Welcome to your match thread as the Orlando Pride (4-1-3, 15 points) host the North Carolina Courage (4-2-1, 13 points). It’s a Fourth of July match-up between two of the top teams in the NWSL.
This is the second time these teams have met in the 2021 NWSL regular season but the first and only meeting scheduled at Exploria Stadium. Orlando will return to Sahlen’s Stadium on July 31.
The Courage and Pride have met 12 times since the Pride joined the NWSL in 2016. To date, the Courage lead the series 7-2-3 (7-2-0 in NWSL play, 0-0-2 in the 2020 Fall Series, and 0-0-1 in the NWSL Challenge Cup), and the Pride have been outscored 33-14. North Carolina has won five of the last nine meetings between the two teams.
However, the Pride have had the upper hand in recent meetings, going unbeaten in the last four meetings (1-0-3) in all competitions.
The most recent NWSL meeting took place earlier in this regular season on May 22 — the Pride’s second game of the season. Taking place at Sahlen’s Stadium in Cary, NC, the Pride took the first-half lead through Sydney Leroux in the 36th minute. The Pride held onto that one-goal lead until the 79th minute when Alex Morgan sealed the win. Jessica McDonald pulled one back for the Courage in the 88th minute, but it was too little, too late as the Pride came away with the 2-1 win.
Prior to the first regular-season match-up this year, the previous three games — each in tournament play (Fall Series and Challenge Cup) — all were draws. The most recent of those tournament meetings came during the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup. It was a great defensive effort from the Pride, who recorded their first back-to-back results in the Marc Skinner era with the result. The Pride continued to look for Alex Morgan over the top but could not find the decisive goal and the match ended 0-0.
Two more draws came in the 2020 NWSL Fall Series. The Pride had 12 players out on loan, but Orlando was still competitive in the first meeting of that year. With a very young and inexperienced lineup, the Pride were able to keep the courage from scoring and the match finished 0-0. The second meeting in 2020 was a high-scoring affair. The Pride were down 3-0 at the break but fought all the way back to tie it 3-3. Ally Haran scored her first Pride goal off a Marta free kick in the 92nd minute to seal the point. Marisa Viggiano and Kristen Edmonds also scored.
In 2019, Orlando was embarrassed by a 6-1 scoreline in North Carolina on Sept. 14, 2019. Lynn Williams scored in the sixth minute, and the Courage never looked back. Ashlyn Harris had a huge night — she even made a penalty kick save — but the opposition was too good. Pride forward Rachel Hill sent a rocket into the back of the net in the 82nd minute with her team down 4-0. The home side responded by scoring twice more. The Pride also lost 3-0 at home and 5-0 at North Carolina in 2019.
The Courage swept all three from Orlando in 2018, with a pair of 3-0 victories and a wild 4-3 win on May 23, 2018 which McDonald won in the 90th minute after Alanna Kennedy and Hill scored to erase a two-goal deficit in the second half.
The first two of Orlando’s victories in the series came in 2017, when the Pride finished 2-1-0 against North Carolina. The Pride used a 3-1 win to snap a 12-match winless streak on May 14, 2017. Chioma Ubogagu, Camila, and Jasmyne Spencer all found the back of the net in the second half. Like Hill, none of those three players are currently with the team.
Orlando’s other win was the final match of 2017. It was one of the best games in Orlando Pride history. In a back-and-forth affair, the Pride found themselves up 2-0 with goals from Edmonds and Marta. Williams haunted the Pride again, as she recorded a second-half brace and the game looked to be heading to a draw. However, Kennedy found the game-winner in stoppage time off a perfect free kick that put Orlando into third place in the final league standings — the club’s best finish to date.
The Pride and Courage enter tonight’s game in first and third place in the league standings, respectively. However, while the Courage are coming off a 2-0 win over the Portland Thorns, the Pride lost 2-1 in Houston last weekend at the end of a three-game week.
A major factor in tonight’s game could be the players missing because of Olympic duty. Pride forward Alex Morgan and Courage midfielder Sam Mewis have already departed, playing for the USWNT in a pair of Olympic Send-off Series games. However, New Zealand and Brazil players are still with their NWSL teams, so the Pride will have Marta and Ali Riley and the Courage will have Debinha available for selection.
The Pride will have their entire defense intact for this game. That defense has been terrific throughout most of the season and could be key in this game.
There are questions regarding the attacking positions. Without Morgan available, there will undoubtedly be a shakeup. If the Pride lineup against Kansas City last week is any indication, you can expect Leroux to move up to the forward position.
Another concern is Taylor Kornieck. The midfielder has become a central figure in the Pride attack this year. However, she suffered a knee injury against Kansas City last week and was left out of the team for the following game in Houston.
Without Morgan and Mewis available, both teams will be short-handed in key positions. However, the inclusions of Brazilians Marta and Debinha will still provide attacking options.
“The Courage are a fantastic team,” Orlando Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner said about tonight’s opponent. “It will be a tough, tough match, but we will be ready. We’ll see that hunger. We’ll see that energy that would be there if you had a normal week. So I think it will be a very, very difficult match for both teams, but I think this team (is) willing to drown out the noise of what the opponent gives now and focus on what we can control.”
The Pride enter this game with multiple injuries, leaving the team short-handed. Jade Moore remains sidelined as she recovers from a left knee injury and Marisa Viggiano is out with a right foot injury. Additionally, Kornieck is questionable with her left knee injury and Phoebe McClernon is questionable after injuring her right foot.
The Courage don’t have the key injuries the Pride are dealing with, but will be missing Abby Erceg and Lynn Williams, who were named alternates for the USWNT in the Olympics.
Orlando Pride (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Ashlyn Harris.
Defenders: Courtney Petersen, Toni Pressley, Ali Krieger, Ali Riley.
Defensive Midfielders: Gunny Jonsdottir, Meggie Dougherty Howard.
Attacking Midfielders: Crystal Thomas, Marta, Taylor Kornieck.
Forward: Sydney Leroux.
North Carolina Courage (4-2-2-2)
Goalkeeper: Casey Murphy.
Defenders: Carson Pickett, Abby Erceg, Kaleigh Kurtz, Merritt Mathias.
Defensive Midfielders: Denise O’Sullivan, Havana Solaun.
Attacking Midfielders: Debinha, Angharad James.
Forwards: Lynn Williams, Jessica McDonald.
REF: Karen Abt.
AR1: Juan Pablo Casas.
AR2: Rebecca Luther.
4TH: Sarieni Vasquez.
How to Watch
Match Time: 6 p.m.
Venue: Exploria Stadium – Orlando.
Streaming: Paramount+ (USA), Twitch (International).
Enjoy the match. Go 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.
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.
2023 Orlando Pride Season in Review: Anna Moorhouse
The 2023 NWSL season was Anna Moorhouse’s first as the Orlando Pride’s starting goalkeeper.
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.
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.
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.
Moorhouse’s initial contract was a two-year deal, running through the 2023 season. While there were questions about her dependability in goal this season, Seb Hines and Haley Carter were pleased with her performances, awarding her with a new contract on Oct. 5, keeping the goalkeeper in purple through at least the 2025 season. The Pride now have four goalkeepers under contract for next year, and Moorhouse will be challenged for her role as the starter by new signing Sofia Manner.
Previous Season in Review Articles (Date Posted)
- Kaylie Collins (10/23/23)
- Amanda Allen (10/24/23)
- Celia (10/25/23)
- Brianna Martinez (10/26/23)
- Thais Reiss (10/29/23)
- Mariana Larroquette (10/30/23)
- Tori Hansen (11/1/23)
- Jordyn Listro (11/2/23)
- Caitlin Cosme (11/5/23)
- Summer Yates (11/6/23)
- Ally Watt (11/9/23)
- Megan Montefusco (11/13/23)
- Carly Nelson (11/14/23)
- Julie Doyle (11/16/23)
- Viviana Villacorta (11/20/23)
- Kerry Abello (11/23/23)
- Rafaelle (11/27/23)
- Erika Tymrak (11/28/23)
- Haley McCutcheon (11/29/23)
- Kylie Strom (11/30/23)
Orlando Pride Sign Finnish Goalkeeper Sofia Manner
The Pride have added a fourth goalkeeper and the second one from abroad ahead of the 2024 NWSL season.
The Orlando Pride announced today the signing of goalkeeper Sofia Manner, who was acquired for an undisclosed transfer fee from FC Honka of Finland’s top flight, the Kansallinen Liiga. Manner has signed a two-year contract through the 2025 season with a club option for 2026. The signing is a bit curious as it comes less than two months after the Pride extended English goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse through the 2025 season, giving Orlando two international goalkeepers and four total netminders under contract.
“I am immensely grateful for this opportunity to join Orlando Pride, a team I have admired since my youth,” Manner said in a club press release. “It has been a lifelong dream of mine to contribute to such a renowned organization in women’s soccer. The prospect of starting this journey fills me with great enthusiasm, and I am eagerly looking forward to bringing my passion and dedication to the team. I’m ready to put in hard work and help write a new chapter for the Orlando Pride.”
Manner, who turned 26 on Nov. 9, conceded the fewest goals in the Kansallinen Liiga this season and is a nominee for the league’s Best Player and Goalkeeper of the Year awards. She appeared in 23 matches and earned 10 clean sheets across all competitions, was twice named the league’s Goalkeeper of the Month this season, and was Player of the Month in April.
“Sofia is a tremendous addition to our goalkeeping corps and one we expect to challenge for the starting position,” Orlando Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter said. “She brings an underdog mentality and gritty work ethic and fits every aspect of the profile we have built for our goalkeepers. Her size, aerial ability, shot-stopping prowess, and distribution are world class. She brings international experience and has led the Kansallinen Liiga in nearly every goalkeeping metric. Her nominations for Goalkeeper of the Year and Best Player are indicative of her winning mentality and drive to be the best. We are excited to bring her to Orlando and to give her an opportunity to prove herself in our environment and in the NWSL.”
The shot stopper has experience playing in the United States, having played collegiately with Stony Brook University. She compiled a 1.14 career goals-against average across three seasons, which is fourth-best in Seawolves’ history. Her 20 shutouts ranks third in program history, and she compiled a .796 save percentage, which is ninth best all time.
While at Stony Brook, Manner was named America East Freshman of the Year in 2017, was a first-team all-conference selection in 2019, and was the conference’s Goalkeeper of the Year in 2018 and 2019. She started in every match in her final two seasons at Stony Brook, backstopping the Seawolves to an America East conference championship in 2019 and a regular-season title in 2018.
What It Means for Orlando
The Pride currently have four goalkeepers under contract: 2023 starter Anna Moorhouse (through 2025), backup Carly Nelson (through 2024), third keeper Kaylie Collins (through 2024), and now Manner (through 2025). Collins is on loan with Western Sydney Wanderers FC of the A-League Women in Australia. Four goalkeepers will provide spirited competition in preseason camp, to be sure, but it’s likely that one of these players will be on the move at some point.
If Manner wins the starting goalkeeper spot from Moorhouse, it may be for reasons other than stopping shots. Moorhouse did a good enough job of that, but often struggled with balls in from the wings, which was illustrated in the Pride’s penultimate game of the year — a must-win match at Racing Louisville — when a routine-looking corner kick cross appeared to be easily catchable, but Moorhouse went for a punch instead and knocked the winning goal for Louisville into her own net. That dropped point in the standings put Orlando in jeopardy on Decision Day and indeed the Pride beat Houston but missed the postseason on goal differential. It was a crucial point dropped.
That wasn’t Moorhouse’s only major error on the season, as she set an NWSL record with the earliest sending off in league history with her third-minute red card at OL Reign on Sept. 3 — a match the Pride lost 1-0 while playing one player short for 87 minutes plus stoppage. She has also frequently spilled crosses and shots from distance.
Orlando needed to upgrade the position. Whether Manner is an upgrade remains to be seen, but as Carter said, she is expected to compete for the starting spot. If nothing else, the competition should be good for the Pride. If Manner does take the starting position, it seems logical that the club will look to move either Moorhouse or Nelson.
The goalkeeper position will provide one of the Pride’s most intriging camp battles.
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