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Orlando Pride vs. Chicago Red Stars: Final Score 3-2 as Mistakes Gift Visiting Chicago a Win

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The Orlando Pride’s modest two-game unbeaten streak is over. Sam Kerr scored a hat trick in her return from the World Cup as the Pride (1-8-2, 5 points) continuously gifted the Red Stars (4-4-2, 14 points) chances in a 3-2 win over Orlando at Exploria Stadium.

Sam Kerr turned three Orlando turnovers into Red Stars goals to lead the visitors to victory. The Pride got goals from Chioma Ubogagu and Marta — from the penalty spot — to keep the game within reach but despite a late barrage of possession which produced a few chances, the hosts could not equalize.

Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner talked at length about the team’s mistakes after the match.

“Look, we can’t give away the goals that we’ve given away and win a game,” he said. “We’ve again — third consecutive game — scored two goals and lost the game. It’s not acceptable.”

“I wish the result was different, but we’ll still keep working hard to improve more to find a way to start to win the games,” Marta said.

Skinner wasted no time inserting Marta back into the starting lineup, slotting her up top next to center forward Rachel Hill, with Ubogagu on the left in her normal slot. With Dani Weatherholt out, the midfield (left to right) consisted of rookie Marisa Viggiano, Bridget Callahan, and Joanna Boyles. The back line in front of Haley Kopmeyer remained unchanged: Erin Greening, Morgan Reid, Toni Pressley, and Carson Pickett.

Back from the World Cup, Kerr made her presence felt immediately. A terrible back pass from Reid was too slow, allowing Kerr to run in and take it away, round Kopmeyer and fire it into the net for a 1-0 lead.

The Pride nearly pulled the goal right back. Marta sent in one of her patented stellar crosses that found Pickett making a run from the left. Pickett got a touch on it but Emily Boyd made a huge reaction save to preserve Chicago’s lead.

Callahan was forced off after a midfield collision with Yuki Nagasato as the two players clashed heads. After treatment on the field, Callahan was escorted directly to the locker room by the training staff and Camila subbed on in the 16th minute.

Six minutes later the Pride equalized. A back pass to Boyd ended up with the goalkeeper taking a heavy touch. Ubogagu beat Boyd to the ball and slotted into the empty net to make it 1-1 in the 22nd minute.

Kopmeyer made a nice save to deny Casey Short in the 32nd minute after the Chicago right back nutmegged Pressley on the perimeter, walked right around her and fired.

After a brief hydration break, Orlando went on the attack and Ubogagu got into the box but slipped and fell before she could shoot or find a teammate in the 35th minute.

The Red Stars sank a dagger into the Pride in first-half stoppage time. Kopmeyer sent a short goal kick that Nagasato headed back toward Orlando’s goal. Kerr was ready but the Pride defense was not. The Chicago star striker won the race to the loose ball and slotted home past Kopmeyer, who had come off her line too late to have any effect on the onrushing Kerr, letting the visitors take a 2-1 lead just before the break.

Chicago out-shot the Pride 8-2 in the first half (5-2 on target), held 51% of the possession, and was the more accurate passing team (78%-73%).

Orlando continued making mistakes after the break. Greening got beat down the wing shortly after the restart and the ball ended up with Vanessa DiBernardo at the top of the area, but her shot went wide. In the 51st, another poor back pass by Pressley was picked up by Kerr, but this time Kopmeyer was able to save it. The rebound was left for Chicago but the follow-up shot was wide.

Kerr completed her hat trick in the 55th minute off another turnover. The Australian international received the ball after a Greening turnover and cut across the field, blazing past Pressley with speed and powered a shot back against the grain to beat Kopmeyer, building the lead to 3-1.

Chicago took control of the game for about the next 20 minutes. Kopmeyer was forced into making a few saves on shots from distance. The Pride also continued to turn the ball over carelessly. A Pickett turnover nearly led to Kerr’s fourth goal of the game but the Aussie sent her shot wide and into the side netting in the 71st minute. A minute later Pickett cleared a Kerr header off the line off a cross into the box.

Kopmeyer made the save of the game in the 77th minute. Pressley’s turnover gifted Danielle Colaprico with an opportunity and her rocket toward the far post seemed to be headed in until Kopmeyer got her hands on it to push it wide.

A minute later, the Pride got a lifeline. Marta sent a gorgeous ball to the left side to Camila, who cut in between two defenders and was tripped by Brooke Elby. Marta stepped up and smashed the penalty kick home to make it 3-2 in the 79th minute.

Orlando did get the ball in and around the penalty area in the final minutes of the game but couldn’t produce a clear-cut chance. In fact, the opposite almost happened, as Kerr jumped on a Pickett giveaway and nearly scored from near midfield but Kopmeyer ran back and got a hand to it just in time to keep it out.

Chicago out-shot the Pride, 20-6 (12-4 on target), out-possessed Orlando (53%-47%), and passed more accurately (78%-72%). In the end it was the turnovers that doomed the Pride in this one.

“We’re still going to keep playing out from the back,” Skinner said. “I’ve never known anybody to get better at a skill if you stop doing it, so for me, to be better at things, even though they’re higher risk, you only see the beauty of it after you’ve gone through the pain.”

“I think we need to trust more. I think we need to have more confidence,” Marta said through a club interpreter. “I think it was unacceptable the goals that got scored. It was just too easy. I just feel like if it was me having all those balls (that Sam Kerr got) I would have scored as well.”

Marta explained to the assembled media that soccer boils down to two basics — trapping and passing — and said the team needs to work on just doing those simple basic skills in order to progress.

Orlando still hasn’t earned a single point at home and the team’s performances and the afternoon heat kept the Exploria Stadium crowd to a disappointing 3,906.


The Pride will welcome the Washington Spirit to Exploria Stadium next Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride Sign Midfielder Kerry Abello to New Contract

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

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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 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.

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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 ShopOrlandoPride.com, in The Den at Inter&Co Stadium during regular business hours, and on NWSLshop.com. 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 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.

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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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