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Orlando Pride vs. Washington Spirit: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, Match Thread, and More

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Welcome to your match thread as the Orlando Pride (5-4-6, 21 points) take on the Washington Spirit (5-5-4, 19 points) in the nation’s capital. This is the third and final time that these two teams will face off during the 2021 NWSL regular season. The first two meetings between the Pride and Spirit ended in 1-1 draws.

History

The Pride and Spirit are 5-5-4 (W-L-D) since first meeting during the 2016 NWSL season. The Spirit hold a slight edge in regular-season play (5-4-4), and the Pride are 1-3-2 when playing in the Washington, D.C. area.

The Pride and Spirit have played three times already this season, twice in the NWSL regular season. The two teams opened the 2021 season against each other at Exploria Stadium. Ashley Hatch gave the Spirit a 1-0 lead with 15 minutes to go, but Alex Morgan equalized in the 84th minute, allowing the Pride to come away with the 1-1 draw.

The two teams met again on June 6 at Audi Field in Washington. Once again, Hatch gave the Spirit the second-half lead. But this time it was Taylor Kornieck striking three minutes later to pull out the 1-1 result. The first game between the Pride and Spirit in 2021 was during the NWSL Challenge Cup. Sydney Leroux’s 11th-minute goal was the difference as the Pride claimed their first win over the Spirit since 2019.

The two teams met three times in 2019, with the Pride going 1-2-0. The first game on July 6, 2019 was a high-scoring affair. An early Bayley Feist goal was matched by Chioma Ubogagu in the 21st minute and Rachel Hill put the Pride ahead five minutes later. Cheyna Matthews equalized for the Spirit in the 30th minute before Marta took over. Her goals in the 48th and 78th minutes put the game out of reach as the Pride won 4-3.

The Pride and Spirit were supposed to play back-to-back games in late August, but the return game in Orlando was postponed due to Hurricane Dorian. On Aug. 24, 2019, Crystal Thomas — who is now with the Pride — and Hatch scored the goals for the hosts, while Marta scored the lone goal for the Pride in a 2-1 Orlando loss. The makeup game was played on Oct. 5, 2019 and saw the most lopsided game of the season series. Hatch and Thomas were joined by Tiffany McCarty on the scoresheet as the Spirit won 3-0.

The Pride had a much better year against the Spirit in 2018, going 2-1-0. Goals by Hatch and Mallory Pugh lifted the Spirit to a 2-0 win in Maryland in the second game of the year. On June 23, 2018, Alanna Kennedy scored the game’s lone goal in the 11th minute, securing a 1-0 win for the Pride. The final game that year came on July 7, 2018, and once again went to the Pride. Once again, Hatch was the goal scorer for the Spirit, but Leroux and Marta responded for a 2-1 win.

In 2017, the teams had another early-season meeting, occurring in the second game of the season. A second-half goal by Line Sigvardsen-Jensen was equaled by Danica Evans in the 86th minute, resulting in a 1-1 draw. The teams drew again on July 8, 2017. Marta and Pugh both scored braces as the game ended 2-2. The final game on Aug. 8, 2017 went to the Pride. Goals by Marta, Camila, and Morgan lifted the hosts to a 3-0 win.

The 2016 NWSL season saw the teams meet twice. On June 18, 2016 in Maryland, an early goal by Estefania Banini and a late first-half strike by Francisca Ordega saw the Spirit win 2-0. The return game on Aug. 26, 2016 went to the Spirit again. Sarah Hagen put the Pride on the board in the 71st minute, but the Spirit already had goals by Cheyna Williams and Christine Nairn, holding off the Pride for the 2-1 win.

Overview

After losing four in five games, the Pride have come back strong following the departure of former head coach Marc Skinner. Interim head coach Becky Burleigh’s first three games have seen the Pride record a 1-0-2 record and climb into fourth in the NWSL.

The most recent game by the Pride ended in a 1-1 draw at Exploria Stadium against the Portland Thorns. It was a disappointing result against a short-handed Thorns team, but Jodie Taylor scored for the second consecutive game, a positive with Morgan still out with a calf injury suffered during the Olympics.

Hatch has been a Pride-killer since joining the Spirit in 2018. In eight games played against the Pride, the 26-year-old forward has six goals and two assists.  The only game in which she didn’t score or assist against Orlando came on June 23, 2018. Keeping Hatch off the scoresheet will be a priority in this game.

Similar to the Pride, the Spirit have had a bad run recently. Their 2-2 draw with the Houston Dash last weekend broke a two-game losing streak. They’ll be looking to get their first win since July 25 against Louisville and move up from their sixth position in the NWSL standings.

“We were a little disappointed with our performance last week, and I think that’s good motivation going into this week,” Burleigh said this week. “Because we feel like we can play better than what we showed. And I think any time you’re disappointed with a tie to the first-place team, that’s a good place to be.

“Washington is going to be back at full strength. They’ve got some great players returning and that’s exciting because, I think for us to bring out our full potential,we need to play against the best. So I’m excited about seeing some of those players back, and I think for us, we want to be better than we were last week.”

The Pride injury report looks the same as it did last week, listing Carrie Lawrence (right ankle), Jade Moore (left knee), Viviana Villacorta (knee surgery), and Morgan (left calf) as out. All other players are available for selection, meaning the Pride are almost at full strength.

While the Spirit do have their internationals back, there are some players missing. Averie Collins and Feist are out with season-ending ACL injuries. Jordan DiBiasi is also out with an excused abence.


Official Lineups

Orlando Pride (4-3-3)

Goalkeeper: Ashlyn Harris. 

Defenders: Courtney Petersen, Amy Turner, Ali Krieger, Ali Riley.

Midfielders: Meggie Dougherty Howard, Marisa Viggiano, Gunny Jonsdottir.

Forwards: Marta, Jodie Taylor, Sydney Leroux.

Bench: Erin McLeod, Ally Haran, Toni Pressley, Phoebe McClernon, Kylie Strom, Taylor Kornieck, Erika Tymrak, Abi Kim, Crystal Thomas.

Washington Spirit (4-3-3)

Goalkeeper: Aubrey Bledsoe.

Defenders: Anna Heilferty, Sam Staab, Paige Nielsen, Saori Takarada.

Midfielders: Dorian Bailey, Andy Sullivan, Tori Huster.

Forwards: Tara McKeown, Ashley Hatch, Trinity Rodman.

Bench: Kelley O’Hara, Emily Sonnett, Tegan McGrady, Julia Roddar, Kumi Yokoyama, Devon Kerr, Taylor Aylmer, Camryn Biegalski, Ashley Sanchez.

Referees

REF: Tori Penso.

AR1: Jeffrey Skinker.

AR2: Max Smith.

4TH: Scarlet Agrawal.


How to Watch

Match Time: 4 p.m. ET.

Venue: Audi Field — Washington, D.C.

TV: CBS Sports Network.

Streaming: Twitch (International).

Twitter: For live updates, follow along at the Orlando Pride’s official Twitter feed (@ORLPride) and on The Mane Land’s Twitter (@TheManeLand).


Enjoy the match. Go Pride!

Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride Sign Midfielder Kerry Abello to New Contract

The Pride have signed midfielder Kerry Abello to a new three-year contract.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride announced this afternoon that the club has signed midfielder Kerry Abello to a new three-year contract. The deal keeps Abello in purple through the 2026 NWSL season.

“We are thrilled to keep Kerry in Orlando through 2026. Since joining the club, she has proven to be a reliable and versatile player for our team,” Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter said in a club press release. “In a few short years, she has grown into a leader in our locker room and sets the standard for professionalism and accountability, two values we center our culture around. Ensuring she remains a part of what we are building here, both on and off the field, was a priority for us in the off-season. We are happy to bring that to fruition and look forward to her continued growth and performance.” 

Abello was initially drafted by the Pride with the 24th pick of the 2021 NWSL Draft, but decided to return to school for a fifth season. The club finally signed the Penn State product to a two-year contract on Jan. 28, 2022. The midfielder signed another two-year deal on Feb. 23, 2023, with a club option for 2025. Just over a year later, she’s now inked a third contract, ensuring her stay in Orlando will run through 2026.

Initially coming off the bench, Abello became a regular starter late in her rookie season. Over the past three years, she’s seen time at attacking and defensive midfield, showing her versatility. In total, Abello has made 49 appearances (31 starts) in all competitions and recorded 2,835 minutes. She’s scored one goal and contributed one assist.

Last year, the 24-year-old midfielder made 25 appearances (18 starts), recording 1,642 minutes, and adding a goal and an assist. She participated in all but two league games and five of the team’s six Challenge Cup contests.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there is truly no place I’d rather be. Thank you, Orlando, for having me for the next three years,” Abello said in a club press release. “I’m feeling full of joy, gratitude, and inspiration. There’s work to be done, and I can’t wait to put my whole heart into this season and all the rest. Vamos!”

The Batavia, IL, native was a part of the United States youth set up at the U-14, U-15, U-17, U-18, and U-19 levels. She received a call up to the U-23 U.S. Women’s National Team for the 2022 Women’s U-23 Three-Nations Tournament, scoring in a 3-0 win over Sweden.

Prior to being drafted by the Pride, Abello was a three-time All-Big Ten selection, helping Penn State win three Big Ten championships. She was also named to the All-North Team twice in her five collegiate seasons.

What It Means for Orlando

Similar to her last contract, this deal ensures that Abello will continue her stay in Orlando beyond the upcoming season. She originally started on the bench under former Pride head coach Amanda Cromwell, but won over Seb Hines with her versatility in the midfield. During her first two professional season, she’s played extensively at attacking and defensive midfield. However, she can also play on the back line, having been a center back in college.

Following the 2023 NWSL season, Carter told The Mane Land’s Skopurp Soccer podcast that the club focused on the back line last off-season and was focusing on the midfield this off-season. Signing Abello, who has been a crucial part of the club’s rebuild, was always going to be part of that plan.

Between the re-signing of Abello and the new additions to the team, the midfield has more depth than before. Abello’s presence could be crucial, because the midfield’s Brazilian internationals will likely miss time due to international call-ups. Abello can fill in multiple positions, ensuring there won’t be a significant drop-off when the internationals depart.

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Orlando Pride Unveil New Kits Ahead of 2024 NWSL Season

The Pride take part in the NWSL kit reset with new primary and secondary jerseys for the 2024 season.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride unveiled their two new kits today ahead of the 2024 NWSL season. The jerseys are part of the league-wide kit reset, launched by the NWSL and Nike. The club’s new Phoenix Kit features the Pride’s two recognizable colors, purple and blue, and the secondary Citrus Kit has an all-new color scheme, paying tribute to Florida’s citrus industry. Both jerseys will be formally unveiled on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at “The Kit Party presented by Orlando Health,” taking place at the Orlando Regional History Center.

Replicas of the two new jerseys are available for purchase at ShopOrlandoPride.com, in The Den at Inter&Co Stadium during regular business hours, and on NWSLshop.com. Replica goalkeeper jerseys will also be made available during a late spring release.

“We are proud to share two new, powerful kits with our fans and honored that we are again able to share the story of one of the pillars of our community and the state of Florida,” Pride Chief Marketing Officer Pedro Araujo said in a club press release. “Each year, it is important for us to use our platform to celebrate those that laid the foundation for our city, and this year is no different. We hope our fans are as excited to wear the Citrus Kit and the Phoenix Kit as we are, and to proudly represent Orlando both at home and outside of Central Florida. This new partnership with Nike is a very exciting moment for the league. We’re grateful for their continued support of the Orlando Pride and the NWSL as a whole and are excited for the future opportunities this new, refreshed commitment will bring to our kits and team performance gear.”

The Citrus Kit features a new orange and iced-out green scheme, a first for the Pride, with inspiration taken from Central Florida’s citrus industry. The jersey features oranges and leaves, with letters and numbers featuring the same iced-out green coloring. The design of the kit takes direct inspiration from the historic packaging of citrus crates and labels, unique to each grove. The back of the socks features a hand-drawn “Pride,” which is also inspired by the labels. Meanwhile, the “Outer Pride” on the lower corner of the jersey is a stylized “OP” with an orange cross-section and orange blossom leaves and flowers.

The primary home jersey this season will be the new Phoenix Kit, which is more recognizable to fans. The jersey features the club’s traditional colors of purple with blue letters and numbers. The jersey features a unique two-toned purple gradient that runs diagonally from the top right to the bottom left of the jersey. The club’s shirt sponsor, Orlando Health, remains in white, but the letters, numbers, and Nike logo on the darker purple are the team’s second color, “Eola Blue.”

The new kits are part of the NWSL’s league-wide kit reset, the first time a women’s professional soccer league has presented refreshed primary and secondary uniforms for all of its teams. Each club is receiving jerseys that reflect the club’s identity and joyful expression and celebrate the team’s community.

The Pride’s unveiling has been in cooperation with Hollieanna Groves, a local and family-owned grower, harvester, packer, and shipper of Florida citrus. The Maitland-based company is a fourth-generation packing house and sales room, providing the backdrop for one of the club’s kit photo shoots.

Here are some photos of the Pride’s newest kits courtesy of the Pride:

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Orlando Pride Place Megan Montefusco on Season-Ending Injury List

The Orlando Pride have placed center back Megan Montefusco on the season-ending injury list following surgery on her right foot.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride announced this afternoon that center back Megan Montefusco has been placed on the season-ending injury list. The defender had off-season right foot surgery, performed by the club’s official medical team, to repair a long-term problem.

“This is an unfortunate situation for Megan, though we’re happy she was able to address an issue that has plagued her for some time, and we are confident she will come out of this a stronger athlete,” Orlando Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter said in a club press release. “Our club is fully behind her and will support her throughout her rehab process, as will our amazing partners at Orlando Health. Our goal is to help Megan get back on the field as safely and smartly as possible, and we are behind her every step of the way. We look forward to seeing her back out on the pitch as soon as she is ready.”

The Pride originally acquired the defender in a trade with the Houston Dash on Jan. 28, 2022 that saw Marisa Viggiano go the other way. She was a regular starter at center back that year and through most of 2023, but lost the starting position when the club signed Brazilian international Rafaelle. Montefusco has made 45 appearances (42 starts) for 3,773 minutes in all competitions over her two seasons in Orlando, scoring one goal.

The 31 year-old signed a new contract with the Pride on June 15, 2023 through the 2024 season with an option for 2025. As one of the team’s main representatives alongside fellow center back Carrie Lawrence, Montefusco appeared at Orlando City’s preseason game against the New England Revolution, signing autographs and taking part in a question-and-answer session while wearing a walking boot.

What It Means for Orlando

This news is a bit of a blow to Orlando’s depth on the back line. Montefusco was the first center back off the bench late last year and was expected to have the same role this year. However, her absence will make room for Lawrence, who missed the 2023 season after suffering a torn ACL during preseason, and Tori Hansen, who is currently on loan with Melbourne Victory FC in Australia. The duo will now compete for the third center back spot unless the club replaces Montefusco with another veteran, as the NWSL transfer window remains open.

This injury could also open up a spot for the Pride to sign 2024 second-round NWSL Draft pick Cori Dyke, who the club took at No. 22 overall out of Penn State. Dyke has experience at center back in college. She played as a central midfielder for the first four years in college, but moved to center back for her final season. Despite moving to the back line, the 2023 season was her most productive offensively, as she recorded five goals and six assists.

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