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Orlando Pride vs. Sky Blue FC: Final Score 1-0 as Pride Get First Shutout Win in More Than a Year



The Orlando Pride returned home and beat Sky Blue FC 1-0 at Exploria Stadium in front of 9,415 fans. It was the third-largest crowd at a home Pride game and the largest since the 2017 home opener. Marisa Viggiano got her first professional goal in the first half, and Orlando (3-9-2, 11 points) was able to hold on for the rest of the game to get the win over Sky Blue (2-8-2, 8 points). It was the first time all season Orlando shut out the opposition and the first shutout win since June 23, 2018. 

“You literally feel alive [in front of that crowd],” Orlando Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner said. “There’s only some moments in life — like when my daughter was born — you feel alive, you break out of the norm of the monotonous day. When the energy of the crowd, it drives you on that extra bit. I don't think we’ve given them enough throughout the season to be cheerful about and come support us. I’m hopeful now that we've seen an increase in the attacking part of our game, then I think we will have that ability to draw that crowd in. I want these fans to be excited.”

Skinner made four changes from the loss to Portland last week. Ashlyn Harris replaced Haley Kopmeyer in net. On the back line, Ali Krieger slotted in at left back, Shelina Zadorsky and Toni Pressley partnered in the middle, and Erin Greening was at right back. Alanna Kennedy, Joanna Boyles, and Marisa Viggiano made up the middle three. The forward line of Chioma Ubogagu, Marta, and Rachel Hill remained unchanged. 

It was a mostly uneventful first half. There were just a few moments that were threatening, and Harris was never really bothered. However, the game changed just before the half-hour mark.

In the 23rd minute, Ubogagu sent a ball down the left wing to Viggiano. The rookie dribbled down the line, cut inside, and took a shot from just inside the box. Her rocket went into the top corner, Viggiano got her first professional goal, and Orlando went up 1-0.  

“Chi pulling out and into the midfield opened up that lane for me,” said Viggiano. “So I was able to get the ball, face forward, and just drive at the defenders. Honestly, it kind of just happened and I shot and it went in. It’s really, really cool.”

Ubogagu was the best player on the field for the majority of the game. She nearly found the back of the net at the half-hour mark. She made a great run, got behind the defense, and took a shot that went inches wide of the post. Julie James slid into her after she took the shot, and Ubogagu stayed down after the play. She got up with the help of the trainers and then was able to continue. 

Fans thought that the Pride went up 2-0 in the 36th minute. Kennedy sent the ball into the back of the net, but Hill was called for a foul moments earlier. The stadium erupted, the supporters let the flares loose, but the goal did not stand.

The Pride out-shot Sky Blue 7-5 in the first half, but the New Jersey side had two shots on target compared to Orlando’s one. Possession was fairly even, with the Pride having 52% and there were no corners by either team. For the third time all season, the Pride took a 1-0 lead into the break. 

“I’m so proud of the players,” said Skinner. “One of the things we’ve been asking them for awhile is a clean sheet. You’ve heard me say many times that we want a clean sheet because then you only have to score one goal. And that’s the difference.”

The second half was much of the same. There were not many chances in the game, and the few that were there were not put away. 

Pressley almost doubled the Pride’s lead in the 49th minute. Ubogagu played a great cross into the box. Neither team could get a good control of it, and it bounced around. Pressley pounced on the opportunity and toe-poked the ball as she was falling down. It was heading towards goal, but Kailen Sheridan made an excellent reaction save to deny the chance. 

Hill had two chances around the hour mark. First, Boyles played a great through ball. Hill was one-on-one with Sheridan but took too many touches and couldn’t even get off a shot. Minutes later, Marta played an even better through ball. Hill was again one-on-one with Sheridan, and the ‘keeper again got the better of Hill. 

That was Hill’s last moment of the match, and Claire Emslie subbed on for her, making her Pride debut after practicing for just two days with the team. The Scottish international was excited to finally get into her first match with the Pride.

“It was amazing,” said Emslie. “Even watching from the sidelines, just seeing the atmosphere. The crowd was incredible and the atmosphere was incredible. I think the girls, you can tell they’ve been working really hard. It was a good hustle first half and just excited to get on the pitch with the girls and excited to get a win.”

Emslie showed immediately why Skinner wanted her so badly. She used speed to get down the right wing, made a move to create space, and sent in a low cross to Marta. It was a rare moment as the Brazilian missed the golden opportunity and sent the ball wide. 

There were not many chances after that. At the end of the game, Orlando had a couple of corners but couldn’t do much with them. Sky Blue defended with everyone in the box, and the Pride struggled to get off shots. The best one came from Pickett at the penalty spot, but it sailed over the post. Van Egmond had a golden opportunity in stoppage time all alone in front of goal, but she missed the net.

For the first game this season, the Pride were on top of the majority of the stats. Orlando led in shots (21-10), shots on target (6-2), corners (7-1), and possession (52%). It was a mostly uneventful game though and Sky Blue did almost nothing offensively. Orlando was the better team and left at least three goals on the field.

“I think that was the first shutout in a year, so that was something that we were always aiming to do this season,” said Viggiano. “It’s been a really, really good ride with these girls. Every day in training sessions we’re giving it our all. It’s there, and we saw it tonight. It’s really exciting.”

The Pride are now off until Aug. 10, when the Houston Dash visit Exploria Stadium.

Orlando Pride

2023 Orlando Pride Season in Review: Anna Moorhouse

The 2023 NWSL season was Anna Moorhouse’s first as the Orlando Pride’s starting goalkeeper.



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.

Previous Season in Review Articles (Date Posted)

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Orlando Pride Sign Finnish Goalkeeper Sofia Manner

The Pride have added a fourth goalkeeper and the second one from abroad ahead of the 2024 NWSL season.



Image courtesy of the Orlando Pride and FC Honka

The Orlando Pride announced today the signing of goalkeeper Sofia Manner, who was acquired for an undisclosed transfer fee from FC Honka of Finland’s top flight, the Kansallinen Liiga. Manner has signed a two-year contract through the 2025 season with a club option for 2026. The signing is a bit curious as it comes less than two months after the Pride extended English goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse through the 2025 season, giving Orlando two international goalkeepers and four total netminders under contract.

“I am immensely grateful for this opportunity to join Orlando Pride, a team I have admired since my youth,” Manner said in a club press release. “It has been a lifelong dream of mine to contribute to such a renowned organization in women’s soccer. The prospect of starting this journey fills me with great enthusiasm, and I am eagerly looking forward to bringing my passion and dedication to the team. I’m ready to put in hard work and help write a new chapter for the Orlando Pride.” 

Manner, who turned 26 on Nov. 9, conceded the fewest goals in the Kansallinen Liiga this season and is a nominee for the league’s Best Player and Goalkeeper of the Year awards. She appeared in 23 matches and earned 10 clean sheets across all competitions, was twice named the league’s Goalkeeper of the Month this season, and was Player of the Month in April.

“Sofia is a tremendous addition to our goalkeeping corps and one we expect to challenge for the starting position,” Orlando Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter said. “She brings an underdog mentality and gritty work ethic and fits every aspect of the profile we have built for our goalkeepers. Her size, aerial ability, shot-stopping prowess, and distribution are world class. She brings international experience and has led the Kansallinen Liiga in nearly every goalkeeping metric. Her nominations for Goalkeeper of the Year and Best Player are indicative of her winning mentality and drive to be the best. We are excited to bring her to Orlando and to give her an opportunity to prove herself in our environment and in the NWSL.” 

The shot stopper has experience playing in the United States, having played collegiately with Stony Brook University. She compiled a 1.14 career goals-against average across three seasons, which is fourth-best in Seawolves’ history. Her 20 shutouts ranks third in program history, and she compiled a .796 save percentage, which is ninth best all time.

While at Stony Brook, Manner was named America East Freshman of the Year in 2017, was a first-team all-conference selection in 2019, and was the conference’s Goalkeeper of the Year in 2018 and 2019. She started in every match in her final two seasons at Stony Brook, backstopping the Seawolves to an America East conference championship in 2019 and a regular-season title in 2018.

What It Means for Orlando

The Pride currently have four goalkeepers under contract: 2023 starter Anna Moorhouse (through 2025), backup Carly Nelson (through 2024), third keeper Kaylie Collins (through 2024), and now Manner (through 2025). Collins is on loan with Western Sydney Wanderers FC of the A-League Women in Australia. Four goalkeepers will provide spirited competition in preseason camp, to be sure, but it’s likely that one of these players will be on the move at some point.

If Manner wins the starting goalkeeper spot from Moorhouse, it may be for reasons other than stopping shots. Moorhouse did a good enough job of that, but often struggled with balls in from the wings, which was illustrated in the Pride’s penultimate game of the year — a must-win match at Racing Louisville — when a routine-looking corner kick cross appeared to be easily catchable, but Moorhouse went for a punch instead and knocked the winning goal for Louisville into her own net. That dropped point in the standings put Orlando in jeopardy on Decision Day and indeed the Pride beat Houston but missed the postseason on goal differential. It was a crucial point dropped.

That wasn’t Moorhouse’s only major error on the season, as she set an NWSL record with the earliest sending off in league history with her third-minute red card at OL Reign on Sept. 3 — a match the Pride lost 1-0 while playing one player short for 87 minutes plus stoppage. She has also frequently spilled crosses and shots from distance.

Orlando needed to upgrade the position. Whether Manner is an upgrade remains to be seen, but as Carter said, she is expected to compete for the starting spot. If nothing else, the competition should be good for the Pride. If Manner does take the starting position, it seems logical that the club will look to move either Moorhouse or Nelson.

The goalkeeper position will provide one of the Pride’s most intriging camp battles.

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2023 Orlando Pride Season in Review: Kylie Strom

The veteran defender was a consistent starter for the Pride in 2023.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Mark Thor

The Orlando Pride signed Kylie Strom from Atletico Madrid on July 5, 2021 to a two-year contract with an option for 2023. Previously, Strom spent time with the Boston Breakers, FFC Frankfurt II in Germany, and Sparta in the Czech Women’s League. The Pride exercised her option prior to the 2023 season. Strom played a much bigger role for the Pride in 2023. 

Let’s take a look at the defender’s 2023 season with the Orlando Pride.

Statistical Breakdown

Strom appeared in 22 regular-season matches, starting all 22, for a total of 1,967 minutes. She scored one goal on six shots, putting one on target. She provided one assist and made 17 key passes. Strom completed 590 of her 880 total passes (67%). She was accurate on 58.7% of her passes in the opponent’s half, and went 73.8% in her own half. She was 29 of 106 on her long passes (27.4%). She also completed seven of her 36 crosses. Defensively, she logged 34 interceptions and 10 blocks, won 43 of her 81 tackles (53.1%), won 181 of her 291 duels (62.2%), and won 39 of her 64 aerial duels (60.9%). She also committed 18 fouls, suffered 42 fouls, and was not booked.

The 31-year-old made four appearances in NWSL Challenge Cup play, starting four games and playing 314 total minutes. Strom did not score any goals but took two shots with one on target. She attempted three crosses (one successful), and registered no assists. Strom completed 93 of her 134 total passes (69.4%). She was accurate on 61.8% of her passes in the opponent’s half, and 75.8% in her own half.  Strom was 11 of 19 on her long passes (57.9%), and made two key passes. Defensively, she made three blocks and eight interceptions, and won eight of her 10 tackles (80%), 29 of her 46 duels (63%), and eight of her 10 aerial duels (80%). She also committed five fouls, suffered five fouls, and was not booked.

Best Game

Strom’s best match was the 2-1 win over the Washington Spirit on May 20. She scored her only goal of the season on a header at the back post in the 77th minute to give the Pride the win. It was the type of goal that you want from defenders and it came at just the right time.

Strom played the full 90 minutes and she was active in both the defensive and offensive aspects of the match. She nearly put Messiah Bright in on goal but it was knocked out for a corner. Her goal came on three shots with one on target. She also completed 15 of her 30 passes (50%) on 52 touches, committed no fouls, suffered three fouls, and was not booked.

2023 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff gave Strom a composite rating of 6 for the 2023 season. Strom received a grade of 4.5 in 2022 due to being a part of a defense that gave up 45 goals with a -23 goal differential. That is a big year-over-year improvement for the defender and part of that is the defense as a whole was better. Strom also did well individually though she had a bad habit of cheaply giving the ball away in her own half. She previously received an incomplete during what was a rough stretch run in 2021 after joining the club midseason.

2024 Outlook

Strom is out of contract and will be 32 years old prior to the 2024 season starting. She’s also a free agent. Despite that, it’s very possible she is back with the Pride next season unless additional defensive signings are made. It would mean a new contract, but given she started every regular season match in 2023 and finished second only to Emily Madril in minutes played, Seb Hines evidently has faith in her ability to contribute.

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