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Orlando Pride vs. Houston Dash: Final Score 5-0 as the Pride Get Dismantled on the Road



The Orlando Pride (2-3-2, 8 points) were completely outclassed by the Houston Dash (3-1-2, 11 points), falling 5-0 in Texas. The hosts were led by a Nichelle Prince hat trick, with Rachel Daly and Michelle Alozie adding to the tally in a game the Pride were never in.

Pride Head Coach Amanda Cromwell made some significant changes to the team’s back line to start this game. Celia (illness) and Carrie Lawrence (ribs) were omitted from the team that traveled to Texas entirely. Starting left back Courtney Petersen made the trip but started the game on the bench. As a result, the back four consisted of Kerry Abello, Megan Montefusco, Toni Pressley, and Gunny Jonsdottir. The forward positions were much more typical, with Jordyn Listro, Viviana Villacorta, and Mikayla Cluff in the midfield and the normal front line of Sydney Leroux, Leah Pruitt, and Darian Jenkins.

“We had to make a lot of different moves and move players around and get them out of spots they’re usually in,” Cromwell said about the lineup changes. “It doesn’t make you feel super comfortable, but I know Gunny (Jonsdottir) was down for the challenge (of moving to right back) and she was fine with it.”

This game was all Houston from start to finish. The Pride left too many pockets of space in the back and looked disconnected up top. Several Houston chances were created by bad turnovers and poor marking by the Pride.

The first chance in the game came in the fifth minute when Shea Groom found Daly in the Pride box. The Dash captain found space between the two center backs but couldn’t quite get her foot to the ball, allowing Erin McLeod to collect it.

The Pride got their first chance a minute later when Abello sent a cross into the Dash box. There were forwards charging in, but the cross was too close to Jane Campbell and the Houston goalkeeper was able to catch it.

Orlando had another chance in the 10th minute when a long cross by Jonsdottir reached Leroux near the back post. Leroux dove to get her head to the ball and sent it toward the opposite post, but the attempt went wide. That was the first of several missed opportunities for Leroux on the night.

Following that chance by Leroux, it was all Houston, a common theme for the Pride after the first 10 to 15 minutes of a half. In the 12th minute, Sophie Schmidt found Nichelle Prince darting in behind the Pride back line. However, Montefusco did well to beat her to the ball, allowing the Pride to gain possession.

A minute later, Schmidt attempted to catch McLeod off her line. It appeared as though the ball would beat McLeod if it were on target, but the ball went over the crossbar.

The ineptitude of the Pride in this game was on full display in the 17th minute when Pressley attempted to play the ball back to McLeod. It was a very poor pass that rolled wide of McLeod, leaving the goalkeeper chasing it towards her own net. Fortunately, it went wide and out for a corner kick.

In the 20th minute, Daly found Groom, who quickly played it forward for Prince. The forward controlled the ball inside the Pride box, but Montefusco did well to get back and win it.

After 12 minutes of complete domination by the hosts, the Pride finally got another chance in the 22nd minute. Leroux received the ball on the left side of the box and shot on target, but it was right at Campbell and the Dash shot stopper got down to block it away.

Following that chance, Houston took back control of the game. Maria Sanchez sent a dangerous ball through the box in the 24th minute, but no Dash players could get on the end of it.

Three minutes later, Houston got its much-deserved first goal. Daly had the ball near midfield and sent a long pass for Prince behind the Pride back line. Prince was able to beat Listro and Pressley didn’t do much to cover. As a result, McLeod was forced to cut down Prince’s angle. However, the forward put it past the Pride goalkeeper and on goal. Jonsdottir got her foot to the ball, attempting to clear it off the line, but only put it into the back of the net.

“I think we need to come out stronger in the first half because I feel like we’re always chasing the game,” Pruitt said about conceding the first goal. “So I think we just need to learn how to come out hot in the beginning.”

The Dash nearly scored a second in the 30th minute off of a bad Pride mistake. Listro’s throw-in was quickly played back by Leroux and the defender attempted to play it square to Villacorta. It was a terrible pass that sent Villacorta chasing the ball. Groom was the first to reach the ball and played it to Daly. Fortunately, the Dash’s top goal scorer coming into the game sent it over the crossbar.

Two minutes later, the Dash doubled their lead. Sanchez sent a great ball into the box, but it should’ve been handled by the back line. Despite being between two defenders, Daly was the only one to get her head on the ball, sending it over McLeod, who got caught off her line. The ball sailed just inside McLeod’s left post and the Dash took a 2-0 lead.

The Pride responded well to the second goal, quickly creating a chance of their own. In the 34th minute, Cluff sent a cross into the box for Leroux, breaking in on the back post. The forward was able to get her foot to it in a sliding effort, but the shot was wide of the target.

Five minutes later, the Dash made it three. After receiving the ball on the left from former Pride midfielder Marisa Viggiano, Prince used a sharp cut back to beat Jonsdottir. Her shot on goal was deflected by Montefusco, but the deflection redirected it into the back of the net.

Despite being up 3-0, the Dash didn’t stop their attack. In the 40th minute, another Pride turnover gave Groom enough space to attempt to beat McLeod over the top again. However, the ambitious shot was off target.

The Pride had another attempt and a shout for a penalty in the 42nd minute. Jenkins sent a long cross for Leroux near the back post, very similar to Cluff’s ball earlier in the half. Leroux and Haley Hanson were battling, with the latter appearing to tug on Leroux’s jersey. As a result, Leroux’s shot was right at Campbell who made the save. The Pride players appealed for a penalty, but referee Luis Guardia said no.

After Groom had tried to beat McLeod from distance twice in the first half, Hanson attempted to get on the scoresheet in the 44th minute. The defender took a shot from distance but sent it off target.

Despite the 3-0 halftime scoreline, the statistics looked as though the Pride were much better. Orlando had more possession (52%-48%) and crosses (7-6), as well as better passing accuracy (78.2%-73.9%). However, Houston had more shots (8-6) and shots on goal (3-2).

“One thing that we changed was our formation,” Petersen said about the halftime changes. “We matched them in a 3-5-2 and I think that helped us a lot in the midfield. And at the end of the day, we said we have nothing to lose. You know, we’re going into halftime at 3-0. And we have to push, you know. We have to go for a goal.”

As the second half began, Cromwell made a couple of changes in an attempt to get back into the game. Julie Doyle and Petersen were brought on for Jonsdottir and Pressley. However, it didn’t make much of a difference.

Just four minutes into the second half, the Dash made it a 4-0 game. Groom took the ball towards the end line, where she ran out of space. Doyle tried to push her out of play but was unsuccessful. Montefusco had a chance to clear it away, but her poor attempt went right to Prince.

While it was a poor defensive effort for the Pride, Prince deserves plenty of credit for the goal. Her first touch was a chip over McLeod and just inside the far post, giving her team a 4-0 lead.

The goal marked Prince’s first hat trick at the club level — she had one for Canada — and was the first hat trick in the nine-year history of the Houston Dash.

Despite the bad start to the half and falling behind by four goals, the Pride still attempted to get back into the game. In the 55th minute, Leroux sent a cross into the box but it was cleared away by Katie Naughton.

A minute later, Leroux nearly got one back for the Pride when she got her head to a good Petersen cross. The ball beat Campbell but not the post as it hit the woodwork, allowing Houston to clear.

Leroux had another chance in the 58th minute when she was sent down the left by Petersen. She looked to beat Campbell, but sent the ball high and wide of the target.

The Dash nearly increased the lead to five in the 60th minute when Sanchez found Hanson open in the box. The defender lost Cluff to find the space to get the header on goal, but it hit the crossbar. The rebound went to Sanchez, who followed the play, but her attempt was off target.

Alozie came on in the 81st minute during a double substitution that also saw the hat trick hero leave. The late addition made an immediate impact, nearly making it 5-0. Less than a minute after coming on, the attacker was sent through by Emily Ogle. Montefusco was initially with her but slipped, allowing Alozie to go in alone on goal. She fired past McLeod, but sent her shot wide of the target.

Six minutes later, she had another opportunity and did make it five. Groom made a long run through the midfield, through several tired Pride defenders, eventually sending it forward for Alozie. Parker Roberts, who had come on in the 76th minute, attempted to keep up but the forward was too quick. The two had a brief stumble but Alozie stayed on her feet. After missing her first breakaway, Alozie sent the second chance right by McLeod’s left foot and in for the fifth goal of the game.

Each team had a chance as the game neared full time, despite the result having been decided. In the 89th minute, Kylie Strom had a shot from the penalty spot but sent it well off target.

Houston had its final attempt three minutes into injury time when Groom made another good run and played it through for Joele Anderson. The second-half substitute put it past McLeod but was unable to hold her run and was judged offside. That was the final chance for either team as the Dash came away with a commanding 5-0 win.

In the end, the Pride held more possession (58.2%-41.8%) and were much more accurate with their passes (81.1%-68.8%). However, the Dash had more shots (14-12) and more shots on target (6-3) throughout the 90 minutes.

“The first half puts you in a bind and so we changed things up. I’m always a coach, so I’m going to go for it. You know, I’d rather lose 5-0 trying to get it back to three, get some goals, then stay at 3-0 not trying,” Cromwell said about the game. “So we changed formation. Obviously we’re pushing, I think the shots ended 14-12. I think we hit the post, had some chances. But nothing fell our way tonight. Everything they touched in the box was golden and it just feels pretty bad.”

“I think it’s about just forgetting about the previous games and just moving forward,” Pruitt added. “So I think we just need to forget about it, work to the next game, and just try to be positive. And we have talent and we have the mentality to win. So we just have to figure out how to do it.”

The 5-0 defeat matches the worst result in the seven-year history of the Pride. They previously lost 5-0 on April 17, 2019 to the North Carolina Courage away and then lost 6-1 on Sept. 14, 2019 to the same opponent in the same location.

“In the transition game, we have to be so much better defending,” Cromwell said about conceding five times. “We have to help Erin (McLeod) out. We have to help each other out. Be closer in pressure cover situations. There’s a lot of things we could’ve done better defensively to give ourselves a chance in this game.”

While it was a strong performance by Houston, multiple goals were caused by defensive mistakes. The center back pairing of Montefusco and Pressley left too much space for Daly and Prince and too many balls were given away in dangerous positions.

“I think we just need to have confidence on the ball,” Pruitt said about the turnovers. “There is a lot of goals that we’ve given up that were on us. So I feel like if we can fix that and just play together, it’ll be a lot different outcome. And if we can capitalize on the mistakes that other teams make, it could be a totally different game.”

The Pride will now have an extended break as they don’t play until next Sunday. The team will look to bounce back as they face the Chicago Red Stars in Bridgeview, IL.

Orlando Pride

2023 Orlando Pride Season in Review: Emily Madril

The first-year defender played almost every single minute available in the 2023 season.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Mark Thor

The Orlando Pride selected former Florida State defender Emily Madril with the No. 3 overall selection in the 2023 NWSL Draft. The 5-foot-7 Navarre, FL native decided to forego her last season of eligibility in Tallahassee to begin her professional career. A two-time national champion (2018 and 2021), Madril left FSU, signing a contract with the National Women’s Soccer League through 2025 and was loaned to Swedish side BK Hacken FF.

Following a standout first NWSL season in which she played all but three minutes in the regular season, Madril was rewarded by the Pride with a new contract through 2026.

Let’s take a look at her first season with the Orlando Pride.

Statistical Breakdown

Madril started all 22 of the Pride’s regular-season games in 2023, leading all rookies in minutes played (1,977), and coming off only moments before the end of the club’s season finale against the Houston Dash when the Pride were desperately trying to score a game winner to stay in playoff contention. The defender did not record a goal or an assist on the season, attempting just one shot, which was off target. Madril completed 814 of her 953 passes (85.4%), 46 of her 103 long passes (44.7%), and one of her three crosses, while recording five key passes. There wasn’t much drop-off in her passing rate related to position on the field, as Madril completed 88.7% of her passes in the defensive half and 75.6% in the attacking half. Defensively, she added 19 blocks and 19 interceptions, won 17 of her 28 tackles (60.7%), and was successful on 76 of her 122 duels (62.3%). She also won 54.5% of her 33 aerial duels. She won 23 fouls while conceding only nine and was booked twice during the regular season.

In the NWSL Challenge Cup, Madril appeared in five of the team’s six matches (all starts), and played 450 minutes. She did not score a goal or assist on one and did not attempt a shot. She completed 193 of her 224 passes (86.2%), including 13 of her 25 long passes (52%). Madril passed at an 89% rate in her own half and a 78.3% in the attacking half, recording one key pass, but not attempting a cross in the competition. She recorded 10 blocks and four interceptions on defense, winning 55.6% of her tackle attempts, 68.1% of her duels, and 71.4% of her aerial duels. She committed five fouls, drawing six on the opposition, and was not booked in the tournament.

Best Game

With a number of standout games to choose from, I’ll go with the Pride’s 1-0 win over OL Reign on July 7. Paired with Megan Montefusco as the center back tandem, Madril and her teammates limited the Reign to just five shot attempts (two on target) across the 90+ minutes of the game. Madril had 55 touches and completed 89.1% of her 46 passes. She recorded two tackles and drew two fouls on her opponents while not committing any. Madril and her teammates helped Messiah Bright’s 16th-minute strike hold up over the remainder of the match without constantly being under siege. It was a complete performance and one of the team’s best defensive efforts of the year. It was also just the Pride’s second win ever against OL Reign.

2023 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff gave Madril a composite rating of 6.5 for the 2023 season. There were several shaky moments early in the year for the first-year NWSL defender that prevented that score from rising higher (such as conceding a penalty against Angel City), but as the season progressed and she became more comfortable with Seb Hines’ system, the league, and her teammates, Madril was a solid player on the Pride’s back line. She showed her versatility in being able to play both center back positions as well as right back for a couple of matches. A 6.5 is a good rating for a first-year NWSL center back, and Madril showed that she has the potential to develop into one of the league’s best defenders.

2024 Outlook

Madril is obviously highly regarded by the organization and has a huge upside. She has expressed on multiple occasions how happy she is to be with the Pride, and I would expect her to be in Orlando until/unless the Pride get an offer they can’t refuse from a bigger club or if Madril decides to leave once she’s eligible for free agency. Madril should be a starter on the back line for the Pride in 2024 barring something unforseen.

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Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride Sign Defender Emily Madril to New Contract

The center back signs a new three-year deal, keeping her in Orlando through 2026.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Mark Thor

The Orlando Pride announced today that the club has signed starting center back Emily Madril to a new three-year contract. The defender originally signed a three-year deal with the NWSL, running through the 2025 season, but this new contract will keep her in Orlando through 2026.

“I had a great rookie year here and had so much fun and love everyone in the Orlando Pride organization,” Madril said in a club press release. “The chemistry that we have in the locker room between all the girls and the entire coaching staff is just amazing and played a big factor in me wanting to stay here in Orlando. I am so excited to be a part of the Pride for the future and continue to be a part of the special thing we are building here.” 

After leaving Florida State University following her junior season, Madril signed a three-year contract with the NWSL and went on loan to Swedish Damallsvenskan side BK Hacken. The Pride drafted the defender with the third overall selection in the 2023 NWSL Draft, immediately putting her into the starting lineup.

Madril initially started alongside Caitlin Cosme at center back, before being joined by Megan Montefusco and, eventually, Rafaelle. She showed her versatility on two occasions, starting at right back.

The Boise, ID native started all 22 regular-season games for the Pride, recording a rookie-leading 1,977 minutes, and she only came off late in the season finale against the Houston Dash when the Pride needed a goal. She completed 814 of her 953 passes (85.4%), 46 of her 103 long passes (44.7%), and took one off-target shot. Defensively, she added 19 blocks and 19 interceptions, won 17 of her 28 tackles (60.7%), and was successful on 76 of her 122 duels (62.3%).

Madril also played in five of the team’s six Challenge Cup games, recording 450 minutes. She completed 193 of 224 passes in those games (86.2%) and 13 of 25 long balls (52%). She continued to be a key defensive presence in those midseason cup matches, recording 10 blocks and four interceptions, as well as winning 10 of her 18 tackles (55.6%) and 32 of her 47 duels (68.1%).

“Emily came in and made an immediate impact, just as we expected she would when we drafted her,” Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter said in the club’s release. “She was a reliable presence in our back line throughout the entire season and showed her potential to be one of the best defenders in the league. Her maturity and professionalism shined throughout the entire year, and we are very happy to be able to have her with the Pride for the years to come. She is an important part of what we are building here, and she wants to be a part of it, which we are very excited about.” 

Madril has also had a presence for the United States at the international level, receiving call-ups for the U-19, U-20, and U-23 U.S. Women’s National Teams.

What It Means for Orlando

Madril was a key piece of the Pride’s team in 2023 and the club hopes she’ll be for a long time to come. She showed early on that she can become one of the best defenders in the NWSL and her time at right back indicated she has the versatility valued by Carter and Pride Head Coach Seb Hines.

The 24-year-old was already signed to a three-year deal through the 2025 season, so this keeps her in Orlando for an additional year. Terms were not disclosed, but it’s likely she got a raise as well. If she continues to improve on how she played this season, the Pride will undoubtedly look to extend her even further into the future. For next year, she’ll likely continue starting alongside Rafaelle, making up a formidable center back pairing the club can count on.

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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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