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Orlando Pride vs. Racing Louisville FC: Final Score 2-2 as Late Set Piece Turns Win Into Draw



The Orlando Pride have never come from behind to win a match in the Marc Skinner era. For a mere five minutes, it looked like that would change after Abi Kim scored in the 88th minute. But Brooke Hendrix found the equalizer in stoppage time, and the Pride tied Racing Louisville FC, 2-2. Taylor Kornieck and Kim both scored their first NWSL goals, and Meggie Dougherty Howard earned two assists in her first game with the Pride.

“We’ll take a result,” Skinner said after the match. “We always knew we were going to fight against the crowd as well as the team that we’re going to play against. It will just increase and get better as we go throughout the games. It’s risky because it’s so early.

“I’m really pleased with how the players came from behind showed resilience that we’re trying to work on them for. You know, we’re disappointed to give a goal at the end but take nothing away from Louisville, and the event tonight was a good experience for everyone.”

There were few surprises in Skinner’s starting XI. Ashlyn Harris started in net. In front of her were Phoebe McClernon and Konya Plummer in central defense, with Ali Krieger at right back and Ali Riley on the left. Dougherty Howard slotted in at center defensive midfield with Jade Moore. Marisa Viggiano, Kornieck, and Marta played above them, with Sydney Leroux as the lone striker. Viggiano, Kornieck, and Marta rotated positions throughout the game.

It was back-and-forth action to start the match. Each team had a few chances. Just two minutes in, Leroux fired a shot just over the bar in the first good look for either team. In the fourth minute, Louisville probably should’ve gone ahead, but Harris got the better of Yuki Nagasato from close range.

The breakthrough came in the 12th minute. A wonderful through ball from Emily Fox saw Cece Kizer all alone. She then did well to slot the ball behind Harris for the home side’s first-ever goal. After the goal, Harris talked to her defenders, presumably about giving the Louisville forwards too much space.

Leroux had a call for a penalty kick in the 42nd minute. She was running towards goal with Brooke Hendrix fighting to defend. The two players used their bodies to get to the ball. The attack ended with them both on the ground. It’s hard to tell if there was any foul there, but Leroux clearly was not happy with the no-call.

The Pride tied things up two minutes after that. Viggiano did well to steal the ball from Fox in the right corner, then found Dougherty Howard at the corner of the box. Dougherty Howard sent in a great cross, and Kornieck powered the header off the right post and in for the equalizer.

“It just felt so amazing,” said Kornieck. “Me and Meggie have an insane connection. She just put a ball up, right in the perfect place for me, and it just felt so incredible to finally get the first goal, break the ice, and it’s just a surreal moment for me.”

That goal was created by two Pride debutants. Dougherty Howard got her first assist with Orlando, while Kornieck scored her first NWSL goal.

Kornieck was the most threatening player for Orlando. She used her physical stature well but was also impressive with her feet. She started a few half-chances and was a focal point to the Pride in the midfield. Defensively she did well to fight to win the ball back.

“I think [Kornieck] was great,” said Skinner. “I think one of the things we’re gonna have to balance is that that some of these stronger challenges where it’s body to body, she’s going to be given fouls against. When really it’s just her strength and inner ability to do that. I thought she was excellent in terms of being some of the right places the right times. There are things that she’s going to have to keep continuing to work on. And she’s only going to get that through experience, but what she did show for the goal was just the quality we know she has. She’s literally undefendable at times when you have that ability, and that timing and that quality. So there’s a lot more to come from Taylor.”

The story of the first half for the Pride was sloppiness in possession. The team struggled to link passes together. They had a decent amount of possession (52%), but the medium-length passes’ accuracy was off. The long passes rarely connected. Louisville threw players forward on the counter, which caused issues for the Pride defense.

Both teams had four shots, but the home side put more on target (2-1). The passing accuracy was similar as well (68%-67% in favor of Louisville). Orlando was likely the happier side to come out of the half tied. Louisville was the better team, and the Pride was on the defensive end much, particularly in the opening 15 minutes. The Pride had 13 clearances, 11 tackles won, and 29 duels won.

The Pride came out of halftime much better. They controlled the ball well and gave up fewer transitional moments. After they lost the ball, Orlando fought to quickly win it back. Plummer and McClernon, who both struggled at times in the first half, made a few key interceptions and settled into the game after the break.

“I’m really proud of them,” Skinner said about his central defense. “First and foremost of all the back line, they’re going to make mistakes as part of all of the growth for tomorrow and not just the here and now. It’s in between birthing players that will give this club longevity over a period of time. They’re young, they will be exposed to decision-making things that they’ve got to draw on the experience of tonight. But their energy commitment to the whole of what we’re asking them to do is excellent.”

The Pride came into injury worries in the second half. Jade Moore picked up an injury in the 63rd minute. There were no replays of what happened, but she was able to jog off the field. Erika Tymrak came on for Moore, making her Pride debut. She moved into the right midfield, and Viggiano dropped to defensive midfield.

Just a few minutes later, Kornieck went down with a leg injury. She was able to stay in the game but was visibly hurting. Orlando had its first corner in the 76th minute. Leroux sent a ball into the box. Kornieck just missed it, but the ball fell to Marta at the top of the box. Marta took a touch. On her touch, Louisville was able to reset and get in a position to defend, blocking her shot and ending the threat. Kornieck made way for Kim after that play.

Jorian Baucom committed a bad foul in the 83rd minute, coming in hard on Riley. The foul earned Baucom a yellow card, and Riley stayed down for a few minutes afterward. Luckily, she was able to stay in the game as the tackle was borderline red.

“I mean it was really scary,” Riley said of the tackle. “I think as a defender, like those moments when you’re really vulnerable and when you clear a ball and someone comes up studs up straight into your leg — that can end your career. So obviously I was really scared. But I just wish the refs would take responsibility. At least say ‘I didn’t see it,’ or something like (that). I know she got the card but don’t say that she stepped on my foot, and then not look at my leg where I have a full cleat on my shin. So that’s just frustrating. Everyone makes mistakes and refs get it wrong, but at least acknowledge that you didn’t see what happened.”

The game seemed destined for a draw, but Kim put on some magic in the 88th minute. Dougherty Howard played a fantastic through ball out wide. Kim made the run into space and put in a perfect shot over Betos. That was Kim’s first NWSL goal.

Louisville was not done yet. Off a free kick, the Pride were unable to clear it. The ball ended up falling right to an unmarked Hendrix inside the box. Hendrix had little trouble finishing it to tie it back up at 2-2.

The Pride out-shot Louisville, 11-8, but struggled to get shots on target (2). Possession was a perfect 50/50 split, and Louisville was slightly better in passing accuracy (71%-69%). Defensively, the Pride dominated the stat sheet and held more duels won (57-41), tackles (22-8), and clearances (19-11).

The Pride have a quick turnaround and are back in action on Wednesday. Orlando hosts Gotham FC on April 14 at 7 p.m.

Orlando Pride

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.



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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Five Questions About the Orlando Pride in 2024

What are the top five questions for the Orlando Pride heading into the 2024 NWSL season?



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride have begun their preseason training for the 2024 NWSL season and will play their first preseason scrimmage on Thursday afternoon. The team nearly made the playoffs last year for the first time since 2017, narrowly missing out on the final day of the season. The team’s been busy this off-season, looking to improve the squad. However, there are still some questions to be answered before the competitive games start.

Here are five burning questions about the Pride for 2024.

Who Will Start in Goal?

The Pride signed English goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse from French side Bordeaux on Jan. 31, 2022 to back up Erin McLeod. When the Canadian left after the 2022 season, Moorhouse was elevated to starter. She played well at times last year, but was inconsistent. However, Pride Head Coach Seb Hines showed confidence in the 28-year-old, starting her in 19 of the team’s 22 regular-season games.

In December, the Pride traded backup Carly Nelson to the Utah Royals for Allocation Money. The move came 11 days after they signed Finnish goalkeeper Sofia Manner, indicating the club was planning for the departure. While Moorhouse will undoubtedly start the season as the team’s number one, Manner could claim the position if Moorhouse’s inconsistency returns. It will be something to keep an eye on this year.

Who Will Start in the Defensive Midfield?

The Pride focused on the team’s back line last year, but much of the effort this off-season has been on the defensive midfield. The team traded for Haley McCutcheon on Aug. 18, 2022 and it appeared as though she would start in the position. However, Hines moved her to right back last year, where she’s become the regular starter. It then looked like recent draft picks Viviana Villacorta and Mikayla Cluff would be the duo, but Cluff was traded to Utah on Nov. 15 for Expansion Draft protection and Villacorta tore her ACL late last year.

The club focused on the position this off-season, bringing in Brazilian internationals Angelina and Luana, along with USWNT player Morgan Gautrat. All three will battle to start in the defensive midfield, especially since Villacorta is injured and fellow defensive midfielders Cluff and Jordyn Listro are gone. But it’s still unknown who will start in those positions. It’s a question that will likely be answered in the coming weeks as the Pride build for the start of the regular season in March.

Where is Ally Watt Best Suited?

After tearing down the roster in a full rebuild, the Pride made two significant acquisitions in August 2022. In addition to trading for McCutcheon, the Pride dealt Allocation Money to OL Reign (now Seattle Reign FC) for forward Ally Watt. The speedy attacker quickly became the second option up top for the Pride, typically playing behind rookie Messiah Bright last year and starting the odd game. However, that’s not the only position she played.

Hines has shown he values versatility and illustrated that with Watt last year. In addition to playing up top, Watt was deployed on the right side of the midfield. Her speed and ability with the ball was an asset in the position, and she was praised by teammates in the role. They love having her on the right and Julie Doyle on the left, the two fastest players on the team. The questions now become: which position is she best at, and where does she best fit in with this team?

Who will Replace Messiah Bright?

Possibly the biggest question for the 2024 season is who will replace the starting striker. The Pride drafted Bright with the 21st overall pick of the 2022 NWSL Draft out of TCU, and she quickly became the focal point of the attack. Her six regular-season goals last year tied Adriana for the team lead. However, the forward requested a trade this off-season, citing personal reasons, and was shipped off to Angel City FC.

The club did sign Simone Charley, most recently with Angel City, who could replace Bright. However, she’s coming off a season-ending injury and wasn’t as effective in Los Angeles as she was in Portland. Other options include Canadian international Amanda Allen or Argentina international Mariana Larroquette. Watt might be the most likely to start the season up top as it stands, with Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter recently telling our SkoPurp Soccer podcast that 2024 will be “the season of Ally.” But it remains to be seen who will be the Pride’s new number nine.

Will We Discover the Pride’s New Number 10?

Marta has been the Pride’s number 10 since she arrived in 2017 and the team’s most prolific player. She leads the team all-time in appearances (102), starts (95), minutes (8,456), goals (31), and assists (18) in all competitions. However, she’s on the final year of a two-year deal that’s widely expected to be the last for the soon-to-be-38-year-old midfielder. If she does depart the club following the 2024 season, they Pride will need to find her replacement.

The club could go outside and find her replacement for 2025, but there are options in the current squad. The most talented player on the team currently is Brazilian international Adriana, who has typically played on the right side of the midfield, causing problems for defenses. She’s also switched with Marta at times, moving central, and has played there at the international level. The club also has Summer Yates, the former Washington Husky drafted in 2023. Yates slipped to the fourth round, where the Pride grabbed her, and Carter recently said she’s seen significant development in the second-year player.

While the primary focus is on this season, Hines could show his hand with who plays the most minutes behind Marta in the attacking midfield. While a final decision will probably be left to the 2025 preseason, we can get an idea of who might be in line for arguably the most significant role on the team during the 2024 campaign.

The Pride enter the 2024 season with more expectations than the last two years. They narrowly missed out on the playoffs in 2023 and will be looking to improve this season. While most of the team is intact, there are some questions to be answered during preseason and the coming regular season. It will tell us a lot about the team’s 2024 season and the coming years.

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Orlando Pride’s Summer Yates and Amanda Allen in Line for Breakout Seasons

Summer Yates and Amanda Allen could have breakout seasons for the Pride.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Mark Thor

The Orlando Pride are in the third year of a full rebuild, although there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Last season saw multiple young players take big steps forward in their development and this year will undoubtedly see more. Two players who currently look like they’ll play bigger roles in the team are midfielder Summer Yates and forward Amanda Allen.

Yates and Allen are two young players with bright futures that the Pride brought in during 2023. They drafted Yates out of the University of Washington with the third pick of the fourth round (39th overall) of the 2023 NWSL Draft. You usually don’t find this level of talent that late in the draft, but Yates was expected to go much higher. She began slipping through the second and third rounds, enabling the Pride to complete what could be the steal of the draft.

Rather than coming in through the draft, the Pride were able to sign Allen directly. The teenager made her way through the Canadian national team system, making her senior team debut in November 2022. She was seen as a player for the future but didn’t see much of the field last year.

It’s not a surprise to see young players in this team see significant minutes, as the Pride have focused on it over the past few seasons. It’s something that Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter spoke about with The Mane Land’s SkoPurp Soccer podcast last week. 

“I think you develop through meaningful match minutes,” Carter said on SkoPurp. “Even if you look at some of the signings that we’ve made, young athletes, you look at Amanda Allen for instance, making sure she’s getting meaningful match minutes is really important to us.”

Yates and Allen are both likely to see more minutes this year but face different situations. Yates saw more time on the field during her rookie season, making 10 league appearances and recording 108 minutes. She made a further six appearances (two starts) in the NWSL Challenge Cup for 259 minutes and recorded two assists in the competition.

The Pride signed Marta to a two-year extension following the 2022 NWSL season, so this could very well be the last year of her career. Once the star is gone, the Pride will be looking for a long-term replacement and Yates could be that player. Carter even told SkoPurp that she’s seen development in the midfielder this off-season.

“(Yates) is flying, by the way. Summer Yates is chef’s kiss flying,” Carter said. “She had an unbelievable off-season. She’s like a whole new player this year.”

The midfielder was the primary playmaker for Washington in college and played that role when she appeared for the Pride last year. It wouldn’t be surprising to see her play more minutes this season, especially since the club will likely lose Adriana at times to international duty.

Allen is in a different position than Yates but might have a similar opportunity to prove herself this season. At the end of last year, she was the fourth striker on the depth chart behind Messiah Bright, Ally Watt, and Mariana Larroquette. However, Bright asked for a trade this off-season due to personal reasons and was shipped to Angel City FC. The club could still bring in a veteran striker to replace the young forward, but Carter said it’s not a major concern for the team at the moment.

“We feel like we’re in a good place,” Carter said about the striker situation. “It’s not something that we’re terribly concerned about.”

However, she also said that the club has worked at strengthening the back line and midfield positions over the past two seasons. Now it’s time to look for goal scorers that can push the team to be a contender in the NWSL.

“If you look at it from a strategy standpoint, how we’ve approached the last year, we got to improve the back line. And that’s what we did first,” Carter said. “And then the priority became the midfield. And that’s what we did in the beginning of the off-season. And now we’re looking for established goal scorers.”

Watt was the starter at the forward position last year when Bright wasn’t available or needed rest. While it’s fair to assume she would simply move up to the number one spot on the depth chart, Carter further indicated the veteran would be the team’s nine.

“I feel like this is going to be the year of Ally,” Carter said about the forward.

The Pride emphasize versatility, something they’ve shown the past few seasons. While Watt will likely be the starting forward when the season starts, she also played on the right in 2023. Following her appearances last year in the midfield, her attacking teammates gave glowing reviews about having the speed of Watt on the right and Julie Doyle on the left.

The club’s focus on Watt up top might seem like a negative for Allen’s playing time. After all, the teenager didn’t appear much last season, only making three league appearances for nine minutes. She didn’t play much more in the NWSL Challenge Cup, making three appearances, with one start, for 91 minutes.

However, Allen has two things going for her. One is that the club values providing meaningful minutes to young players and Allen is seen as part of the future of this team. It’s also not easy to find proven goal scorers. Unless the club can find a proven goal scorer by the trade and transfer deadline on April 22, Allen will move up on the depth chart.

The focus for the Pride this season is improving on last year and making the playoffs for the first time since 2017. However, they also have an eye on the future with the team still being young. Last year, we saw young players like Bright and Emily Madril prove themselves at the professional level. This year we could see Yates and Allen make a similar jump.

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