Connect with us

Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC: Final Score 3-2 as Pride’s Late Comeback Falls Short



An early first-half goal and two early second-half strikes doomed the Orlando Pride (7-7-7, 28 points) as they fell 3-2 to NJ/NY Gotham FC (7-6-8, 29 points) at Exploria Stadium. After falling behind 3-0, the Pride climbed back into the game on goals by Erika Tymrak and Marta, but it wasn’t enough as they fell by a goal.

The Pride had placed themselves in a difficult position after a strong start to the season. Sitting in the final playoff spot, they were just one point ahead of the Washington Spirit and two points ahead of Gotham FC heading into this key match-up. The loss was a crucial one in the race for a playoff spot.

Pride interim head coach Becky Burleigh made two changes from the team that lost 3-0 to OL Reign two weeks ago. Marisa Viggiano, who replaced Meggie Dougherty Howard at halftime of that game, entered the starting lineup. Additionally, Marta re-entered the lineup after starting on the bench in Tacoma.

It was yet another poor start by the Pride, something that has become a trend with this team. Despite kicking off, the Pride soon gave the ball away in their own third when Ashlyn Harris sent a clearance straight out of play.

It didn’t take long for the visitors to take advantage of the slow start. In the third minute, Ifeoma Onumonu was able to turn Ali Riley, sending the ball across the top of the box. Caprice Dydasco’s first touch was a layoff to Gaetane Thiney, who quickly fired on goal. The long-distance shot appeared to deflect slightly off the head of Amy Turner — just enough to avoid the outstretched hand of Harris.

The game paused in the sixth minute as all players met in a circle at midfield in a show of solidarity after the recent events plaguing the league. In addition to the sixth-minute display, Pride players refused to answer any questions not directly related to the recent events or changes within the NWSL.

“That’s really a great show of solidarity,” Burleigh said about the midfield moment. “And you’ve seen it, not just in this league, but now even some of the European teams have also followed suit. And I think that’s so impressive to see such unanimous support for something that’s happening in this league, it’s amazing.”

When the game restarted, Onumonu immediately created a chance on goal, but missed the target.

The Pride had their first and best first-half chance in the 12th minute. Receiving the ball in the box, Alex Morgan created enough space to get a shot off. It was on target, but Gotham goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan was able to palm it away.

Two minutes later, Riley sent a long cross toward the back post, aimed for Sydney Leroux, who was charging in. However, Sheridan did well again, getting her hand to the ball and knocking it away from the oncoming Leroux.

Gotham nearly doubled its lead in the 18th minute. Carli Lloyd sent Midge Purce in behind the Pride defense and into the box. As Purce set up to shoot, Harris did well to cut down her angle. The shot was at the body of the Pride goalkeeper, who made herself big, and the ball was eventually deflected out of play for a corner kick.

The Pride nearly had a similar chance in the 20th minute. An excellent ball into the box looked like it would get through for Jodie Taylor, giving the striker a chance at her first goal since Aug. 14. But Gina Lewandwoski made a last-ditch diving header to clear it out of play and avoid a one-on-one between Taylor and Sheridan.

As the game drew closer toward halftime, both teams had a few chances. In the 30th minute, a long ball was searching for Morgan, but it was headed away. Three minutes later, Gotham played a dangerous ball into the box. It reached Onumonu, who had gotten behind Turner, but her shot was nowhere near the target.

In the 42nd minute, Purce created another opportunity, sending a dangerous ball across the six-yard box. No Pride players were able to clear it, but there weren’t any Gotham players in the box to get on the end of it. It ended up with Dydasco at the top of the box and the defender sent it well over the target.

The Pride had their chances, but the visitors led in most important categories. Gotham led in shots (9-3), corners (3-2), passing accuracy (84.5%-83.2%), and possession (50.6%-49.4%). The game was only close because Gotham only put two of their nine shots on target.

While the Pride had a tough start to the first half, it was even worse in the second. Just two minutes into the second period, a foul set up a Gotham free kick just outside the box. Thiney stepped up to take the kick, which went directly on target. Harris got a hand to it, but a bit too late and she didn’t get enough on it, as the ball bounced off her hand and into the corner of the goal.

It got worse for the Pride in the 49th minute, when Onumonu found Purce wide open in front of goal. It was an easy finish for the attacker, with no Pride defenders anywhere near her. The defenders lifted their arms to claim offside, but the referee determined that she was at least even with the last defender.

The third Gotham goal seemed to wake the Pride up, but by that point it was too late. Finally, the Pride played with a sense of urgency, realizing that the game had gotten out of reach. In the 53rd minute, Leroux brought a long ball down in the box and created enough space to get a shot on target. However, it was right at Sheridan who made the stop.

Two minutes later, Marta took a low, hard shot on goal. It was a better chance than Leroux’s, but Sheridan did well to get low and make the save.

The best chance for the Pride came in the 61st minute. Marta lost the ball near the end line, but won it right back with no other defenders near her. Carrying the ball into the six, she attempted to beat Sheridan high, but the ball bounced off the crossbar. The ball landed at the feet of Morgan, who was all alone at the back post. She quickly fired on goal, but was slightly off balance and the shot sailed high of the target.

Three of the four primary Pride scorers had good opportunities early in the second half and Taylor got hers in the 64th minute. Diagonal runs by teammates distracted defenders, creating a lane to the top of the box. Taylor sent a low, curling shot toward the far post that was beyond the reach of Sheridan. Unfortunately, the ball wrapped around the outside of the far post, and the Pride just missed getting one back.

The Pride finally got their first goal of the game in the 85th minute, with some help from Gotham’s usually dependable goalkeeper. It started with a poor goal kick taken by Sheridan that went directly to Erika Tymrak. The Pride’s second-half substitute quickly found enough space to take a shot, which was right at the Canadian international. Fortunately for Tymrak and the Pride, the ball bounced awkwardly off Sheridan’s hands and rolled into the corner.

A game that appeared to be over got much more interesting two minutes later when Estelle Johnson took down Morgan in the box and referee Brad Jensen pointed to the spot. Marta stepped up and sent Sheridan the wrong way, cutting the deficit to one.

As the game entered injury time, both teams had chances. Four minutes into the added time, great individual skill by Lloyd set up Brianna Pinto, who took a shot that appeared to be headed to the corner. But Harris got down and blocked it wide.

The Pride desperately went to the other end, trying to find the equalizer. They nearly did with the last kick of the game. A long ball into the box by Harris landed at the foot of Toni Pressley, who fired on goal. The deflected shot hit the post and bounced right to Harris, who had continued forward after the set piece, but her shot was blocked. Petersen had a third chance, but was heading away from goal and wasn’t able to get much on it.

The late flurry was the final chance for the Pride to equalize as the referee blew the final whistle once the ball was cleared.

“As far as the match tonight, I felt like it was tough giving up the deflection early,” Burleigh said after the game. “It sort of is difficult to give up a goal that early, but I thought our team bounced back well. I think the things to take from this game were that we really had a lot of fight in the end of the game. I thought the people who came into the match really did a good job of sustaining pressure and creating pressure and were game changers. And I think the big thing is we’ve got to figure out, is our defensive identity to mid block and then counter out of it? Is our defensive identity to press? And, obviously, you give up something different with each of those. And that’s I think where we are right now is figuring out what is the best solution for this particular group.”

After the third Gotham goal, the Pride had a much better second half. In the end, the Pride led in shots (18-16) and shots on target (9-5). However, in addition to goals, Gotham led in most statistical categories, including corners (5-4), duels won (59-52), total passes (461-425), passing accuracy (79.8%-79.3%), and possession (52.3%-47.7%).

The result, combined with a Spirit win over Racing Louisville at the same time, moved the Pride from sixth to eighth, two spots below the red line. In addition to taking maximum points from the final three games, the Pride will need some help if they have any hope of qualifying for the NWSL playoffs for the second time in team history.

The Pride will take the field again on Wednesday night in Bridgeview, IL as they take on the Chicago Red Stars at 8 p.m.. The game was recently rescheduled after last weekend’s league games were postponed.

Orlando Pride

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.

Previous Season in Review Articles (Date Posted)

Continue Reading

Orlando Pride

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.



Image courtesy of the Orlando Pride and FC Honka

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.

Continue Reading

Orlando Pride

2023 Orlando Pride Season in Review: Kylie Strom

The veteran defender was a consistent starter for the Pride in 2023.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Mark Thor

The Orlando Pride signed Kylie Strom from Atletico Madrid on July 5, 2021 to a two-year contract with an option for 2023. Previously, Strom spent time with the Boston Breakers, FFC Frankfurt II in Germany, and Sparta in the Czech Women’s League. The Pride exercised her option prior to the 2023 season. Strom played a much bigger role for the Pride in 2023. 

Let’s take a look at the defender’s 2023 season with the Orlando Pride.

Statistical Breakdown

Strom appeared in 22 regular-season matches, starting all 22, for a total of 1,967 minutes. She scored one goal on six shots, putting one on target. She provided one assist and made 17 key passes. Strom completed 590 of her 880 total passes (67%). She was accurate on 58.7% of her passes in the opponent’s half, and went 73.8% in her own half. She was 29 of 106 on her long passes (27.4%). She also completed seven of her 36 crosses. Defensively, she logged 34 interceptions and 10 blocks, won 43 of her 81 tackles (53.1%), won 181 of her 291 duels (62.2%), and won 39 of her 64 aerial duels (60.9%). She also committed 18 fouls, suffered 42 fouls, and was not booked.

The 31-year-old made four appearances in NWSL Challenge Cup play, starting four games and playing 314 total minutes. Strom did not score any goals but took two shots with one on target. She attempted three crosses (one successful), and registered no assists. Strom completed 93 of her 134 total passes (69.4%). She was accurate on 61.8% of her passes in the opponent’s half, and 75.8% in her own half.  Strom was 11 of 19 on her long passes (57.9%), and made two key passes. Defensively, she made three blocks and eight interceptions, and won eight of her 10 tackles (80%), 29 of her 46 duels (63%), and eight of her 10 aerial duels (80%). She also committed five fouls, suffered five fouls, and was not booked.

Best Game

Strom’s best match was the 2-1 win over the Washington Spirit on May 20. She scored her only goal of the season on a header at the back post in the 77th minute to give the Pride the win. It was the type of goal that you want from defenders and it came at just the right time.

Strom played the full 90 minutes and she was active in both the defensive and offensive aspects of the match. She nearly put Messiah Bright in on goal but it was knocked out for a corner. Her goal came on three shots with one on target. She also completed 15 of her 30 passes (50%) on 52 touches, committed no fouls, suffered three fouls, and was not booked.

2023 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff gave Strom a composite rating of 6 for the 2023 season. Strom received a grade of 4.5 in 2022 due to being a part of a defense that gave up 45 goals with a -23 goal differential. That is a big year-over-year improvement for the defender and part of that is the defense as a whole was better. Strom also did well individually though she had a bad habit of cheaply giving the ball away in her own half. She previously received an incomplete during what was a rough stretch run in 2021 after joining the club midseason.

2024 Outlook

Strom is out of contract and will be 32 years old prior to the 2024 season starting. She’s also a free agent. Despite that, it’s very possible she is back with the Pride next season unless additional defensive signings are made. It would mean a new contract, but given she started every regular season match in 2023 and finished second only to Emily Madril in minutes played, Seb Hines evidently has faith in her ability to contribute.

Previous Season in Review Articles (Date Posted)

Continue Reading