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Orlando Pride vs. Racing Louisville FC: Five Takeaways



The Orlando Pride tied Racing Louisville FC 2-2 in both teams’ first match of the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup. It was a wet and rainy match that saw back-and-forth action. The Pride were poor to start the game, and the hosts took full advantage of it. However, Orlando was able to get back into it, looked much better in the second half, and eventually went up 2-1 thanks to goals from rookies Taylor Kornieck and Abi Kim. Louisville equalized from a set piece in stoppage time in what ruined what would have been the first come-from-behind win in Marc Skinner’s tenure. 

Here are the takeaways from the match: 

Marta Magic? 

The Brazilian is one of the greatest players to ever play the game. Many times she has pulled Orlando back into matches on her own during her time with the Pride. But the Marta on Saturday night looked different. There could be any number of reasons why, but Marta had a poor outing. Defensively, she failed to make an impact and constantly missed tackles. She looked slow in transitions and frequently got outmuscled. 

Even more shocking was in possession. Marta is known for keeping possession and using extraordinary foot skills to spark attacks. This was not the case on Saturday. She gave the ball up many times throughout the game, and that Marta Magic was never on display, although she was a part of starting the build-up on the winning goal. 

Hopefully, this was just a one-off game, and she will be back to her usual self on Wednesday. It was not a night to remember, but even the best players have a poor game every now and then. 

The Kornieck Effect 

Kornieck was the best player on the field. She created many chances for Orlando and got the Pride back into the match with a terrific header goal. 

She conceded four fouls — more than any other player on the field — but that was due to a combination of questionable officiating at times, combined with her size. Skinner talked about this after the match. He said she naturally will be called for fouls in many cases because of her strength. Apart from getting her goal, she also made a few good runs and helped out attacks with her passing. 

After the game, Kornieck talked about how going on loan to Germany helped her. She would not have been the same player without that experience. 

“It just really helped me mature as a player and a person off the field,” said Kornieck. “So I think that was definitely a really important thing for me in my life, and it definitely carried on into the NWSL, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that opportunity.”

Gameday Conditions Were Suboptimal

After the game, both Skinner and Ali Riley talked about the conditions in the match. Something they both commented on was the weather. From the TV, it looked like hurricane conditions out there. From the players’ perspective, it seemed they felt the same. 

“It was crazy,” Riley said of the weather. “We trained on the field last night. It was so hot, it was so dry, and the grass is really thick. The ball doesn’t move, same in the warm up. Obviously, as players, we take responsibility for the type of shoes we’re wearing, but I don’t see how we could have predicted that this was going to happen. Just from the moment I first slipped on [the field] — they told us we’re going to have a water break because it was so hot. So we’re like trying to get the shoes ready, so we could switch, and then, of course, with the pouring rain, we didn’t have the water break. So we switched at halftime, and it felt a lot better, and then, of course, the rain stopped.

“Ash was just saying the wind and the rain was just straight in our eyes in that first half. It was really wild. It definitely affected the game. But of course, they’re experiencing the same thing. But the slipping, as a defender, you hate to see it.”

The conditions of the field were not perfect either. Both Riley and Skinner were not impressed. 

“What you probably can’t see, it looks really nice, and it is — it’s a super pitch — but the grass is a little bit longer. And then with the rain, which is a torrential downpour, it kind of made it quicker at moments and slower at other moments. So I don’t think the players got a rhythm of the pitch.”

These factors seemed to impact the Pride early on in the match. They could be reasons why they started out so slowly. They did improve throughout the game, and, as Riley said, Louisville had to fight through the same conditions, so it should not be an excuse. 

Transition Moments Favored the Hosts

Skinner said in the NWSL, “it’s whoever manages the transition best will win.” The Pride did not manage the transitions well on Saturday. Louisville did not threaten much overall, except in transition moments.

The first goal was directly from a transition. First, Konya Plummer sent the ball to nobody down the right wing. The Pride were able to regroup and win the ball back before Kornieck turned it over. After her errant pass, the team froze. It was just for about one second, but in that second, Emily Fox had enough time to scan the field and see Cece Kizer. 

Before that, Plummer turned the ball over while attempting to dribble. Phoebe McClernon did well to close down the ball, but Louisville was able to find the open player, and if not for Ashlyn Harris’ heroics, it would have been the opening goal. 

Moments like this continued throughout the game. While the Pride overall improved as the match went on, they were still left vulnerable in transitions. 

Pride Show A New Central Defense 

Plummer and McClernon both started in central defense on Saturday night. The beginning of the match was not great for the pair. They looked a step off from the start of the match and gave the Louisville attackers too much space. On the first goal, they were late in reacting. Kizer made a straight run down the middle of the field. Both were slow in seeing the play happen, and it was an easy finish. 

After the slow start, the pair picked it up. They were excellent in the second half and gave up few chances. After the match, Skinner talked about how there will be some growing pains. The pair have a combined age of 46. McClernon made her NWSL debut, while it was Plummer’s second start. While it took time for them to grow into the game, the fact that they ended up playing well, especially in the second half, is a very positive sign. 

“They’re 23 years old, so they have to be birthed and they have to be given an opportunity to succeed,” said Skinner about Plummer and McClernon. “We’ll assess everybody’s performance but I can’t ask any more of them tonight. They gave everything and they will grow definitely from tonight.”

Orlando Pride

2023 Orlando Pride Season in Review: Emily Madril

The first-year defender played almost every single minute available in the 2023 season.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Mark Thor

The Orlando Pride selected former Florida State defender Emily Madril with the No. 3 overall selection in the 2023 NWSL Draft. The 5-foot-7 Navarre, FL native decided to forego her last season of eligibility in Tallahassee to begin her professional career. A two-time national champion (2018 and 2021), Madril left FSU, signing a contract with the National Women’s Soccer League through 2025 and was loaned to Swedish side BK Hacken FF.

Following a standout first NWSL season in which she played all but three minutes in the regular season, Madril was rewarded by the Pride with a new contract through 2026.

Let’s take a look at her first season with the Orlando Pride.

Statistical Breakdown

Madril started all 22 of the Pride’s regular-season games in 2023, leading all rookies in minutes played (1,977), and coming off only moments before the end of the club’s season finale against the Houston Dash when the Pride were desperately trying to score a game winner to stay in playoff contention. The defender did not record a goal or an assist on the season, attempting just one shot, which was off target. Madril completed 814 of her 953 passes (85.4%), 46 of her 103 long passes (44.7%), and one of her three crosses, while recording five key passes. There wasn’t much drop-off in her passing rate related to position on the field, as Madril completed 88.7% of her passes in the defensive half and 75.6% in the attacking half. Defensively, she added 19 blocks and 19 interceptions, won 17 of her 28 tackles (60.7%), and was successful on 76 of her 122 duels (62.3%). She also won 54.5% of her 33 aerial duels. She won 23 fouls while conceding only nine and was booked twice during the regular season.

In the NWSL Challenge Cup, Madril appeared in five of the team’s six matches (all starts), and played 450 minutes. She did not score a goal or assist on one and did not attempt a shot. She completed 193 of her 224 passes (86.2%), including 13 of her 25 long passes (52%). Madril passed at an 89% rate in her own half and a 78.3% in the attacking half, recording one key pass, but not attempting a cross in the competition. She recorded 10 blocks and four interceptions on defense, winning 55.6% of her tackle attempts, 68.1% of her duels, and 71.4% of her aerial duels. She committed five fouls, drawing six on the opposition, and was not booked in the tournament.

Best Game

With a number of standout games to choose from, I’ll go with the Pride’s 1-0 win over OL Reign on July 7. Paired with Megan Montefusco as the center back tandem, Madril and her teammates limited the Reign to just five shot attempts (two on target) across the 90+ minutes of the game. Madril had 55 touches and completed 89.1% of her 46 passes. She recorded two tackles and drew two fouls on her opponents while not committing any. Madril and her teammates helped Messiah Bright’s 16th-minute strike hold up over the remainder of the match without constantly being under siege. It was a complete performance and one of the team’s best defensive efforts of the year. It was also just the Pride’s second win ever against OL Reign.

2023 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff gave Madril a composite rating of 6.5 for the 2023 season. There were several shaky moments early in the year for the first-year NWSL defender that prevented that score from rising higher (such as conceding a penalty against Angel City), but as the season progressed and she became more comfortable with Seb Hines’ system, the league, and her teammates, Madril was a solid player on the Pride’s back line. She showed her versatility in being able to play both center back positions as well as right back for a couple of matches. A 6.5 is a good rating for a first-year NWSL center back, and Madril showed that she has the potential to develop into one of the league’s best defenders.

2024 Outlook

Madril is obviously highly regarded by the organization and has a huge upside. She has expressed on multiple occasions how happy she is to be with the Pride, and I would expect her to be in Orlando until/unless the Pride get an offer they can’t refuse from a bigger club or if Madril decides to leave once she’s eligible for free agency. Madril should be a starter on the back line for the Pride in 2024 barring something unforseen.

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Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride Sign Defender Emily Madril to New Contract

The center back signs a new three-year deal, keeping her in Orlando through 2026.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Mark Thor

The Orlando Pride announced today that the club has signed starting center back Emily Madril to a new three-year contract. The defender originally signed a three-year deal with the NWSL, running through the 2025 season, but this new contract will keep her in Orlando through 2026.

“I had a great rookie year here and had so much fun and love everyone in the Orlando Pride organization,” Madril said in a club press release. “The chemistry that we have in the locker room between all the girls and the entire coaching staff is just amazing and played a big factor in me wanting to stay here in Orlando. I am so excited to be a part of the Pride for the future and continue to be a part of the special thing we are building here.” 

After leaving Florida State University following her junior season, Madril signed a three-year contract with the NWSL and went on loan to Swedish Damallsvenskan side BK Hacken. The Pride drafted the defender with the third overall selection in the 2023 NWSL Draft, immediately putting her into the starting lineup.

Madril initially started alongside Caitlin Cosme at center back, before being joined by Megan Montefusco and, eventually, Rafaelle. She showed her versatility on two occasions, starting at right back.

The Boise, ID native started all 22 regular-season games for the Pride, recording a rookie-leading 1,977 minutes, and she only came off late in the season finale against the Houston Dash when the Pride needed a goal. She completed 814 of her 953 passes (85.4%), 46 of her 103 long passes (44.7%), and took one off-target shot. Defensively, she added 19 blocks and 19 interceptions, won 17 of her 28 tackles (60.7%), and was successful on 76 of her 122 duels (62.3%).

Madril also played in five of the team’s six Challenge Cup games, recording 450 minutes. She completed 193 of 224 passes in those games (86.2%) and 13 of 25 long balls (52%). She continued to be a key defensive presence in those midseason cup matches, recording 10 blocks and four interceptions, as well as winning 10 of her 18 tackles (55.6%) and 32 of her 47 duels (68.1%).

“Emily came in and made an immediate impact, just as we expected she would when we drafted her,” Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter said in the club’s release. “She was a reliable presence in our back line throughout the entire season and showed her potential to be one of the best defenders in the league. Her maturity and professionalism shined throughout the entire year, and we are very happy to be able to have her with the Pride for the years to come. She is an important part of what we are building here, and she wants to be a part of it, which we are very excited about.” 

Madril has also had a presence for the United States at the international level, receiving call-ups for the U-19, U-20, and U-23 U.S. Women’s National Teams.

What It Means for Orlando

Madril was a key piece of the Pride’s team in 2023 and the club hopes she’ll be for a long time to come. She showed early on that she can become one of the best defenders in the NWSL and her time at right back indicated she has the versatility valued by Carter and Pride Head Coach Seb Hines.

The 24-year-old was already signed to a three-year deal through the 2025 season, so this keeps her in Orlando for an additional year. Terms were not disclosed, but it’s likely she got a raise as well. If she continues to improve on how she played this season, the Pride will undoubtedly look to extend her even further into the future. For next year, she’ll likely continue starting alongside Rafaelle, making up a formidable center back pairing the club can count on.

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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.

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