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Orlando Pride vs. Chicago Red Stars: Final Score 1-0 as Pride Lose With Final Touch of the Match

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The Orlando Pride (4-14-2, 14 points) had a chance to move out of last place with a win. Instead, the Pride kept the Chicago Red Stars (11-8-2, 35 points) goalless for 94 minutes before the visitors scored with the last touch of the game. Casey Short’s header deep in stoppage time snapped the scoreless deadlock and sent the Pride to yet another loss despite Chicago having a player sent off just past the half-hour mark.

The Pride fell 1-0 to the Red Stars in front of 4,592 fans in Exploria Stadium. Chicago dominated the match but Ashlyn Harris kept the Pride in it with six fantastic saves.

“It will be probably be the lowest that Orlando Pride has been and only from there can you rise up,” Orlando Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner said. “My job is to make sure that we manage until the end of the season, and then focus on developing the players, making sure they are growing. Then recruiting in the off-season to make sure that we have a team that continues to have a mental resistance to be successful.”

Skinner opted to go with Kristen Edmonds and Erin Greening as fullbacks with Ali Krieger and Shelina Zadorsky in the center of the defense. Alanna Kennedy, Joanna Boyles, and Marisa Viggiano played in front of them. Claire Emslie and Rachel Hill played the wings with Camila up top.

The first half was pretty uneventful. Chicago dominated and Orlando struggled to gain possession. The Pride finished the half with 61% passing accuracy on just 153 passes. Most of them were from the defenders too, as Camila, Hill, and Emslie combined for only 23 passes.

Orlando had one shot on target in the half. It came in the sixth minute. Hill sent in a good long-range cross. The ball found Emslie, but the winger was unable to get it past Alyssa Naeher.

Chicago was threatening the rest of the half but could not find the back of the net. Sam Kerr was kept in check, most by the Pride successfully playing an offside trap. Kerr did have a shot late in the half, but it was blocked in front.

Harris made an incredible save in the 26th minute. Katie Johnson took a rocket of a shot from distance. The ball was headed for the top corner, but Harris got to it and punched it out for a corner.

“I thought [the defense] was brilliant,” Skinner said. “I thought Ash made some world-class saves. I thought Ali and Shelina were excellent. Erin will make positional mistakes but she won’t lack in effort and heart to give to the team. And obviously Kris this was her third or fourth 90 minutes in the whole season. I think they were very, very resilient.”

Chicago led the Pride in shots (7-4), shots on goal (2-1), corners (5-0), and possession (64% – 36%). The stats don’t do the half justice though as Chicago was more dominant than the numbers show. Orlando attempted to beat the Red Stars on the counter but struggled connecting forward passes. The Pride’s impressive back four, which turned into a back five at times, limited the Red Stars from getting many good looks on net.

“I thought we should have put our chances away. We had an opportunity to win the game,” said Emslie. “We worked hard. The first half wasn’t very good but I think second half we were much better. But at the end of the day we just need to put the ball in the back of the net.”

The second half started much of the same way. Chicago dominated and Orlando had no answer. Kerr missed two chances in the first 10 minutes of the half, both of which she should have converted.

In the 56th minute, Harris had one of the best saves of the year. She parried a corner but could not hold onto it. The ball bounced around, and the ‘keeper made two saves from on the ground to deny Chicago its opener.

The Pride finally caught a break in the 64th minute. Johnson took a hard, late challenge on Edmonds. It was Johnson’s second yellow, and she was ejected. Afterwards, Krieger pulled the team together and looked to try to motivate the players to keep working for the rest of the match.

In the 75th minute, Kerr again should scored. She finally beat the offside trap. Krieger tried to bring her down, but Kerr was too strong. The NWSL goal leader was in on goal, but Harris came up huge with the one-on-one save.

“Ash kept us in that game,” Edmonds said. “She had a few good saves tonight — world class saves. It’s always nice to be super confident in your ‘keeper behind you to know that if they get in behind you that you still have a chance and Ash came up massive tonight.”

Orlando finally decided to push forward in the last 10 minutes of the match, and it ended with a few chances. However, the Pride were unable to convert on any of the opportunities. Bad shots, poorly played passes, and awful decisions cost the Pride, and they failed to break Chicago’s defense.

In the dying minutes, the Pride earned a corner. No one got on the end of it though, and Ertz dribbled out of the box. She then sent Chicago on the counter. After some desperate defending the ball fell out wide to Kerr. The Australian then sent in a perfect cross and Casey Short headed it past Harris. The ‘keeper got a hand on it but could not keep it out.

The Pride did not have any shots on target in the second half, and Chicago led 7-1 on the match. The Red Stars also had more shots (16-10), corners (8-2), passes (417-332), and possession (56%). 


The Pride will next face the North Carolina Courage on Saturday at 7 p.m. at WakeMed Soccer Park.

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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