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Orlando Pride vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC: Final Score 1-0 as Late Goal Dooms Pride



The Orlando Pride (0-2-1, 1 point) played much better tonight than the loss in North Carolina last weekend but fell 1-0 to NJ/NY Gotham FC (1-1-1, 4 points). Despite several late chances on goal, It was a late Midge Purce goal that was the difference and the Pride still have yet to score a goal this season.

Pride Head Coach Amanda Cromwell made some significant changes from the team that lost 1-0 to the North Carolina Courage. While Marta is out after suffering a knee injury last weekend, starting defender Carrie Lawrence and goalkeeper Erin McLeod were listed as questionable heading into this game and neither player made the bench. As a result, Anna Moorhouse got her first start in goal for the Pride. Additionally, Kylie Strom and Erika Tymrak made their first starts of the 2022 NWSL campaign.

The game also marked some milestones for two Pride players. It was Tymrak’s 150th NWSL appearance in all competitions and Sydney Leroux’s 125th appearance in all NWSL competitions.

Gotham got the first chance of the game in the second minute. A corner by the visitors landed in the box and a scramble ensued as the Pride desperately tried to clear. Eventually, they were able to send the ball out of play, avoiding a catastrophic start.

The Pride nearly had their first good chance of the game in the ninth minute when a long ball nearly met the foot of Gunny Jonsdottir deep in the Gotham half. However, it was just beyond her reach as the chance went missing.

The Pride’s best chance of the half came in the 19th minute. Jonsdottir found Leroux making a run into the Gotham box. The Pride forward gained control, turned to the inside of the box, and fired on goal. The shot was on target but Ashlyn Harris made a diving save. After nearly 20 minutes of play, it was the first shot on target by either team.

Shortly after the chance for Leroux, the Pride had a couple of opportunities from free kicks. In the 24th minute, Meggie Dougherty Howard’s ball into the box ended up at the foot of Amy Turner but her shot sailed over the crossbar.

Three minutes later, another Dougherty Howard free kick found the head of Jonsdottir in the box. However, the header was off target as the Pride were once again unable to put any pressure on Harris.

The Pride’s inability to finish nearly cost them in the 30th minute when a Paige Monaghan cross was headed down by Caprice Dydasco near the top of the Pride’s six-yard box. Fortunately for the hosts, no Gotham players were there to get on the end of it and the Pride were able to clear.

Arguably the best chance for the visitors came in the 33rd minute. Purce found herself with the ball in front of goal and was able to get off a shot. However, Toni Pressley did well to get in front and make the block.

Monaghan had been a pest on the left by creating chances but had a chance to get the opener herself. In the 40th minute, Kristie Mewis found Monaghan on the far side with no defenders on her. The attacker attempted a one-touch shot on goal but didn’t get enough of the ball as it rolled wide.

As the game entered first half stoppage time, the Pride found some energy and created some chances that nearly resulted in the game’s first goal. It started with Leroux carrying the ball into the box behind the Gotham defense, but her shot was saved by the leg of Harris. Seconds later a cross into the box found the head of Leroux, but she couldn’t redirect it on target as it rolled wide.

Gotham had more possession (51.7%-48.3%), more passes (253-236), and more shots (9-6) than the Pride in the first 45 minutes. However, the Pride’s two shots on target were the only shots on frame in the first half.

Just like the first half, Gotham started the second period on the attack. In the 47th minute, the visitors had another scramble in the box that could’ve resulted in an opening goal. However, the Pride were once again able to clear in what was eerily similar to the start of the game.

The first second-half chance for the Pride came in the 54th minute. A McCall Zerboni foul just outside the box set up a chance for the Pride. However, Pressley’s free kick wasn’t high enough as Monaghan was able to block it out for a corner.

Three minutes later, Dougherty Howard came inches away from giving the Pride the lead. Receiving the ball outside the box, the Pride midfielder decided to take a shot on goal. The hard, low attempt beat the diving Harris but not her post as it rattled the woodwork.

On the other end, Purce spun her defender and sent a ball into the middle of the box. Courtney Petersen attempted to clear but it went right to Mewis who fired on goal. Fortunately, the point-blank shot was right at Moorhouse and she was able to make the stop.

Mewis got another chance in the 63rd minute when Purce sent her towards the end line. The U.S. international outmuscled Angharad James off the ball to create a chance but sent the shot high.

Gotham got another excellent chance in the 67th minute when Monaghan beat Strom to create a one-on-one opportunity against Moorhouse. However, the Pride goalkeeper came up big once again, making a good stop to avoid a deficit.

After the save by Moorhouse, the Pride were able to create some chances of their own. A Pride counter attack ended up with Leroux who was able to get a shot off but it was blocked. Two minutes later, a poor clearance by Gotham wound up at the foot of Tymrak. The experienced midfielder’s shot was just wide of the target, beyond the outstretched arms of Harris.

In the 78th minute, Tymrak found herself with an opportunity from distance. The midfielder was looking to sneak the ball inside the post, but it went just wide.

Six minutes later, James decided to take an ambitious shot from distance. The curling ball moved away from the diving Harris but hit the post. It was the second time the Pride had hit the woodwork in the game.

James took another long-distance shot in the 86th minute. While the first one was inches away from the game’s first goal, she was unable to get over the second attempt, which went over the crossbar.

After the Pride had come inches away from scoring on multiple occasions, it was Gotham that took the lead on the ensuing attack. A chip into the Pride third led to a foot race between Purce and Pressley. The midfielder was much faster than the center back, getting to the ball first. She quickly fired on goal, beating Moorhouse to give the visitors the late lead.

“It was just a quick ball through that, I think we just got caught flat,” Cromwell said about the goal. “So the defenders have to drop off a little sooner reading that. There’s no pressure on the ball.”

“I think it’s a little bit of a lapse in concentration,” Moorhouse said about the goal. “The ball came across the 18 and maybe it really shouldn’t have got that far. And then myself and Toni (Pressley) tried to clean up the situation and it didn’t work.”

The Pride responded with an attacking mindset, mostly resulting in crosses by Petersen. After a couple of blocked cross attempts, Jonsdottir got a shot off on target. It ended up with Pressley in the box, who desperately tried to put a shot on target. After a couple of blocks, it was a sliding attempt that went wide, allowing Gotham to clear and secure the win.

After being thoroughly outplayed over the weekend in North Carolina, the Pride were much better tonight. They ended the game with greater possession (54.2%-45.8%), better passing accuracy (80.1%-77.5%), and more shots (23-14) than Gotham. The primary difference was shots on target as Gotham led that category 3-2.

Despite the loss, this is arguably the best game the Pride have played so far. It’s the first time this season that they had more possession, shots, and better passing accuracy than the opposition.

“Probably the best game so far as far as over a 90-minute period,” Cromwell said after the game. “We’ve had moments in other games that were very good, or halves, but I thought we had a lot of the ball and we created going forward. Unlucky not to score if it wasn’t for this goalkeeper (Harris).”

While the Pride’s defense has been strong in all three games, this was the best performance from the offense, something that Cromwell noted after the game.

“I thought we were very creative,” Cromwell said. “I thought Syd (Leroux) was very dangerous up top, Erika (Tymrak) coming in in a beat. This was her first start. Very creative, really good movement.”

Apart from the game, it was also the return of two Pride legends in Harris and Ali Krieger. Harris was the Pride’s first acquisition in 2016 and Krieger joined her a year later in 2017. The two were traded to Gotham this off-season as a part of the rebuilding process, leaving the club as the two players with the most appearances in club history.

“It was weird,” the Central Florida native Harris said about returning for the first time. “This is my home. This is, like, my people and my city and I love it so much. And it means so much to me. So it was a really tough day.”

The Pride are now in last in the East Division of the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup. They’ll look to bounce back from the two-game losing streak when they visit the Washington Spirit Sunday afternoon.

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.

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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.

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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.

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