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Orlando Pride vs. Racing Louisville FC: Final Score 2-2 as Pride End Three-Game Losing Streak

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The Orlando Pride (2-5-3, 9 points) came back from a two-goal deficit to draw Racing Louisville (2-4-4, 10 point) at Daytona International Speedway as part of the 2022 Daytona SoccerFest event. The visitors took a 2-0 lead by the 51st minute with goals by Emina Ekic and Savannah DeMelo, but the Pride came back with goals by Kylie Strom and Darian Jenkins.

This game was a regular season NWSL match, but was the league’s first game ever played at a superspeedway. As a result, the infield and pit road areas were converted into a full-size soccer field. Prior to the Pride taking the field, a legends game was played and Chance the Rapper performed during the warmup period.

Gunny Jonsdottir missed this unique event as she is away on international duty with Iceland. Additionally, Courtney Petersen started the game on the bench and Angharad James is away with an excused absence. As a result, the lineup looked a bit different for this match. The back line in front of Erin McLeod consisted of Celia, Megan Montefusco, Toni Pressley, and Strom. Jordyn Listro and Meggie Dougherty Howard were the defensive midfielders behind Viviana Villacorta, Erika Tymrak, and Thais Reiss with Jenkins up top.

The Pride got off to the better start to the game, holding the majority of possession in the opening 20 minutes. As a result, the hosts got the first chance of the game in the third minute through Dougherty Howard. The midfielder faked two defenders to create space but her shot was saved by Katie Lund.

Another chance came for the Pride in the eighth minute when Jenkins set up Tymrak near the penalty spot. However, the midfielder — making her first start of the regular season —sent the shot well over the crossbar.

Louisville got its first chance of the game in the 10th minute when Freja Olofsson found Kristen Davis in the box. The forward quickly took a shot but missed to the left of the target.

In the 14th minute, Dougherty Howard had another decent chance when Reiss found her with a good ball into the box. However, the Pride midfielder couldn’t get around the ball enough and sent it wide.

Louisville had a golden opportunity in the 23rd minute when a turnover by Strom allowed Jess McDonald to set up Ekic in the box. The forward fired on goal from point-blank range but McLeod did well to close down her angle and block the shot.

A minute later, McLeod saved the Pride again. Lauren Milliet found Ekic in the box and the forward shot on goal. McLeod was able to get her fingertips to the ball, knocking it off the crossbar.

The visitors nearly opened the scoring again in the 32nd minute. Milliet sent McDonald through on goal, but the quick decision making by McLeod allowed her to beat McDonald to the ball and collect it before Louisville’s top scorer could reach it.

Two minutes later, Louisville finally converted. It appeared as though McLeod was going to catch the Louisville cross, but the ball bounced off her hands and right to Ekic. After a brief touch, the Louisville forward shot on goal, sending it between Celia’s legs for the opener.

“I told them that one goal doesn’t dictate how well we’re playing right now,” Interim Head Coach Seb Hines said about the first half goal. “You know, you could see that. Once a goal went in we were disheartened. But we have great players who want to continue to do what’s right and try and get the ball and get back into the game. And it was a blip. That was it. It was just one little blip. And like I said, we created opportunities that we could have been up and that’s the final stage that we need to to improve on.”

While the Pride had the better of the early moments in the game, Louisville took over about 20 minutes in. As a result, the Pride had more possession (56.7%-43.3%) but fewer shots (8-6). Meanwhile, the teams had the same number of shots on target (4-4) but Louisville made one of its efforts count.

Unlike the first half, it was Louisville that was the better team at the start of the second 45 minutes. Shortly after kickoff, two Pride players went into the book as Dougherty Howard fouled Olofsson, which resulted in a blocked shot by Davis, in the 47th minute. Three minutes later, Montefusco was booked for a foul on Savannah DeMelo just outside the box.

The foul placed the ball almost touching the edge of the box. Ekic and DeMelo stood over the ball, with the former making the initial run and stepping over the ball. DeMelo then stepped up and put a screamer into the corner, past arms of the diving McLeod, doubling the Louisville lead.

The Pride responded well, pulling one back in the 59th minute. Substitute Kerry Abello’s cross into the box for Jenkins was punched away, but not far enough as Jenkins gained control. With her back to goal, the forward played it back to Strom, whose second touch curled inside the far post and in. It was Strom’s first goal since joining the Pride last year and her first in the NWSL.

“I almost don’t even still believe that happened,” Strom said about her goal. “But D (Darian Jenkins) I think gave me a great pass back and just saw the opportunity and took it. We’ve always been having a bit of difficulty scoring the past few games. So that’s been a focus these past couple of weeks in training. So it was really nice to get when we were going at them. And yeah, it was nice to go in for sure.”

“It’s a big confidence booster,” Hines added. “You know, when that first goal goes in, can we get another one and then can we control the game after that?”

The goal broke a 329-minute scoring drought for the Pride that dated back to the team’s May 27 game against the Washington Spirit, when Cluff and Jenkins scored two second-half, injury-time goals to equalize. Since scoring that goal, the Pride had been outscored 14-0 in a 5-0 loss to the Houston Dash, a 1-0 loss to the Chicago Red Stars, a 6-0 loss to the Portland Thorns, and falling behind 2-0 tonight to Racing Louisville.

After going more than three-and-a-half games between goals before Strom converted, it only took 11 minutes for the Pride to score their next goal. After starting the attack, Jenkins continued her run into the Louisville box. Tymrak received the ball and quickly played it forward. The Louisville defense tried to step up on Jenkins, but Gemma Bonner kept her onside. Jenkins’ first touch with her right foot curled a shot around Lund and in for the equalizing goal.

“We said at halftime we knew it was coming,” Strom said about scoring two quick goals. “And once we got one they were gonna keep falling.”

Louisville nearly took the lead back in the 78th minute. Tymrak’s foul on DeMelo just outside the box set up a set piece from a similar distance and angle to the DeMelo goal. This time Ekic was the only one around the ball. The first-half goal scorer’s strike appeared to be headed inside the near post, but McLeod made an excellent diving save, knocking it away.

Two minutes later, the Pride nearly took their first lead of the game. Tymrak played Jenkins through, in a ball similar to the one that resulted in Jenkins’ goal. The forward attempted to play the ball low to the far corner, but Lund did well to get down and make the save with her right foot.

As time wound down, both teams were looking for a winner. Despite having gone down 2-0 in the second half, the Pride felt that they could come away with three points.

“I thought we were gonna get one in the end,” Strom said. “And it would have been nice to get.”

“The last 10 minutes I kept yelling to people like three more minutes, three minutes,” Celia added. “Give me three more minutes, because I really did think that we had it in us and I could taste it.”

Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the final minutes and the game ended in a 2-2 draw.

The Pride ended the game with more possession (54.4%-45.6%) but the game was statistically very even. Louisville had more shots (15-13), but the teams had the same number of shots on goal (8-8), corners (4-4), and crosses (16-16).

“Bittersweet,” Hines said about the result. “I think the team showed a lot of courage to come back from 2-0 down. You know, we’ve been in this position too often. But I felt that we didn’t deserve to lose that game today. I think that players played terrific. They played how we wanted to play. We wanted to control the game with our passing and move in and create goal-scoring opportunities. Obviously we need to work on the last part of that. But I can’t fault their attitude after this week. From one day to the game today has been first class.”

Despite only getting a draw in what was technically a home game, the point ends a three-game losing streak in which the team was outscored 14-0. It also ended a goalless run of 329 consecutive minutes.


The Pride have a short week as they take the field again on Friday night against the Houston Dash at Exploria Stadium. The team will be looking to build off this result to get their first win since May 18 in North Carolina.

Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride Sign Midfielder Kerry Abello to New Contract

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

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What It Means for Orlando

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

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

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

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Orlando Pride Unveil New Kits Ahead of 2024 NWSL Season

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

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride Place Megan Montefusco on Season-Ending Injury List

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

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

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

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

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

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

What It Means for Orlando

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

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

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