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Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride vs. OL Reign: Final Score 3-0 as Pride Fall in Season Finale



The Orlando Pride (5-10-7, 22 points) ended their 2022 NWSL campaign with a 3-0 loss to OL Reign (11-4-7, 40 points), getting dominated from start to finish and closing the season on a six-match winless streak (0-5-1). Megan Rapinoe, Jordyn Huitema, and Bethany Balcer gave the Reign a three-goal lead inside 31 minutes and held it for the remainder of the game. With the win, OL Reign jumped over Portland and won the NWSL Shield.

Pride Interim Head Coach Seb Hines made two changes to the team that drew 2-2 with San Diego Wave FC last weekend. Celia and Thais Reiss started this game on the bench, replaced by Kylie Strom and Darian Jenkins.

The back four in front of Erin McLeod was Courtney Petersen, Carrie Lawrence, Toni Pressley, and Kylie Strom. Megan Montefusco and Haley Hanson shared the defensive midfield for the second-consecutive game behind Gunny Jonsdottir, Meggie Dougherty Howard, and Darian Jenkins. Leah Pruitt started the game up top.

OL Reign took control of the game in the second minute and didn’t let up. The Pride were slow in defense, had poor clearances, and were unable to maintain control of the ball. As a result, the game was pretty much over in the 31st minute when the Reign increased their lead to three goals.

The hosts had the game’s first chance in the second minute when a good ball by Huitema looking for Rose Lavelle was cleared out of play by Pressley for a corner kick. The ensuing corner ended up at the foot of Quinn, but the shot was blocked by Lawrence.

The Reign got a second good chance when Lawrence lost the ball in her own end, creating a chance for Jess Fishlock, but the shot was wide. In the fifth minute, Quinn found Balcer out wide and the forward played a great cross for an unmarked Rose Lavelle. It appeared that Lavelle didn’t realize how much time she had, immediately heading it rather than bringing it down. However, she was a little further back and the header went just wide of the target.

OL Reign opened the scoring in the eighth minute, largely because of a Pride mistake. Quinn attempted to send the ball forward from a midfield position but it went right to Strom. The defender tried to clear the ball, but it went off the side of her foot and right to Huitema. The Canadian quickly played it into the middle where Rapinoe was left unmarked, on the quick counter, putting it past McLeod to give the Reign an early 1-0 lead.

“You dig yourself a hole eight minutes in. That’s pretty tough,” Montefusco said about conceding so early. “Especially knowing that they weren’t going to stop. We kind of felt that right out the gate. They were down our throats and I think we were saying to each other in those moments just stay composed and weather the storm. And the storm was continuing to come and we didn’t do that well, but that’s another learning experience for this young team.”

“I think we came out flat and our style of play, which I thought we did really well last game — we’re a pass-and-move type of team, short passes — we started a little bit frantic, including some of the passes that I made,” McLeod added. “And they had an incredible atmosphere here and I think we kind of started a little bit on our heels. We weren’t as sharp as usual.”

The hosts nearly doubled their lead in the 12th minute through a great individual effort by Balcer. Huitema found the forward at the top corner of the box. After a stepover to beat Petersen, Balcer tried to chip McLeod. She sent the ball just over the crossbar. Three minutes later, Fishlock sent a ball for Balcer in the box. Petersen was able to get her head to the ball, but sent it to Huitema in the center of the area. The attacker quickly got a shot off but sent the ball just wide.

The Pride finally got their first chance of the game in the 22nd minute. After Strom’s corner was cleared out of play by Reign goalkeeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce, the Pride took a second corner. This one allowed Lawrence to get a header towards goal but didn’t get much power on it and it was easily cleared. The Pride kept the ball in the Reign third and Pruitt ended up with a shot, but she took it with the outside of her foot. Instead of bending it inside the far post, she sent it well wide of the target.

Two minutes later, the Reign doubled their lead. Quinn picked up the ball at midfield and sent a long, low ball past the Pride defense. Huitema easily beat Pressley to the ball, dribbled around McLeod, and passed it into the net to give the hosts a 2-0 lead.

In the 31st minute, the Reign scored the third goal of the first half. Fishlock sent a great ball into the six-yard box from the left side where Balcer beat her defender to the face of goal. The forward volleyed the ball with her shin guard, but she didn’t need much to tap it in and give the hosts a commanding 3-0 lead.

The third goal was the last chance for either team. During the final 14 minutes of the half, OL Reign controlled most of the possession but weren’t in a hurry to go forward. When the Pride had possession, the Reign remained behind the ball and allowed the Pride to pass it around the back.

“This is why we play the game. This is why we grow up wanting to play these occasions and play in these stadiums with fans and against the top teams and I felt that we got a little bit of stage fright,” Hines said about the first half. “Almost deer in headlights kind of feelings.”

At the end of the first half, OL Reign had more possession (54%-46%), shots (9-2), shots on target (3-0), crosses (7-4), and passing accuracy (80.5%-78.4%). The only attacking statistic the Pride led in was corners (2-1) and both came during the same attack.

“It was just focused on the details,” Montefusco said about the halftime message. “Want the ball, get on the ball, check your shoulder, scan. I think we were just turning into people and they were playing faster and getting in the spaces quicker than we were and we were just playing a little bit too slow. So I think we just had to get on the ball and be confident on it and do the little things right and I think we definitely did that in the second half and picked up the speed of it to match their pace of the game.”

The Reign got the first chance of the second half in the 46th minute when Lawerence fouled Rapinoe, creating a free kick. The set piece ended up with Fishlock, who took a shot, but the shot aimed for the top left corner just missed.

Hines didn’t make any changes at halftime, but brought on three substitutes in the 56th minute. Julie Doyle, Celia, and Jordyn Listro entered the game for Pruitt, Pressley, and Hanson. He made another change in the 65th minute when Haley Bugeja came on for Jenkins.

The Reign got the second shot of the half in the 73rd minute when Tziarra King created a chance seconds after coming on for Rapinoe. Fishlock found the substitute on the left side and the forward used a nice touch to flick the ball over the head of the defender to find space. She was aiming for the far post but it missed wide.

The Pride finally got their third shot of the game in the 76th minute from Listro. The second-half substitute found enough space for a shot from outside of the box but it was right at Tullis-Joyce and didn’t provide any trouble for the Reign goalkeeper.

The Pride had a couple of chances late to get a goal in the game. In the 87th minute, Dougherty Howard took a shot from outside of the box but it sailed over the crossbar. Two minutes later, Celia found Kerry Abello in the box. The substitute got her head to the ball but sent it just wide of the near post.

The Pride had much more possession in the second half, resulting in the visitors ending the game with slightly more time on the ball (50.4%-49.6%) and better passing accuracy (76%-73.7%). But the Reign had more shots (14-5), shots on target (3-1), and crosses (10-8). Additionally, both teams ended the game with a pair of corner kicks.

“Obviously, disappointing start to the game,” Hines said about the performance. “It’s never good going three goals down at halftime. But I felt that we were better in the second half. But, you know, it was too late by that time.”

With Racing Louisville’s 1-0 win over the Kansas City Current earlier in the day, the Pride dropped to 10th in the standings, finishing one point behind Louisville. They ended the season three points ahead of the Washington Spirit and nine points ahead of NJ/NY Gotham FC.

“We spoke about them,” Hines said about what he said to the players after the game. “They’ve been through hell and they saw a bit of light when we were in that run. And the message was don’t let this last end of the season dictate how far you’ve come and what you’ve gone through and the adversity that you’ve shown and the togetherness that you’ve had to bring this group together and have a direction.”

The Pride’s seventh NWSL season is over and there will be more changes in this off-season. The roster, as it stands, was not good enough to consistently compete in 2022, especially against most of the league’s better teams. There are some holes to fill up and down the roster.

The off-season should be an interesting one.

Orlando Pride

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.



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, in The Den at Inter&Co Stadium during regular business hours, and on 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.



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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Orlando Pride

Five Questions About the Orlando Pride in 2024

What are the top five questions for the Orlando Pride heading into the 2024 NWSL season?



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride have begun their preseason training for the 2024 NWSL season and will play their first preseason scrimmage on Thursday afternoon. The team nearly made the playoffs last year for the first time since 2017, narrowly missing out on the final day of the season. The team’s been busy this off-season, looking to improve the squad. However, there are still some questions to be answered before the competitive games start.

Here are five burning questions about the Pride for 2024.

Who Will Start in Goal?

The Pride signed English goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse from French side Bordeaux on Jan. 31, 2022 to back up Erin McLeod. When the Canadian left after the 2022 season, Moorhouse was elevated to starter. She played well at times last year, but was inconsistent. However, Pride Head Coach Seb Hines showed confidence in the 28-year-old, starting her in 19 of the team’s 22 regular-season games.

In December, the Pride traded backup Carly Nelson to the Utah Royals for Allocation Money. The move came 11 days after they signed Finnish goalkeeper Sofia Manner, indicating the club was planning for the departure. While Moorhouse will undoubtedly start the season as the team’s number one, Manner could claim the position if Moorhouse’s inconsistency returns. It will be something to keep an eye on this year.

Who Will Start in the Defensive Midfield?

The Pride focused on the team’s back line last year, but much of the effort this off-season has been on the defensive midfield. The team traded for Haley McCutcheon on Aug. 18, 2022 and it appeared as though she would start in the position. However, Hines moved her to right back last year, where she’s become the regular starter. It then looked like recent draft picks Viviana Villacorta and Mikayla Cluff would be the duo, but Cluff was traded to Utah on Nov. 15 for Expansion Draft protection and Villacorta tore her ACL late last year.

The club focused on the position this off-season, bringing in Brazilian internationals Angelina and Luana, along with USWNT player Morgan Gautrat. All three will battle to start in the defensive midfield, especially since Villacorta is injured and fellow defensive midfielders Cluff and Jordyn Listro are gone. But it’s still unknown who will start in those positions. It’s a question that will likely be answered in the coming weeks as the Pride build for the start of the regular season in March.

Where is Ally Watt Best Suited?

After tearing down the roster in a full rebuild, the Pride made two significant acquisitions in August 2022. In addition to trading for McCutcheon, the Pride dealt Allocation Money to OL Reign (now Seattle Reign FC) for forward Ally Watt. The speedy attacker quickly became the second option up top for the Pride, typically playing behind rookie Messiah Bright last year and starting the odd game. However, that’s not the only position she played.

Hines has shown he values versatility and illustrated that with Watt last year. In addition to playing up top, Watt was deployed on the right side of the midfield. Her speed and ability with the ball was an asset in the position, and she was praised by teammates in the role. They love having her on the right and Julie Doyle on the left, the two fastest players on the team. The questions now become: which position is she best at, and where does she best fit in with this team?

Who will Replace Messiah Bright?

Possibly the biggest question for the 2024 season is who will replace the starting striker. The Pride drafted Bright with the 21st overall pick of the 2022 NWSL Draft out of TCU, and she quickly became the focal point of the attack. Her six regular-season goals last year tied Adriana for the team lead. However, the forward requested a trade this off-season, citing personal reasons, and was shipped off to Angel City FC.

The club did sign Simone Charley, most recently with Angel City, who could replace Bright. However, she’s coming off a season-ending injury and wasn’t as effective in Los Angeles as she was in Portland. Other options include Canadian international Amanda Allen or Argentina international Mariana Larroquette. Watt might be the most likely to start the season up top as it stands, with Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter recently telling our SkoPurp Soccer podcast that 2024 will be “the season of Ally.” But it remains to be seen who will be the Pride’s new number nine.

Will We Discover the Pride’s New Number 10?

Marta has been the Pride’s number 10 since she arrived in 2017 and the team’s most prolific player. She leads the team all-time in appearances (102), starts (95), minutes (8,456), goals (31), and assists (18) in all competitions. However, she’s on the final year of a two-year deal that’s widely expected to be the last for the soon-to-be-38-year-old midfielder. If she does depart the club following the 2024 season, they Pride will need to find her replacement.

The club could go outside and find her replacement for 2025, but there are options in the current squad. The most talented player on the team currently is Brazilian international Adriana, who has typically played on the right side of the midfield, causing problems for defenses. She’s also switched with Marta at times, moving central, and has played there at the international level. The club also has Summer Yates, the former Washington Husky drafted in 2023. Yates slipped to the fourth round, where the Pride grabbed her, and Carter recently said she’s seen significant development in the second-year player.

While the primary focus is on this season, Hines could show his hand with who plays the most minutes behind Marta in the attacking midfield. While a final decision will probably be left to the 2025 preseason, we can get an idea of who might be in line for arguably the most significant role on the team during the 2024 campaign.

The Pride enter the 2024 season with more expectations than the last two years. They narrowly missed out on the playoffs in 2023 and will be looking to improve this season. While most of the team is intact, there are some questions to be answered during preseason and the coming regular season. It will tell us a lot about the team’s 2024 season and the coming years.

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