 2023 through the 2024 season with an option for 2025. As one of the team’s main representatives alongside fellow center back Carrie Lawrence, Montefusco appeared at Orlando City’s preseason game against the New England Revolution, signing autographs and taking part in a question-and-answer session while wearing a walking boot.

What It Means for Orlando

This news is a bit of a blow to Orlando’s depth on the back line. Montefusco was the first center back off the bench late last year and was expected to have the same role this year. However, her absence will make room for Lawrence, who missed the 2023 season after suffering a torn ACL during preseason, and Tori Hansen, who is currently on loan with Melbourne Victory FC in Australia. The duo will now compete for the third center back spot unless the club replaces Montefusco with another veteran, as the NWSL transfer window remains open.

This injury could also open up a spot for the Pride to sign 2024 second-round NWSL Draft pick Cori Dyke, who the club took at No. 22 overall out of Penn State. Dyke has experience at center back in college. She played as a central midfielder for the first four years in college, but moved to center back for her final season. Despite moving to the back line, the 2023 season was her most productive offensively, as she recorded five goals and six assists.

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