Orlando Pride vs. Chicago Red Stars: Final Score 1-0 as Pride Drop Final Game of 2021
The Orlando Pride (7-10-7, 28 points) fell 1-0 to the Chicago Red Stars (11-8-5, 38 points) tonight in the final game of the season. Kealia Watt’s 65th-minute strike was the difference between the two teams as Orlando finished the season with a fifth consecutive loss.
The Pride came into this game shorthanded, as they were missing multiple key contributors. Marta (right knee), Meggie Dougherty Howard (right foot), Taylor Kornieck (right ankle), Ashlyn Harris (right hip), and Ali Krieger (right knee) were left out of the team. Amy Turner (right calf) was listed as questionable and was on the bench.
The squad taking the pitch for tonight’s match. 😈@orlandohealth | #ORLvCHI pic.twitter.com/X1G32SR7vl
— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) October 29, 2021
“Some of it was medically related,” interim head coach Burleigh said about players missing from the lineup. “And that international break, the travel doesn’t really help people like Marta and Emily (van Egmond). That was tough. That’s a long haul to go halfway around the world and then return two days before you play.”
The Red Stars controlled this game from the beginning, with the Pride not getting their first shot until the closing minutes of the first half. If not for some strong defending in the box, the final score could’ve been much more lopsided than it eventually was.
Chicago’s attack started in the eighth minute when the always dangerous Mallory Pugh found some space at the top of the box. She fired a shot but it was weak and wide of the target.
Shortly after, Watt carried the ball to the end line, beating Kylie Strom. She played a dangerous ball to the middle of the box, but didn’t have any teammates inside the 18.
The Pride should’ve had their first opportunity in the 10th minute when Alex Morgan received the ball about 35 yards away from goal. She had plenty of space to collect the ball and dribble in on goal, but her poor touch resulted in a quick loss of possession. It was one of many chances blown by poor touches from the front three.
In the 15th minute, Courtney Petersen sent a great ball into the box toward Jodie Taylor. The English striker went up for it but the taller and stronger Arin Wright was able to head it away, ending the Pride’s last good chance of the game’s early stages.
Following the Petersen cross, the Red Stars took control. In the 23rd minute, Pugh had a second chance from the top of the box. This time she made a strong connection and nearly beat Erin McLeod to the near post. Fortunately, the ball just went wide, allowing the Pride to escape.
Watt had a pair of chances from outside of the box 10 minutes later. The first shot was wide of the target, but an inability to clear by the Pride gave her a second chance. This time, she got her shot on frame, but it was right at McLeod, who made the easy catch.
The Pride were outshot 10-0 before finally getting a chance on goal in the 37th minute. A free kick landed at the feet of Marisa Viggiano who fired on goal, but her shot was blocked.
Despite being thoroughly outplayed, the Pride were able to create multiple chances in the final minutes of the first half. After receiving the ball from Strom in the 43rd minute, Taylor’s first touch was a backheel to Gunny Jonsdottir darting past. The midfielder aimed toward the far post but the ball rolled just wide of the target.
Two minutes later, a Petersen cross was misplayed by Cassie Miller, who had come off her line to punch it out. Morgan had challenged for the ball but couldn’t find it after coming down. She was the first to the ball but it Wright bothered her just enough to force her to tap it wide of goal.
.@agilli16 saves the day 😱#ORLvCHI | https://t.co/iecT7II54a | #NWSL21 pic.twitter.com/UhzSMd7Luq
— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) October 29, 2021
It was a dominating first half by Chicago, which led in shots (10-3), shots on goal (2-0), corners (1-0), crosses (4-2), and passing accuracy (81.1%-80.8%). The Pride did have more possession (57.2%-42.8%), but most of it was in a neutral part of the field.
The Pride were outplayed in the first half and things didn’t change when they came out of the break. The Red Stars’ first second-half chance came in the 49th minute when Pugh sent a corner kick into the box. Wright charged into the box and beat McLeod to the ball, but headed it over the crossbar.
Two minutes later, Pugh kept it herself when she found space at the top of the box. Shielding Viggiano, she was able to get a shot on target. However, she was dribbling away from goal and the shot didn’t cause any trouble for McLeod.
Former Pride forward Rachel Hill entered the game at halftime and started to make her presence known in the 60th minute. After carrying the ball to the end line, Hill sent a low ball back across goal. It looked as though Watt would get on the end of it but just missed and Ali Riley was able to clear.
In the 63rd minute, Hill was on the end of a cross, which she was able to head toward the far post. There was no way that McLeod could get to the well-flicked header, but it went just wide of the post.
After 15 shots, the Red Stars were finally able to convert in the 65th minute. Morgan Gautrat found Watt just outside the box to the left of goal. The forward turned Riley to create space for a shot and fired toward the far post. The hard shot traveled beyond the outstretched arms of McLeod and into the far corner.
You know Watt it is when @KealiaOhai's around 💥#ORLvCHI | https://t.co/iecT7II54a | #NWSL21 pic.twitter.com/DdzDaDbQ89
— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) October 30, 2021
The Red Stars nearly doubled their lead in the 73rd minute when Watt was able to get behind the Pride back line. Phoebe McClernon was the last defender and made a great tackle at the top of the box to win the ball. Had McClernon not gotten the tackle right, it likely would’ve been a red card.
The Pride had one more quality chance to equalize in the 77th minute. Dribbling the ball into the box. Morgan found second-half substitute Abi Kim. However, before she could get a shot off, the ball was blocked out of play.
The ensuing corner was headed out but landed at the feet of Emily van Egmond. The Australian international quickly shot on goal from distance, but it was right at Miller, who made the stop. That long-distance strike was the Pride’s only shot on target in the game.
The 1-0 defeat brings a disappointing season to an end. Given that the Pride had already been eliminated from playoff contention and the Red Stars were fighting for a home game, the result could’ve been worse.
“I thought both (center backs McClernon and Toni Pressley) played an outstanding game.” Burleigh said after the game. “The partnership at center back that we hadn’t played before. So for them to do such a great job with that was a real credit to both of them. I thought in the first half, we had a hard time keeping the ball in the final third. Just couldn’t quite connect and, obviously, you have to give Chicago a little bit of credit for that too. It got a little bit better in the second half, but still not quite enough quality chances to be able to break through.”
In the end, the Red Stars had more shots (17-6), shots on target (4-1), corners (3-1), and duels won (43-42). The Pride had better passing accuracy (78.2%-74.6%) and more possession (57.1%-42.9%).
After getting off to a great start and a resurgence under Burleigh, the Pride ended the season in eighth place in the 10-team league.
“The most difficult part to wrap my mind around was the lack of results for us,” Burleigh said about the season. “But if you take that away, I think the experience was one that I really enjoyed.”
“We always kind of knew what our potential was,” McClernon added. “So it’s always disappointing not to meet the potential that you kind of knew you could, and even the level that we set early on in the season and the expectations we set early in the season. That’s always going to be a bummer. But I think we come away from this season with a lot. A lot of learning, a lot of experience for players like me, Taylor (Kornieck), Courtney (Petersen), which obviously is going to be huge in the future of the club. And I think all we can do kind of with this season is just take away learning moments.”
With the 2021 season now complete, the Pride will start its coaching search in earnest as Burleigh has already taken her name out of the running for the permanent job.
“With new ownership, new attitude, new outlook, and I think they need to find someone that has got a little bit longer term perspective,” Bureligh said about not wanting to continue next season. “That was never going to be me. And I think it will really be best for the organization to start building for the future.”
The 2022 season should be brighter as there aren’t any major international tournaments scheduled for next year. That means the team can keep its international stars for the majority of the season.
Orlando Pride vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC NWSL Challenge Cup Game Postponed
The Pride were scheduled to face NJ/NY Gotham FC in New Jersey, but poor air quality has postponed the game until Aug. 9.
Tonight’s NWSL Challenge Cup game between the Orlando Pride and NJ/NY Gotham FC has been postponed by the NWSL. The league released a statement this afternoon stating that poor air quality conditions in the New York metropolitan area was the cause of the postponement. The game will now be played on Aug. 9.
The Pride were originally scheduled to continue their 2023 NWSL Challenge Cup campaign at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ, as they search for their first win of the competition. However, wildfires in eastern Canada have caused deteriorating smoky and hazy conditions that New Jersey residents started experiencing Tuesday evening. Forecasts for Wednesday night showed that conditions were expected worsen, resulting in the postponement of the game.
“The safety of our players, officials, and fans is our top priority,” the NWSL said in a press release. “Following consultation with the NWSL Medical and Operations staff, it was determined that the match could not be safely conducted based on the projected air quality index.”
The scheduling of the game should benefit the Pride. They played Saturday night in a 2-0 loss to the Houston Dash and welcome the Portland Thorns to Exploria Stadium Sunday night. The makeup game comes during a league break for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The Pride play a Challenge Cup game at home on Aug. 4, but don’t play again until they host the Chicago Red Stars on Aug. 20. However, they could be without some key players for that match, depending on who is selected for their respective World Cup squads.
The game on Aug. 9 will still take place at Red Bull Arena at 7:30 p.m. However, rather than being a televised contest on CBS Sports Network, it will now be exclusively on Paramount+ in the United States.
Orlando Pride vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, Match Thread, and More
The Pride look to get their first 2023 NWSL Challenge Cup win as they take on NJ/NY Gotham FC in New Jersey.
[Editor’s note: There is some question as to whether this match will take place tonight with wildfires wreaking havoc with the air quality in the area. The Pride and Gotham FC have been in contact with the NWSL, which is monitoring the situation.]
Welcome to your match thread as the Orlando Pride (0-1-1, 1 point) take on NJ/NY Gotham FC (1-0-1, 4 points) at Red Bull Arena in the NWSL Challenge Cup. This is the first of two Challenge Cup meetings between these two teams, with the second game in Orlando scheduled for June 28.
Here’s everything you need to know about tonight’s game.
The Pride have faced Gotham FC 21 times since joining the NWSL in 2016. They’re 7-8-6 in all competitions and 4-2-4 away from home. In Challenge Cup games, the Pride are 0-2-1 in three games against Gotham and 0-0-1 up north.
This is the second time the two teams have met at Red Bull Arena this year. The first meeting came on May 14 in regular season play. The Pride were the better team and created more chances, but couldn’t find the back of the net and the game ended in a scoreless draw.
The Pride and Gotham met for the first time this season on April 15 at Exploria Stadium. The game looked to be headed for a draw, but Gotham struck twice in second-half injury time. Midge Purce converted a penalty 10 minutes into stoppage time for the latest goal in NWSL history. The attacker then assisted Lynn Williams seven minutes later, setting a new record as the Pride fell 2-0. The Professional Referee Organization stated publicly that the penalty given for a handball on Caitlin Cosme did not meet its standards for being clear and obvious enough for a review, but that won’t change the standings.
The two teams met four times last season, twice in the NWSL regular season and twice in the Challenge Cup. The first game was a Challenge Cup meeting on March 30 at Exploria Stadium. It looked to be heading for a 0-0 draw before Purce scored a late winner. The next meeting was April 23 at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey. Gunny Jonsdottir gave the Pride the lead, but Toni Pressley got tangled up with Ifeoma Onumonu, resulting in a penalty. Anna Moorhouse guessed the right way, but Kristie Mewis put it into the bottom corner, evening the game just before the half. Neither team could find a winner and it ended 1-1.
The teams opened the 2022 NWSL regular season against each other on May 1 in Orlando. After two close match-ups in the preseason, this one was all Gotham as goals by McCall Zerboni, Purce, and Mewis lifted the visitors to a 3-0 win. On Aug. 20, they played for the final time in 2022 at Subaru Park in Chester, PA. Celia and Ally Watt built the Pride a 2-0 lead. Mewis got one back for the hosts, but the Pride held on for a 2-1 win.
The Pride and Gotham also met four times in 2021, with the first coming in the Pride’s inaugural Challenge Cup campaign. On April 14, Paige Monaghan’s goal lifted Gotham to a 1-0 win. The first regular-season game that year came on June 20 in Orlando. The visitors took the lead through Caprice Dydasco, but Courtney Petersen equalized, and the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
On Aug. 29, the teams played at Red Bull Arena. Erika Tymrak’s long-range goal lifted the Pride to a 2-1 win. The teams played one final, high-scoring game on Oct. 9. It was a bad start for the Pride as Gaetane Thiney scored a brace and Purce made it 3-0 late. But the Pride came storming back with goals by Tymrak and Marta, falling just short in a 3-2 final.
The Pride and Gotham were in different groups for the 2020 Fall Series, so the last time they met prior to 2021 was in 2019, when the New Jersey-based club was still called Sky Blue FC. They first met that year on June 22 at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, NJ. Chioma Ubogagu gave the Pride the lead from the penalty spot and Sarah Killion equalized. The difference was a Gina Lewandowski own goal as the Pride won 2-1. On July 20, they met at Exploria Stadium. Marisa Viggiano’s goal won it for the Pride, 1-0. The final game occurred on Sept. 29 in New Jersey. Shelina Zadorsky gave the Pride the lead, but Carli Lloyd equalized in a 1-1 draw.
The teams met three times in 2018, starting on June 16 in Orlando, when a Sydney Leroux brace led the Pride to a 3-2 win. They met again in Orlando on Aug. 5, with the Pride giving up a 1-0 after Marta’s opening goal. But Dani Weatherholt equalized in a 2-2 draw. The final meeting in 2018 came on Sept. 8 in New Jersey — the final game of the season. There was only one goal in this one as Lloyd won it for Sky Blue FC.
The 2017 season saw the Pride and Sky Blue meet three times. The first was May 27 in New Jersey, where the Pride lost 2-1. They met again in New Jersey on June 28 and the Pride won, 3-2. The final meeting was on Aug. 12 in Orlando and the Pride won by its largest margin in team history, beating Sky Blue, 5-0.
The 2016 season was the first time the two teams met, with the inaugural game coming on Sept. 7 in New Jersey. Alex Morgan and Sam Kerr swapped goals in a 1-1 draw. They met again three days later in Orlando, with Sky Blue winning, 2-1.
The Pride scored first in each of their first two Challenge Cup games this year. Ally Watt gave the Pride the lead at Exploria Stadium on April 19 against the North Carolina Courage in the 56th minute. It looked like they would hold on for three points, but Denise O’Sullivan scored nine minutes into second-half injury time to equalize. The second game was against the Washington Spirit at Audi Field and Tori Hansen gave the visitors the lead just 10 minutes into the game. But an onslaught of long-distance goals lifted the Spirit to a 4-2 win.
The Pride look to get their first Challenge Cup win of 2023 tonight in New Jersey. The squad will be heavily rotated, especially with the Portland Thorns coming to town on Sunday night. While the team will still look to bring home the three points, Pride Head Coach Seb Hines will use this game as an opportunity to get playing time for players.
Similar to the Pride, Gotham used arguably its best lineup in the first Challenge Cup game against the Spirit. Lynn Williams’ 56th-minute goal was the difference in a 1-0 result. Gotham heavily rotated its lineup for the second game on May 3, a 1-1 draw with the Courage. It conceded just three minutes into the game, but went for the win by bringing on Kristie Mewis, Ali Krieger, and Williams at halftime. Williams equalized late and Gotham took a point from the game.
Gotham’s plan tonight will likely be similar to its second game. The Pride will need to get a good start to the game, because Hines has shown little interest in bringing regular starters into Challenge Cup games. If the Pride want to get three points, they’ll need to score before Gotham’s attacking starters come on.
“Obviously, (Gotham is) looking to win a game the same as us. Playing them a couple of times, they may change shape, they may change formation depending on the personnel they have, but we have to focus on ourselves,” Hines said about tonight’s opponent. “We’re looking to bounce back from this weekend and get three points and keep getting momentum and getting that ball rolling again. Momentum is such a key factor in a season so getting a win against Jersey will be great for the squad and the players.”
The Pride will play this game without Carrie Lawrence (knee) and Erika Tymrak (ankle). Kaylie Collins (hand) and Amanda Allen (lower leg) are listed as questionable. Gotham will be without Imani Dorsey (excused absence), Sabrina Flores (foot), Kelley O’Hara (ankle), Midge Purce (hip), and Taryn Torres (knee).
Orlando Pride (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Carly Nelson.
Defenders: Celia, Tori Hansen, Caitlin Cosme, Brianna Martinez.
Defensive Midfielders: Jordyn Listro, Kerry Abello.
Midfielders: Haley Bugeja, Thais Reiss, Summer Yates.
Forwards: Julie Doyle.
NJ/NY Gotham FC (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Michelle Betos.
Defenders: Jenna Nighswonger, Ellie Jean, Mandy Freeman, Bruninha.
Midfielders: McCall Zerboni, Nealy Martin, Sinead Farrelly.
Forwards: Svana Ros Gudmundsdottir, Delanie Sheehan, Ifeoma Onumonu.
REF: Greg Dopka.
AR1: Stephen Milhoan.
AR2: Jessica Carnevale.
4TH: Sergii Boiko.
VAR: Daniel Radford.
AVAR: Emma Richards.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m.
Venue: Red Bull Arena — Harrison, NJ.
TV: CBS Sports Network.
Streaming: NWSLsoccer.com (International).
Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, follow @TheManeLand and the Orlando Pride’s official Twitter feed (@ORLPride).
Enjoy the match. Go Pride!
Orlando Pride vs. Houston Dash: Final Score 2-0 as Pride Drop Second Straight
The Houston press was too much for the Pride as they drop their second straight game.
The Orlando Pride (3-6-1, 10 points) fell for the second consecutive game, losing to the Houston Dash (4-3-3, 15 points) 2-0 in Texas. Sophie Hirst gave the hosts the lead in the sixth minute and Michelle Alozie doubled the advantage shortly before halftime. They held onto that lead for the entire second half, sending the Pride home with an 0-2-0 road trip.
Pride Head Coach Seb Hines made one change to the team that fell 1-0 to the Chicago Red Stars last weekend. Regular starter Viviana Villacorta returned to the lineup after a game off, replacing Marta. The back four in front of Anna Moorhouse remained the same, with Kylie Strom, Emily Madril, Megan Montefusco, and Haley McCutcheon. Villacorta joined Mikalya Cluff, Adriana, Erika Tymrak, and Kerry Abello in the midfield, and Messiah Bright started up top.
Coming off a game where the Pride dominated and just couldn’t find the back of the net, they were never really in this one. The Houston press created headaches in the first half with the Pride giving up the ball up in their own third on multiple occasions. They also couldn’t create much offensively, failing to challenge Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell.
The Pride got off to a poor start, conceding in the sixth minute. The hosts got a corner kick when Madril cleared the ball out of play and a second when Abello blocked the first corner out. The ensuing set piece was into the arms of Moorhouse, but the goalkeeper spilled it right in front of goal. Hirst was the first player to the ball, flicking it with the outside of her foot past Moorhouse and in to give the Dash an early 1-0 lead.
They nearly doubled their advantage in the ninth minute when Sophie Schmidt sent Diana Ordonez behind the Pride back line. It was a foot race between Ordonez and Moorhouse to the ball, with the Pride goalkeeper reaching it just before the attacker outside of the box.
A minute later, the Pride had their first good chance of the game. Adriana was sent down the right and towards the end line. She reached the ball before it went out of play, sending it to the penalty spot where Bright was waiting. The striker had her back to the goal, but did well to turn and get off a first-touch shot. Unfortunately, she got under the ball and sent it over the target.
The Dash had a great chance in the 17th minute when Madril gave the ball away to the pressuring Alozie. The forward had Ordonez wide open in the middle of the box, but decided to take it herself. Montefusco did well to close down the attacker, deflecting the shot into the hands of Moorhouse.
The Pride almost had a chance in the 20th minute when Montefusco made a good run into the midfield, breaking the Houston press. She found Tymrak in the center circle, who played it forward for Adriana. However, the Brazilian lost the ball at the top of the box before she could get a shot off.
The Dash appeared to have a great opportunity in the 28th minute when Villacorta gave the ball up in her own third to Joelle Anderson. The midfielder played to Maria Sanchez on the left, who continued it forward to Ordonez. Moorhouse did well to come out and challenge the forward, but the flag went up for offside anyway.
In the 39th minute, Abello was sent down the left by Tymrak. Her deflected cross was punched away by Campbell, but went right to Adriana. The Brazilian flicked it over for Bright, who played it right back to Adriana, but her shot was blocked. Abello ended up with the ball again and beat her defender to find enough space for a shot, but it was deflected into the side of the net.
The second Pride corner of that attack went all the way through for a throw in and the Dash took advantage. Anderson sent a long, low ball forward for Alozie making a run behind the Pride defense. Madril got her foot to it, but not enough to keep it from finding the forward. Strom caught up to her in the box, but Alozie cut back for space and sent it past Moorhouse to give Houston a commanding 2-0 lead.
The hosts had one last first-half opportunity in the 43rd minute when Alozie found Ordonez at the top of the box. The Mexican international was between the two Pride center backs and found enough space to take a shot, but Moorhouse did well to get down and make the stop, keeping the halftime deficit at two goals.
The Pride had more first-half possession (57.2%-42.8%), corners (6-4), crosses (16-10), and passing accuracy (71.8%-67.4%), but the Dash had more shots (6-4) and shots on target (3-0). Most importantly, the hosts had a two-goal lead.
“I told them at halftime that we need to be better on the ball. We were a little bit sloppy, a little bit lackadaisical in our passing details,” Hines said about his halftime speech. “I like to control the game. I don’t mind teams pressing us, because the more they press, the more they commit, the more space that they leave. So, we have to clean that up.”
Hines made one halftime change trying to get his team back into the game, bringing on Marta for Villacorta. The change saw Adriana move outside to her usual position and Abello back alongside Cluff. It was Marta’s 82nd NWSL regular-season appearance with the Pride, passing Ashlyn Harris and Toni Pressley for the most in team history.
The Dash had a chance for their third goal less than a minute into the second half when Ordonez found Anderson in the box. The attacker turned to shoot on goal, but didn’t get much on the attempt and Moorhouse made a relatively easy save.
The Pride should’ve gotten a goal back in the 48th minute when Caprice Dydasco fouled Abello. Adriana’s free kick found the head of Strom wide open and just a few feet in front of goal at the near post. But her header somehow went wide, squandering a golden opportunity to get back into the game.
After making an attacking change at halftime, Hines made a like-for-like substitution in the 57th minute as Julie Doyle came on for Bright.
In the 62nd minute, Sanchez sent Marisa Viggiano towards the end line on the left. Viggiano got a cross off into the box and found the head of Ordonez, who tried to send it towards the far post. But she couldn’t get enough of it and Moorhouse easily collected it.
Montefusco fouled Schmidt in the 64th minute, creating another good chance for the hosts. It looked like Moorhouse had Sanchez’s ball, but she didn’t come out as aggressively as she should’ve, only sending it to the top of the box. It ended up with Hirst at the penalty spot, but her shot was right at Moorhouse.
Immediately after that chance, the Pride made two more changes, bringing on Celia and Ally Watt for Tymrak and Cluff.
It didn’t take long for Watt to get involved as she was sent behind the Dash defense in the 68th minute. The striker’s shot was right to Campbell, but the ball slipped under her arm and rolled towards the goal. The roll was slow enough for Campbell to jump on the ball before it reached the goal line.
In the 71st minute, Adriana made a good run to the top of the Houston box, drawing the defenders and finding Watt wide open on the right. The forward took her second shot of the game, but Campbell made a good stop, pushing it away and the Dash cleared the danger.
Two minutes later, Adriana found Strom on the left and the left back sent a good ball into the box, finding the head of Marta. The Brazilian headed the ball towards the far post, but missed wide.
In the 76th minute, the Pride had a chance when the Dash had trouble clearing the ball out of their box. They briefly got it out, but McCutcheon sent it right back in. Dydasco was the first player to the ball, but her clearance attempt went behind her and into the path of Doyle for a header on goal. It was a strong header, but too close to Campbell.
The Pride made their final change in the 79th minute, when Summer Yates entered the game for Abello.
The Dash seemed fine holding onto their two-goal lead in the final 10 minutes and neither team was able to create solid opportunities. Marta took a shot in the 80th minute, and second-half substitute Ebony Salmon found space for a shot in the 86th minute, but both were right at the goalkeepers.
The Pride had a good chance in the 88th minute when Adriana made a strong run into the box and sent it to Doyle near the penalty spot. The striker slipped as she attempted to shoot, but still put the ball on target. However, Campbell did well to block it away, keeping the deficit at two goals.
As the game entered injury time, the fourth official showed eight minutes, a welcome sight for the Pride. It was mostly due to an injury to Natalie Jacobs, who had to go through a concussion test late in the half before she could be removed from the field and the game could continue.
Despite the eight minutes, the Pride weren’t able to create any good chances. McCutcheon played Celia through four minutes into stoppage time, but it was too far and went out for a goal kick. In the final minute, Adriana attempted a shot from long distance, but it wasn’t any trouble for Campbell, and the Dash held on for a 2-0 win.
Statistically, the game was quite close. The Pride had more possession (55.4%-44.6%), corners (8-4), crosses (27-16), and passing accuracy (69.5%-62.1%). Both teams had 13 shots and Houston put more on target (7-6). But the Pride shots didn’t cause Campbell much trouble, with the team failing to score for the second consecutive game and the third time in four games.
“Today we weren’t the better team, Houston was the better team,” Hines said after the game. “They made it difficult for us, they pressed us really hard, and we looked like we weren’t prepared for that. And that’s the most disappointing thing. You know, we want to play the way that we want to play. We have to dictate the game. We have to control the tempo of the game, and we didn’t do that. And even though we didn’t do the fundamentals, the basics right, we still created chances to score. We’ve gone two games now without scoring and that has to change.”
“It’s not one person’s fault tonight,” Montefusco added. “It was a collective. You know, we can’t point fingers at anybody. We’re a group, we’re a team, and we’ve got to lift each other. We’ve shown what we can do and we have to lean into that. We have to find a way. These games on the road are tough and we know that. And I think going forward, we’re just gonna stick together as a group.”
The Pride will stay on road for the Challenge Cup, taking on NJ/NY Gotham FC Wednesday night at Red Bull Arena. Then they’ll return home for regular-season action, welcoming the league-leading Portland Thorns to Exploria Stadium.
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