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Orlando Pride vs. Washington Spirit: Final Score 4-3 as Pride Earn First Home Points of 2019

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With the return of the majority of the international players, the Orlando Pride (2-8-2, 8 points) finally found their offense. The Pride found the back of the net four times as they beat the Washington Spirit (5-3-3, 18 points) 4-3 in front of 3,703 fans in Exploria Stadium. Rachel Hill opened her 2019 scoring account, Marta netted a brace, and Chioma Ubogagu got her third goal in as many games.

“You can't keep conceding three goals and scoring four at home,” Orlando Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner said. “I know American sports loves the drama and it’s all well and good but, guys, we can’t concede three goals at home and win every game. I thought we were very, very dangerous today in possession. I thought out of possession we were quite controlled and had moments of madness. I’m pleased with all the girls’ attitudes and I'm pleased they got the win, for them.”

The head coach was not on the field during the game. Instead, he was upstairs in one of the boxes. Skinner said that this is something that he has wanted to do all season, and it helps him see the game more tactically. He said he prefers to be upstairs because he “has to see the game,” and went down at halftime to share with the team what he saw.

“I need to see the game tactically,” said Skinner. “For me, I need to be calm and make decisions, not react off emotions. I’ll marry that information with the information I have, keep calm, and put it together.”

Alanna Kennedy, Shelina Zadorsky, and Emily van Egmond came right back from France and into the starting lineup. Morgan Reid swapped out for Zadorsky as the rest of the back line remained the same. Both of the Australians played in the midfield with Joanna Boyles and Marta, Ubogagu, and Hill led the forward line. 

After a 50-minute weather delay, the game started fast and furious. Both teams needed just a handful minutes to get into the game, and the rest of the half was filled with goals. 

“Honestly, I don’t really like when all that happens,” Marta said of the weather delay through an interpreter. “We always just keep waiting and keep waiting and that’s not really good at times. But I think also it helped cool down, and we played really well so I think it was great for us.”

After just seven minutes, Washington took the lead. After a good spell of possession, Cheyna Matthews got down the line. She beat Toni Pressley and sent a low cross into the box. Bayley Feist somehow flicked it between her legs, while falling down, and got the game’s first goal. 

The Pride looked out of the match after the opening goal. The Spirit held possession well, and Orlando was chasing the game. Marta changed that in the 21st minute.

The Brazilian created space for herself and played the ball to Boyles. Boyles used a one-touch pass over the top, and Ubogagu was then one-on-one with former Pride goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe. Chi dribbled right around the ‘keeper and leveled the game at one. 

Just five minutes later, the Pride took the lead. Hill forced a turnover and immediately got down the field. Kennedy and van Egmond passed among themselves, got down the field, and van Egmond played a perfect through ball to Hill. The striker took one touch and powered the ball in off the crossbar as Orlando went up 2-1.

“Obviously they’re top class, they’re great players and they know the game well,” Hill said about the international players returning. “It brings a lot back into our team. Obviously we worked a lot while they were gone and they’re adapting to that, kinda forgetting about the whole World Cup and what their national teams do. They’re back here and fitting in really well. It’s definitely helped us and they’ve done well.”

“It feels good,” Hill said of scoring her first goal of the season. “It’s a relief in a sense. As a forward you obviously always want to score but it feels even better to get that win.”

The lead did not last long, and four minutes later, in the 30th, Washington tied it. Tori Huster sent the ball from her own half, and Matthews blew by Zadorsky. Matthews took one touch to create more space and sent the ball into the back of the net with her second. 

Not much happened for the remained of the half. Both teams had a few chances but nothing too threatening. Kennedy could have scored, but her shot was way too close to Bledsoe. In the dying minutes of the half, Haley Kopmeyer punched the ball, and it hit Greening in the head. The ball luckily rolled harmlessly out for a corner. 

Washington took more shots in the half (7-5), but Orlando had a better conversion rate putting three on target, compared to the Spirit’s two. Washington led the possession battle (59%), but it was mostly in its own half. 

The second half got off to a firing start. Washington won a foul in the opening seconds, and the free kick was headed just wide of the post. Orlando got right down the field then and retook the lead. Greening sent in a low cross towards Marta. The Brazilian struggled to control it at first but stuck with it before calmly sending the ball into the side netting.

The goal put Orlando up 3-2. The three goals were the most that Orlando has scored since June 16, 2018, when the Pride beat Sky Blue by that same scoreline. 

The game settled down after that goal. Both teams had looks on the net, but the game was played mainly in the middle of the field. 

Bledsoe again came up huge in the 60th minute. Hill sent in a perfect cross to Pressley. The defender headed it towards the goal, but Bledsoe used a potential Save of the Week to deny Pressley her second of the year. 

Three minutes later, Huster should have tied the game. She was all alone in the box with time and space but sent her shot directly into Kopmeyer’s chest. 

Marta got her brace in the 78th minute. Zadorsky stood over a free kick in Orlando’s half. The defender rocketed the ball downfield, Marta got on the end of it and behind the defense, and did what she does best. That was Marta’s third goal of the season, all in the last two games after returning from the World Cup. 

The Pride should have gotten a fifth goal when Ubogagu was sent down the left flank and crossed to second-half sub Marisa Viggiano with the entire net to shoot at. The rookie lost her composure and fired well over the net.

Washington got a late consolation goal in stoppage time. Orlando failed to clear the ball, and then five Pride players closed in on Jordan DiBiasi. They somehow all failed to clear the ball, DiBiasi got past them all, and she beat Kopmeyer to the near post. 

The Spirit finished the game with more shots (19-15) but the Pride had more shots on target (8-5). Washington also edged out in the possession battled with 56%, but the Pride were ahead with the final scoreline. The four goals scored were the most by Orlando in a game since May 26, 2018, when the Pride beat the Chicago Red Stars 5-2.

“I think we [have improved] on how our coach wants us to play,” Marta said. “We still lost points in the past games. But I think, for example, in this first half we lacked defensive and we need to get better and get those mistakes fixed.”


The Pride are back in action on Sunday, July 14 when they travel to Providence Park to take on the Portland Thorns.

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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