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Orlando Pride vs. Houston Dash: Final Score 2-1 as Poor First Half Sinks the Pride



KISSIMMEE, FL — The Orlando Pride fell to the Houston Dash 2-1 in Orlando’s first home game of the year. But rather than at Exploria Stadium, the match was played at Osceola County Stadium without fans. Kristie Mewis continued her hot run of form for the Dash (3-1-0, 9 points) with two assists, and Houston completely dominated Orlando (0-2-1, 1 point) in the first half behind goals by Shea Groom and Veronica Vlatsko.

Sydney Leroux provided a spark immediately after halftime with her first goal since 2018, but the Pride couldn’t find an equalizer. The second half performance was a huge improvement from Orlando over the opening 45 minutes, but the hole was too deep to climb out of.

“It was an absolute tale of two halves,” said Orlando Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner after the match. “I don’t know how many games I have been involved when that’s applied. We were nowhere near good enough first half. We weren’t brave enough on the football. We didn’t want the football enough. We were running like we were a yard off the pace and so at halftime we spoke about what it means to play for Orlando.

“There was no real tactical kind of adaptation, it was more about the energy and the fire they need to take to wear our jersey. And it just wasn’t present in the first half from from the collective. So in the second half, they got better, they understood that, and you know it took a bad situation the first half to get a reaction for the second period and I was really, really pleased that even though you take the loss you have a growth within the game. And what I need my younger players to understand is that you can’t waste time and so it’s really important that’s the key message from this game.”

Ashlyn Harris was not with the team tonight because of the death of her grandmother. Rookie Brittany Wilson got her first NWSL start in net in place of the U.S. international. Toni Pressley took a bench role tonight, but she entered the match at the start of the second half. Rookie Konya Plummer got her first NWSL start in Pressley’s place. Meanwhile, Sydney Leroux and Kristen Edmonds returned to the starting lineup after not traveling to Houston two weeks ago because of COVID-19 concerns.

“I knew that there was a chance a couple of days ago [that I’d start] and so for all of these games I’ve been preparing as if I was going in or if I was starting,” Wilson said. “So the weeks kind of look the same. I was really studying everything that we were doing. I was doing all my protocols and stuff that I would do pregame. But this week I knew a couple days in. I was able to get in with the back line, know our game plan, really lock it in, and then just prepare mentally, and at the end of the day, once the whistle blew, I just tried to let it all go and do my best.”

Houston took control of the game quickly. After a few offside calls, the Dash found the opening goal in the 17th minute. Carrie Lawrence turned the ball over near midfield, and it took her a while to get up and recover. Brianna Visalli played a wide-open Mewis down Orlando’s right side, and Mewis sent in a perfect cross. Groom came flying into the box unmarked and headed in the game’s opening goal.

It was a scary moment a few minutes later. Lawrence took the ball to her stomach blocking a shot, and the trainers were immediately called onto the field. She was stretchered off the field and eventually brought to a hospital for precautionary reasons.

Abby Elinsky came on for the Lawrence. She took the right wing spot and Kristen Edmonds dropped to right back.

“I think with Kristen it just showed that we were comfortable in moving her around the field because we understood the base knowledge was there,” Skinner said. “Obviously, physically she gave everything tonight. She’s out on her feet at the end. So I was really, really pleased with her but I need my players to understand every position, and that’s going to be the ask of the players and the commitment to put it for next season. You have to give everything you have to give, but you have to understand the roles and responsibilities for everyone. And for 90 minutes, you’ve got to concentrate harder than the opposition, and you’ve got to work harder than them.”

Wilson made an excellent one-on-one save on a Latsko breakaway in the 26th minute. However, she was in the exact same position minutes later, and the Dash got the better end of it this time. Latsko made a run towards goal, and Orlando’s back line was lost. Ali Krieger stepped up to push Latsko off, but Edmonds kept the Dash forward on. Mewis played the perfect ball in, and Latsko rounded Wilson and easily scored to double Houston’s lead.

Houston led in every statistical category at the break except for fouls. Houston had 11 shots, four shots on target, and three corners — the Pride finished the half with goose eggs in all those categories. The visitors also held 63% possession. Skinner said that “the players weren’t happy with the first half.” He did not change much tactically, but instead spoke to the players about improving their mindset.

Orlando made one change to start the half. Plummer’s night was over, and Skinner brought on Pressley. The veteran’s presence was immediately felt as she helped bring Orlando back into the match.

Pressley sent a long ball up top. Edmonds then played Elinsky out wide. Elinsky sent in a low cross to the front post, and Leroux was the first one there. She emphatically sent it into the back of the net to cut Houston’s lead to 2-1 on the Pride’s first shot of the match.

“Yeah, it’s nice,” Leroux said of scoring her first goal since 2018. “I mean, I did spend a year pregnant. And then a year of not playing soccer, because of you know the whole coronavirus situation. So, I think it was nice. It’s been my second game — my proper second game — so I felt good. I feel fit. And I wish we had more time but unfortunately, it is what it is. So I’m excited to look ahead to next season and this next game coming up.”

Wilson made a spectacular save and then a blunder right before the hour mark. First, an unmarked Sophie Schmidt sent a great shot from outside the box destined for the top corner. Wilson got up and made a one-handed save that will likely be in the running for save of the week. Two minutes later, Mewis took a shot that should’ve been an easy save, but the Wilson spilled it. Luckily for the Pride, it went out for a corner.

The match was relatively uneventful after that moment. Both teams had a few chances, but Orlando only had one real opportunity to get that equalizer. Marta had an excellent chance to tie the game in the 77th minute. She was one-on-one with Jane Campbell, but she hit her shot at Campbell, making for an easy save from the ‘keeper.

Houston killed the game off late on. The Dash slowed the pace of play some and eventually took the ball into the corner, winning multiple corner kicks. It was a great improvement in the second half, but the Dash never looked like they were going to give up another goal.

In the second half, Orlando was outshot 9-5, but both teams had three shots on target, giving Houston a final margin of 20-5 (7-3 on target). Their passing accuracy increased from 63% to 67% in the second half, and possession was much closer (43%-57%). That gave Houston a final possession margin of 59.4%-40.6% and a passing accuracy edge of 78.1%-64.3%. The Pride conceded 10 corners in the match without winning a single one.

While it still was not spectacular, Orlando vastly improved in the second half and will look to build on that performance for the Pride’s final match of the NWSL Fall Series.

The Pride play in their first and only match of 2020 in Exploria Stadium on Oct. 17 when the North Carolina Courage come to Orlando in what is expected to be the season finale for both clubs. 

Orlando Pride

Big Summer Awaits Orlando Pride Internationals

Multiple Orlando Pride players have a chance to impress during the international break and later this summer.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Mark Thor

In front of more than 9,000 fans at Inter&Co Stadium Friday night, the Orlando Pride secured their NWSL-record eighth straight victory. The last time the Pride dropped points was the end of March, prior to the previous international break and before the arrival of Barbra Banda, who has eight goals in only six starts. 

After a busy period in the club calendar, most of the roster will get a well-deserved rest. For several players however, attention now turns to their respective national teams and important tune-up matches before a packed summer headlined by the Paris Olympics in July and the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in August and September. 

Orlando’s Global Stars

The Pride roster has often included big names, with Marta being a mainstay in Orlando for years now. After the addition of Banda early in the NWSL season, the Pride now boast a former Best FIFA Women’s Player and one of the top forwards in the world. These stars, and several others who play for the Pride, will likely hope that this summer brings glory in their national team colors before the NWSL playoffs start in the fall.

In the lead-up to the bright lights of the Summer Olympics, Orlando’s Brazilian contingent will head to Brazil for two friendly matches against Jamaica during this international break. Marta, Brazil’s all-time leading scorer at 116 goals, is joined by Rafaelle, the current captain of the national team, and Adriana for the brief trip home. Angelina, a recent regular for the Brazil squad with 23 appearances, is not with the team due to the injury she picked up several matches ago with the Pride.

The trio joining Brazil has a combined 299 appearances for As Canarinhas, including 175 appearances from Marta alone. As veterans of the national team, they will attempt to use this international break to build team cohesion and winning form as the Olympics approach.

For Marta, who has announced her upcoming retirement from international soccer at the end of 2024, playing in the Olympics gives her the opportunity to go out on top with a major trophy. While she doesn’t play quite as many minutes as she used to, she is a valuable leader for the team and a role model and spokeswoman for the sport as a whole.

From the other side of the Atlantic, the Pride’s newest addition, Banda, needs no introduction to the Olympics. In the Tokyo Olympics, she burst onto the world soccer scene with back-to-back hat tricks against the Netherlands and China. Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter described her performances at that tournament as one of the main reasons she brought Banda to Orlando.

Unfortunately for Banda, whose two goals in the final match of African Olympic qualifying clinched Zambia’s spot this summer, off-field issues may prevent Zambia’s inclusion in the tournament. Earlier this year, leaders within Zambian football were arrested for monetary crimes committed in their national team roles, and FIFA has threatened Zambia with suspension from world football. It would be a true shame for the Zambian players, Pride fans, and soccer fans worldwide if Banda is prevented from challenging for an Olympic medal due to the misconduct of her football association’s leaders.

USWNT Hopefuls

Despite the incredible start to the season by the Pride, Orlando’s domestic players are currently on the outside looking in when it comes to the United States Women’s National Team. The senior USWNT roster for the current international break did not feature any Pride players, which has been a recurring theme since the departures of Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan, Ali Krieger, and Ashlyn Harris. 

The good news for Orlando’s USWNT hopefuls is the official introduction of Emma Hayes, as the new USWNT head coach will bring new eyes to the national team roster. Should the Pride continue to dominate in the NWSL, several of the American players might force Hayes to take a closer look and evaluate who deserves a spot in upcoming camps ahead of the Olympics. 

Of the current Pride roster, Emily Sams, Kerry Abello, and Morgan Gautrat may be closest to national team selection. Sams, a 24-year-old stalwart for a strong defensive unit, has been garnering attention as one of the best players yet to make an appearance in the Red, White & Blue. Considering her age and growth on the pitch, it may just be a matter of time for Sams. Abello, who is also 24, is another younger player who could be a useful depth player for the U.S. due to her versatility on the left side of the pitch. Both Sams and Abello have participated in U.S. Youth National Team camps and should, at the very least, be watched carefully by Hayes and her staff. 

Gautrat, on the other hand, has appeared extensively for the USWNT, with 88 career appearances, most recently in the 2022 SheBelieves Cup. Injuries have been the biggest contributor to her falling out of the USWNT, and she has continued to struggle maintaining full fitness with Orlando. If she is able to recover fully and appear more regularly for the Pride, playing at her best could give herself a shot at the Olympic roster.

Youth Movement

Before players appear for their senior national teams, they often shine for their respective youth teams. Orlando’s roster includes three young players that have been selected recently for youth team events: 19-year-old Amanda Allen, 20-year-old Ally Lemos, and 21-year-old Evelina Duljan. All three regularly participate in camps and friendly matches for their respective U-20 and U-23 squads. 

Duljan has yet to feature for the Pride after signing from Juventus in preseason, but she has played at most youth levels for Sweden. This week, she traveled home to Sweden for a flurry of matches, as her U-23 team plays Austria, Poland, and Germany in quick succession. For Duljan, three matches equals three chances to impress Orlando staff in competitive play in hopes of getting her first minutes for the Pride.

For Allen and Lemos, this summer will include the unique opportunity to participate in the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, which runs from August to September in Colombia. Allen is well regarded by the Canadian national team, already having made a senior appearance. Lemos, for her part, was among the youngest players ever taken in the NWSL Draft and has featured in nine of 11 matches for the Pride, with two starts. Both players could gain an immense amount of experience and exposure if they participate in the U-20 World Cup this fall, but it is unknown at this time if the Pride will allow them to miss club matches for this experience, although the club has not typically held players out of international competitions in the past. 

While Pride fans love to watch their favorite club, the players often get something extra from representing their country. This summer gives a handful of players the opportunity to compete on the world stage. With so many players featuring regularly for their national teams, Orlando Pride players may have a big say in who takes home the gold, silver, or bronze medals.

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Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride vs. Portland Thorns FC: Final Score 2-1 as Barbra Banda Brace Lifts Pride to Eighth Straight Win

The Pride used a Barbra Banda brace to defeat the Portland Thorns 2-1 for their eighth straight win.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Mark Thor

The Orlando Pride (8-0-3, 27 points) won their record-setting eighth straight game by defeating the Portland Thorns (6-4-1, 19 points) 2-1 tonight at Inter&Co Stadium. Barbra Branda’s first-half brace gave the hosts a 2-0 lead that they took into the second period of play. The Thorns got one back through Izzy D’Aquila, but it wasn’t enough as the Pride claimed all three points.

Pride Head Coach Seb Hines made two changes to the starting lineup that beat the Seattle Reign 3-2 on Sunday. Morgan Gautrat returned to the lineup, replacing Ally Lemos, and Julie Doyle replaced Summer Yates, who was out with an illness.

The back line in front of Anna Moorhouse remained the same with Kerry Abello, Kylie Strom, Rafaelle, and Emily Sams. Gautrat and Haley McCutcheon were in the defensive midfield behind Doyle, Marta, and Adriana with Banda up top.

It was a slow start to this game as the two teams tried to find ways to break down the opposition in the first 10 minutes. However, the Pride dominated the remainder of the first half, taking a 2-0 lead into halftime. The Thorns made two halftime changes and it made a difference as they created more chances than in the first 45 minutes. They got a goal back in the 71st minute and nearly scored on multiple other occasions. But the Pride were able to hold on.

The Pride had the first decent attack of the game in the 10th minute. It started with an excellent long ball across the field from Rafaelle to Doyle and the midfielder’s cross was blocked by Becky Sauerbrunn. The ball landed at the feet of McCutcheon and she attempted a shot, but Hina Sugita was there to block it. The Pride recirculated the ball, resulting in Adriana finding Marta at the top of the box, but the captain’s attempt was blocked by Kelli Hubly.

In the 17th minute, a bad touch by Christine Sinclair enabled Rafaelle to take possession and find Marta at the top of the box. The Brazilian fired from distance and the ball bounced off the chest of Thorns goalkeeper Shelby Hogan for the first save of the game.

Marta took another shot in the 24th minute when Doyle lifted the ball over a pair of defenders, looking for her teammate on the far side of the six-yard box. It was far enough for Marta to control and get a shot off, but Hubly stayed in front and blocked the attempt.

In the 26th minute, Adriana played a great ball forward to Banda, enabling her to get into the box. Hubly got in front of the striker and defended her well, knocking the ball out of play. Marta’s ensuing corner kick was cleared out, but only to Abello who played it back outside for Marta. The captain found Strom with space in the box, but the center back’s shot was wide of the target.

The Pride won another corner kick in the 29th minute and this one resulted in the game’s opening goal. Abello’s cross was cleared behind goal by Hubly for a corner kick. Marta took the set piece, sending it to the far side of the six-yard box. Gautrat got her head to it, sending the ball to the center of the box. Rafaelle’s shot on goal was blocked, but the ball went right to Banda, who put it in to give the Pride a 1-0 lead.

Immediately after the goal, the teams went to the sidelines for a hydration break. When play resumed, the Thorns got their first chance of the game. It came from a mistake when a pass back to Rafaelle was misplayed, enabling Olivia Moultrie to take over. The teenager took a couple of dribbles before shooting, sending the attempt straight to Moorhouse.

In the 35th minute, Janine Beckie made a run down the right and attempted to play Moultrie behind the Pride defense. Moultrie had a step on Rafaelle, but the pass was too close to Moorhouse, enabling the Pride goalkeeper to collect it.

The Pride doubled their lead in the 40th minute when Marta sent a long ball forward for Banda. Dribbling into the Thorns box, Hubly caught up with the striker and blocked her initial shot. However, Banda recovered, dribbled around Hogan, and touched the ball in for an easy second goal of the night.

The goal saw Banda net her third brace of the year and her second brace in two games after she scored twice against the Seattle Reign on Sunday. It was her eighth goal of the season, tying her for the league lead with Sophia Smith. However, while Smith has scored eight goals in 10 games, Banda has done it in seven.

“I’m so happy to be part of that. I’m happy to help her score goals because, at the end of the day, it’s good for the team,” Marta said about Banda’s brace. “We were missing some players like that a few years ago, and we created a lot of chances, but most of the chances didn’t result in goals. This year, we have her here, she showed up from the first game, and really, really wants to help this team. She showed hunger every single game. And, for us, it’s very good because she’s fast, she’s strong, and then we just need to find a pass.”

“Building that chemistry has probably happened quicker than we might have thought,” Hines said about the chemistry between Banda and Marta. “But she finds a way and it’s brilliant to see. Even the second goal today, you would feel like the chance is gone but she finds a way to find the back of their net.”

After scoring twice, Banda nearly got an assist in the 43rd minute when a pair of defenders closed her down, leaving McCutcheon free to her right. The defensive midfielder controlled the ball and shot, but it was too close to Hogan.

The Thorns got their second shot in the second minute of first-half stoppage time when a long ball into the box was cleared by Abello. The clearance went right to Jessie Fleming, who quickly shot, but it was well over the target.

The final chance of the first half came a minute later when Rafaelle was called for a foul on Sugita. It gave the visitors a free kick in the Pride’s final third, their first set piece of the game in a dangerous position. Sam Coffey sent the ball into the box and Sauerbrunn got her head to it, but sent the redirection over the goal. The halftime whistle blew immediately after the miss, sending the Pride into the locker room up 2-0.

At halftime, the Thorns had more possession (54%-46%) and better passing accuracy (85%-83%), but the Pride had more shots (14-3), shots on target (13-1), corner kicks (3-0), and crosses (10-5).

“We had mentioned that two halves are never the same. 2-0 is a very dangerous score line as well,” Hines said about his halftime message. “The next goal can be the defining factor.”

Right after the halftime whistle, Banda went down and rubbed her leg. As a result, Hines made one halftime change, replacing Banda with Ally Watt.

The Pride had the first chance of the second half in the 52nd minute when Doyle played McCutcheon to the end line and Coffey knocked the ball out of play. The first corner kick by Marta was blocked back to her and her second cross was knocked out of play by Sinclair. The second corner kick found the head of Rafaelle beyond the back post, but her header was high and wide of the target.

The Thorns quickly went the other way off the goal kick with Moultrie sending Beckie down the right. The midfielder played a great ball to Sinclair, who had gotten behind Rafaelle, but her attempt to redirect the ball on target was unsuccessful, sending it over the crossbar.

In the 56th minute, Doyle sent a long and low ball forward for Watt. The speedy striker beat Sauerbrunn to the pass and sent a shot towards goal, but right to Hogan.

Two minutes later, Adriana used some crafty footwork to beat Nicole Payne and shot for the near post. She felt that Hogan had blocked it out for a corner kick, but referee Ekaterina Koroleva determined that the ball went directly into the side netting and issued the Thorns a goal kick.

It appeared as though the Pride would have a corner kick in the 60th minute when Marta sent a dangerous ball towards goal. It looked like Hogan pushed the shot wide, but Koroleva said Marta was the last to touch it, much to her dismay.

Marta caused more havoc for the Thorns defense on the left, beginning with a dangerous cross in the 65th minute. She was looking for Watt, who was making a diagonal run to the near post. But Sauerbrunn beat her to it and cleared the ball out of play.

A minute later, Marta was played forward on the left and sent a dangerous ball across the face of goal. Watt made the slightest of touches, attempting to redirect inside the far post, but didn’t get enough on it and the ball went out of play.

On the other end, the Thorns had a chance in the 68th minute when Beckie played a nice through ball, sending D’Aquila behind the back line. The substitute’s first touch was a shot, but Moorhouse did well to come out and block the attempt.

Shortly after the stop, Hines made his second change of the game. Cori Dyke came into the game for Doyle.

The visitors got a goal back in the 71st minute through a nice individual effort by Moultrie. The U.S. international beat her defender to the end line and found D’Aquila wide open in the box. It was an easy finish for the substitute, cutting the Pride lead to 2-1.

The Pride’s third substitution came in the 76th minute. It was a defensive move as Brianna Martinez came into the game for Gautrat.

Watt went down in the 79th minute and required attention from the Pride medical staff. In the meantime, the players went to the benches for water and instructions. When Watt was up and play resumed, Ana Dias sent a dangerous ball towards the back post. D’Aquila was in the area, but couldn’t get on the end of it.

A minute later, Sugita created enough space to send the ball towards goal. Moorhouse initially looked like she would have to make a stop, but the ball curled away and went out for goal kick.

The Thorns came close to equalizing in the 84th minute when Moultrie lifted the ball forward. Dias was between Rafaelle and Strom, but got her head to it. Moorhouse was indecisive about whether to come out and it nearly cost her. Fortunately, the header was off the crossbar and the Pride were able to clear.

The final two changes for the Pride came in the 87th minute. Ally Lemos and Amanda Allen entered the game for Abello and Adriana.

In the 90th minute, Lemos pulled Sugita back while the Thorns midfielder looked to enter the Pride box. She was issued a yellow card and Portland had a free kick in a dangerous position. Moultrie sent the set piece towards the far post where Dias met it with her head. However, the attempt was wide of the target.

The fourth official showed five minutes of second-half stoppage time, but the Thorns couldn’t take advantage. The only shot came in the fifth minute when Moultrie took a shot from outside of the box. McCutcheon blocked the attempt and the Pride won the game 2-1.

At full time, the Thorns had more possession (55%-45%) and crosses (22-17) with better passing accuracy (84%-81%). The Pride had more shots (22-13), shot on target (16-6), and corner kicks (7-2).

“Listen, they’re a top team. They were six games unbeaten coming into this game,” Hines said about the game. “They should be looking at the top of the table with the roster that they have. They’ve got internationals all over, they’ve got players who have won the league as well. So it was always going to be different in that second half. And I think how we started the second half, we started a little bit surprised.”

“I thought after that first 10 minutes for the second half, we settled, we started moving the ball really well,” he continued. “We also created some really good opportunities to score as well. And I think if we had got that third goal, we probably would’ve put our minds at rest towards the end. But this team thinks deep. You know, to get it over the line towards the end, that’s really, really encouraging and it’s something that we’ve done all season which is pleasing that we didn’t stop that today.”

The Pride win snapped a six-game winning streak by the Thorns and was the Pride’s eighth consecutive win, setting a new NWSL record. However, the Pride have bigger things in mind as they contend for the first trophy in team history.

“It’s a great feeling,” Hines said about the record. “I’ll be honest, it’ll probably be short lived because we’ve got bigger goals we’ve set this season and objectives that we want to reach this season. But yeah, of course it’s a nice feeling. It’s great to do it in front of our fans, our home fans who have supported us through the tough times and just glad that we’re rewarding them for their support by having this record and setting a new record for the NWSL. But a lot of credit has to go to the players and the support staff because, without them, we wouldn’t have been able to achieve this today.”

“Proud,” McCutcheon added. “ I think I even said that tonight from last year to this year. We knew we were building something special but just to have something in the history books is something that I didn’t think would happen so soon. And so yeah, we’re thrilled but we’re not satisfied. We want to keep pushing for the ultimate goal at the end of the season.”

Much was made about the Pride going after a new league record heading into this game. However, they’re still looking to maintain their spot at the top of the NWSL standings.

“I think it’s about mentality more. Keep a hard mentality, very strong,” Marta said about the team moving forward. “And, like I say, we need to keep on playing our way, make our way, find a way when we don’t have it together. And we can’t start to think about the other teams. We need to think about ourselves. We need to repeat every single thing that we did good in this game. And improve, improve more and more. Don’t be satisfied.”

The NWSL will take a break next weekend for internationals before returning the following weekend. The Pride will take the field next on June 7 when they travel west to take on San Diego Wave FC.

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Orlando Pride

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

The Pride look for a league-record eighth straight win as they welcome the Portland Thorns to town.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Mark Thor

Welcome to your match thread as the Orlando Pride (7-0-3, 24 points) welcome the Portland Thorns (6-3-1, 19 points) to Inter&Co Stadium. This is the first of two times these teams will face off, with the return game in Oregon scheduled for Oct. 11.

Here’s everything you need to know about tonight’s game.


The Pride have struggled historically against the Thorns, with a record of 3-13-2 in 18 games (3-12-2 in league play and 0-1-0 in the playoffs). They’re 2-5-2 in Orlando against tonight’s opponent, all in regular-season matchups.

The most recent meeting between the two teams came on June 11, 2023 in Orlando. Sophia Smith gave the visitors the lead in the 20th minute, but the Pride took over after that. Adriana scored a brace and Messiah Bright’s 69th-minute strike lifted the Pride to a 3-1 win.  On March 26 at Providence Park, Morgan Weaver and Smith opened the scoring inside 22 minutes. Hina Sugita made it three, and Michele Vasconcelos wrapped up the scoring as the Thorns won 4-0.

The teams met twice in 2022, with the first coming on Sept. 9 at Exploria Stadium. Yazmeen Ryan gave the visitors the lead and Sugita doubled the advantage as the Thorns won 2-0. That was the second meeting of the season after the teams met on June 19 in Portland. In Seb Hines’ second game as interim head coach, the Thorns smashed the Pride, 6-0.

The teams met earlier in the year during the 2021 season, playing on May 26 in Orlando. The Pride won for only the second time against Portland since the team’s inception. The Pride won 2-1 and Orlando’s goals came from Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux.

The second meeting that year came on July 18 in Portland, and the home team won again. Smith gave the hosts the lead and Marissa Everett doubled the advantage. Marisa Vigginao got one back in second-half stoppage time, but it wasn’t enough as the Thorns won, 2-1.

They met a third time on Aug. 14. The Pride took an early lead when Courtney Petersen found Jodie Taylor for the opening goal. But Simone Charley equalized and the teams drew 1-1.

The Pride and Thorns didn’t play in 2020 after the season was canceled due to the global pandemic and they weren’t in the same group for the NWSL Fall Series. As a result, the most recent meeting prior to 2021 was in 2019.

The teams opened the 2019 season against each other in Orlando, but the Thorns got the better of the clash. The game was decided on either side of halftime as Caitlin Foord scored just before the break and Tobin Heath scored four minutes after the restart, lifting their team to a 2-0 win. They met again in Orlando on May 11 and the visitors won again. Toni Pressley gave the Pride an early lead, but it was all Portland after that. Dagny Brynjarsdottir equalized, Andressinha gave Portland the lead, and Foord finished it off.

The final meeting between the two in 2019 was a goal fest in Portland and another Thorns win. Hayley Raso gave the visitors the lead just three minutes into the game and Midge Purce’s goal made it look like it would be a dominant performance by the hosts. But Marta got one back to make it 2-1. Christine Sinclair made it 3-1, followed by a Thorns own goal by Emily Menges. It looked like the Pride would get a rare point through Erin Greening’s 90th-minute goal, but Tyler Lussi scored in second-half injury time, dooming the Pride to another loss in Oregon.

The teams faced off three times in 2018, which featured the Pride’s lone win in Portland. The Thorns won the first game, 2-1 on April 15. But on May 12, goals by Morgan and Christine Nairn gave the Pride a 2-0 lead. Sinclair got one back for the hosts, but the Pride held on for their only result at Providence Park. The third meeting went back to usual, with the Thorns winning 2-0 through Lindsey Horan and Raso.

The teams started the 2017 season against each other in Portland with the Thorns winning 2-0. They met again in the penultimate game of the season in Orlando, ending in a scoreless draw. The most important game between the two teams was the Pride’s only playoff appearance. Unfortunately, it was all Portland, as the Thorns beat the Pride 4-1.

The first meeting of 2016 was the Pride’s first-ever game. Steph Catley gave the visitors a surprising lead, but Brynjarsdottir equalized and Horan won it for Portland. They met again on June 26 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. Two second-half goals by Brynjarsdottir and Horan lifted the Thorns to another 2-1 win.


The Pride are currently the hottest team — not just in the NWSL this season — but in league history. After drawing their first three games, they’ve won an astounding seven straight. Their 3-2 win over Seattle Reign FC Sunday tied the league record for most consecutive wins in NWSL history. Tonight, they’ll look to set a new league record and maintain their place atop the league standings.

Prior to last weekend’s win, the Pride had won back-to-back 1-0 games against Racing Louisville and Bay FC, both at home. In the team’s six home games this season, it has only scored multiple goals once, a 4-1 win over the North Carolina Courage on May 1. Despite the lack of goals at home, the Pride have drawn twice and won four times.

Standing in the Pride’s way of a new NWSL record are the Portland Thorns, a perennial powerhouse in the league. Once again this season, the Thorns are a team to be reckoned with. While they’re not at the top of the standings, they’re currently fourth and five points behind the Pride. Portland has a streak of its own, winning their last six. This will be the first match in NWSL history between two teams that are each on a winning streak greater than four games.

As expected, the Thorns are one of the best offensive teams in the league. Their 23 goals rank second behind the Kansas City Current. While they’re less successful defensively than the Pride, both teams have a positive goal differential of nine, second best in the league.

The biggest attacking threat for the Thorns is Smith, whose eight goals and six assists lead the team. Olivia Moultrie and Janine Beckie are tied for second with three goals, Sinclair, Payton Linnehan, and Sam Coffey have two goals each, and Weaver, Sugita, and Ana Dias have all scored one so far this year.

While the Thorns have conceded 14 goals this season, they gave up five in the opening game of the season against the Current. Since then, they haven’t given up more than two goals in a game, something that has occurred three times. Fortunately for the Pride, they’ve shown an ability this season to win low scoring and high-scoring affairs. They’ll need to continue that tonight in order to win their eighth straight game.

“It’s two teams who are on a winning streak and two teams that want to continue that winning streak as well,” Pride Head Coach Seb Hines said about tonight’s game. “Listen, it’s a big game for us. It’s going to be a tough game for us. Portland are one of the best teams in this league. You look around their roster, they’ve got internationals all over. So it’s a good challenge for us and we’re embracing it. Every game we’re embracing it. And it will be nice to do it in front of our home fans on Friday.”

The Pride have one addition to tonight’s availability report. Angelina (knee), Celia (hip), Simone Charley (leg), Luana (illness), Megan Montefusco (heel), and Viviana Villacorta (knee) are joined by Summer Yates (illness). The Thorns will be without Gabby Provenzano (Achilles), Bella Bixby (maternity leave), and Morgan Weaver (knee).

Official Lineups

Orlando Pride (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Anna Moorhouse.

Defenders: Kerry Abello, Kylie Strom, Rafaelle, Emily Sams.

Defensive Midfielders: Morgan Gautrat, Haley McCutcheon.

Midfielders: Julie Doyle, Marta, Adriana.

Forward: Barbra Banda.

Bench: McKinley Crone, Ally Watt, Amanda Allen, Ally Lemos, Mariana Larroquette, Alex Kerr, Carrie Lawrence, Brianna Martinez, Cori Dyke.

Portland Thorns FC (4-3-3)

Goalkeeper: Shelby Hogan.

Defenders: Marie Muller, Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelli Hubly, Reyna Reyes.

Midfielders: Hina Sugita, Jessie Fleming, Sam Coffey.

Forwards: Olivia Moultrie, Christine Sinclair, Janine Beckie.

Bench: Emily Alvarado, Isabella Obaze, Meghan Klingenberg, Nicole Payne, Olivia Wade-Katoa, Payton Linnehan, Marissa Sheva, Ana Dias, Izzy D’Aquila.


REF: Ekaterina Koroleva.
AR1: Matthew Rodman.
AR2: Joe Suchoski.
4TH: Wes Caouette.
VAR: Karen Coulson.
AVAR: Maggie Short.

How to Watch

Match Time: 7 p.m.

Venue: Inter&Co Stadium — Orlando.

TV: Bally Sports Florida.

Streaming: NWSL+.

Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, follow @TheManeLand and the Orlando Pride’s official Twitter feed (@ORLPride).

Enjoy the match. Go Pride!

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