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Orlando Pride vs. Portland Thorns: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, Match Thread, and More

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Welcome to your match thread as the Orlando Pride (2-8-2, 8 points) take on the Portland Thorns (5-2-4, 19 points) at Providence Park. The match is the first of the season to be aired on an ESPN network after ESPN and the NWSL agreed to a broadcasting deal to air 14 games. This is the third and final meeting between the Pride and Thorns in 2019.

History

History has not been kind to Orlando when Portland is involved. The Pride are just 1-8-1 all-time and have lost in both of the previous matches this season by a combined score of 5-1. 

The teams faced off in the opening match of this season. Ashlyn Harris kept the Pride alive, finishing with six saves, but Caitlin Foord and Tobin Heath assisted each other for both goals in the 2-0 game

Less than a month later they played again, and once again Portland won by two goals. Toni Pressley headed in a corner to open the scoring, but then Portland came right back. Poor defending led to the first Portland goal, a pointless foul and perfectly placed free kick put the Thorns ahead, and more poor defending killed off the game. The Pride lost 3-1 and remained winless at that point in the season. 

Orlando has only beaten the Thorns once, and that came last season on May 12. Alex Morgan and Christine Nairn both scored in the first 25 minutes, and Nairn’s goal was one for the highlight reel. After a failed Portland clearance, Nairn chested the ball down and shot off the half volley from about 30 yards out, and the ball ended up in the back of the net. It was no surprise that Christine Sinclair found the net in this game, two minutes after Nairn’s goal, but the Pride were able to fend off the Thorns to take all three points.

Portland won the other two games last season, and the only additional time that the Pride earned any points against Portland was in a goalless draw at the end of the 2017 season.

Overview

While the Pride have struggled to get a result the majority of the season, Orlando has done well in recent weeks. Orlando has just one loss in the last four matches. Meanwhile, Portland, currently in third place in the NWSL, has only one win in its previous four games. 

In the last match, the Thorns fell to Reign FC, 1-0. The Reign’s Jess Fishlock tore her ACL, and Celia Jiménez Delgado got the start instead. Portland failed to clear a free kick in the 55th minute, and Delgado powered a shot from distance into the back of the net. Portland managed just one shot on goal in the match. The result put the Reign in first place, although only three points separate the top five teams. 

The Pride are 10 points out of a playoff spot but hope to put a solid run of performances together to move up in the standings. Orlando is five points behind Houston and so cannot move up the table with a win. The Pride put on an offensive clinic in their last match. Goals from Marta (2), Chioma Ubogagu, and Rachel Hill saw Orlando beat the Washington Spirit 4-3 for the Pride’s first home win of the season. After the game, Marc Skinner talked about how the team needs to defend better and cannot rely on putting up fouls goals a game. 

Going into Portland is never easy, and the Thorns have led the NWSL in attendance every year so far and have the highest average attendance in the world. The Thorns average an announced attendance of 16,959 fans a game. 

“Portland is more of a cauldron of a place to go and travel,” Skinner said before training on Tuesday. “I think you’ve got to be really good to get a result there, so we have to be consistent in the messages that we have. We know what Portland are going to throw at us. We know they are going to try and get width, they’re going to try and use maybe a 3-5-2 system.

“So we’re going to look at how to stop that but also how to affect the other shapes that they have. And I think we have to pick the moments to attack them because I think we can get through them and I think we can score goals, but we’ve got to take the same confidence in. We’ve got to go in there knowing we can score goals and quiet the crowd because it’s going to be a wonderful experience. I’m really looking forward to it, to be honest. It’s a great way to show the team that there’s something to fight against here and that’ll be a really good thing for us.”

Midfielder Midge Purce leads the Thorns in scoring. She has found the back of the net five times in nine games this season. However, they also will be boosted with the return of international players. Ellie Carpenter, Andressinha, Caitlin Foord, Hayley Raso, and Sinclair are all back with Portland and should be an integral part of the team tonight. 

The Pride have found their offense since their own international players have returned. Ubogagu has scored three goals in her last three games, while Marta has three in the past two games.  Hill opened up her account, and Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond put on excellent performances in their first match back from France.  

Of course, the U.S. internationals for both teams will not be available — Alex Morgan, Ali Krieger, and Ashlyn Harris for Orlando, and Adrianna Franch, Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan, and Emily Sonnett for Portland.

Kristen Edmonds is listed as questionable, but she still is not game fit and will not play. Clarie Emslie is expected to join the team next week after visa issues, and Bridget Callahan remains in concussion protocol. Portland will be without Angela Salem (left knee) and Ana Crnogorcevic (left thigh).


Official Lineups

Orlando Pride (4-3-3)

Goalkeeper: Haley Kopmeyer.

Defenders: Carson Pickett, Toni Pressley, Shelina Zadorsky, Erin Greening.

Midfielders: Alanna Kennedy, Emily van Egmond, Dani Weatherholt.

Forwards: Chioma Ubogagu, Marta, Rachel Hill.

Bench: Lainey Burdett, Abby Elinsky, Danica Evans, Marisa Viggiano, Morgan Reid, Joanna Boyles, Camila. 

Portland Thorns (3-5-2)

Goalkeeper: Britt Eckerstrom.

Defenders: Katherine Reynolds, Emily Menges, Elizabeth Ball.

Midfielders: Meghan Klingenberg, Gabby Seiler, Dagný Brynjarsdóttir, Christine Sinclair, Ellie Carpenter.

Forwards: Midge Purce, Hayley Raso.  

Bench:  Bella Bixby, Andressinha, Caitlin Foord, Simone Charley, Kelli Hubly, Tyler Lussi, Celeste Boureille. 

Referees

Ref: Matthew Franz.

AR1: Jennifer Garner. 

AR2: Katarzyna Wasiak.

4th: Mike Hohnholz.


How to Watch

Match Time: 3 p.m. ET.

Venue: Providence Park — Portland, OR.

TV: ESPNEWS.

Streaming: WatchESPN, NWSLsoccer.com, NWSL app (international).

Twitter: For live updates, follow along at the Orlando Pride’s official Twitter feed (@ORLPride) and on The Mane Land’s Twitter (@TheManeLand).


Match Thread Rules

This is your live thread for posting comments on the match. So use our comments section below to talk about the game in real time with other supporters. If you’re new, welcome to our happy home! While you’re here, please observe a few basic rules:

  • Absolutely no links to illegal streams. They can get us in trouble, and no one wants that.
  • Try not to be the person who spews nothing but venom and hate for the team. It’s OK to be critical, and, let’s face it, sometimes even the best teams can be frustrating to watch, but being overly negative relentlessly can sap the enjoyment for others.
  • Keep it somewhat clean and fair when criticizing players / officials. You never know who might be reading.
  • Do unto others in the match thread, the way you would have others do unto you. We are a fun community and want to keep it this way. We have a moderator, but we’d rather let him enjoy the game instead of having to play babysitter.

Enjoy the match! Go Pride!

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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