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Orlando Pride vs. Portland Thorns: Final Score 4-0 as Pride Fall Again in Portland



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride (0-1-0, 0 points) started their 2023 NWSL campaign with a 4-0 loss to the Portland Thorns (1-0-0, 3 points) at Providence Park. Goals by Morgan Weaver and Sophia Smith gave the hosts a 2-0 lead at halftime and Hina Sugita and Michele Vasconcelos both scored in the second half to put the game away.

Seb Hines’ first lineup as permanent head coach featured Anna Moorhouse in goal in front of a back line of Kylie Strom, Caitlin Cosme, Emily Madril, and Haley McCutcheon. Kerry Abello and Mikayla Cluff played behind an attacking midfield of Adriana, Marta, and Julie Doyle, with rookie Messiah Bright up top. It was Cosme’s first professional appearance and Madril and Adriana’s first NWSL games.

The surprise in the lineup was veteran center back Megan Montefusco on the bench, resulting in the young partnership of Cosme and Madril.

“They’re both making their NWSL debuts and it’s a great environment to do it,” Hines said after the game. “Playing here in front of a big crowd against the champions and you have to put young players in positions where they feel uncomfortable. And I thought they did well. I thought we were good in possession. Again, it’s a lot to learn from playing against the MVP (Smith) of the league. You know, probably one of the best players in the league. Portland were direct in transition. She’s a threat and I thought they dealt with it pretty well.”

Portland controlled the game from the outset with pressure on the Pride’s back line. Especially early in the first half, pressure from Smith and Christine Sinclair forced the young Pride defenders into crucial mistakes that gave the hosts some golden opportunities.

Portland had the first flurry of chances inside the first five minutes. The ball bounced around the box before being deflected out for a Thorns corner. Sinclair got her head to the ball, sending it to the back post where Smith was making a run. The U.S. international got to it first, but hit it into the outside netting.

The Thorns got their second chance of the game in the ninth minute when Crystal Dunn found Weaver on the left side of the field. The forward attempted an ambitious shot, but it was right at Moorhouse, who made the easy save.

The first Pride turnover that nearly resulted in a goal came in the 12th minute when a poor pass from Adriana to Marta gave possession to Smith. The Thorns attacker attempted to dribble through three defenders into the box, but Madril did well to stay in front and Marta tracked back to win it for the Pride.

The hosts opened the scoring in the 16th minute. Dunn used her speed to keep a ball towards the end line in play, immediately playing it back to Sugita. The Japanese midfielder sent a cross into the box for Sinclair, whose second touch was on goal and forced Moorhouse into a great one-handed save. Unfortunately, Madril and McCutcheon didn’t react and allowed Weaver to split the defenders, putting the Thorns up 1-0.

Portland doubled its lead just six minutes later with some poor play in the back by Madril and Cluff. Madril headed the ball forward for the midfielder, who played it back with Sinclair applying pressure. Rather than playing the ball outside, Madril sent it forward and it bounced off Sinclair, allowing her to win possession. She played it back for Smith near the penalty spot and the striker put it off the head of Cosme and into the Pride’s net, making it 2-0.

It looked like the Thorns might’ve made it 3-0 in the 26th minute when Sinclair pressured Cluff near the top of the Pride box and won possession. As Cluff went to the ground, Sinclair chipped the ball past Moorhouse. However, the referee, Eric Tattersall, called the play back for a foul on Sinclair, keeping the deficit at two goals.

Sam Coffey sent Smith long in the 30th minute, putting her behind the Pride back line. The striker took the ball into the box and to the left of goal, attempting to dribble around Moorhouse. Fortunately, her shot hit the outside of the post and went out for a goal kick.

The Pride’s inability to clear in the 34th minute provided Portland with multiple corners. Eventually, the chances provided an opportunity for Kelli Hubly to shoot from the top of the box, but Moorhouse tipped it wide. After another pair of corners, Sinclair headed the ball right at Moorhouse and the Pride were finally able to clear.

The Pride almost had their first good chance in the 37th minute when Adriana found some space and sent the ball in for Doyle. The cross was a little too far for the forward, and it was knocked out for a corner.

After the first corner was cleared out of play, the second found the head of Bright at the back post. The rookie outjumped the defenders for the ball, but it went over the bar for a goal kick. Despite the Pride not getting anything on target during the string of chances, it was the first time the Pride put the Thorns defense under some pressure.

On the other end, Smith used her speed to create some space for a shot on goal, but it was a low attempt right at Moorhouse. That was the last chance of the half as the Thorns took a 2-0 lead into the break.

The Pride ended the first 45 minutes with more possession (57.2%-42.8%), but they didn’t do much with it. Meanwhile, Portland had more shots (14-3), shots on target (7-0), corners (6-3), crosses (15-10), and duels won (24-13).

“At halftime, we felt like we were in this game,” McCutcheon said. “We were doing well in possession but just progressing that into the final third was something that we talked about. And controlling the transition moments, they obviously punished us on transition this game.”

The Pride needed a goal to get back into the game and they probably should’ve had an opportunity in the 47th minute. Adriana carried the ball into the Thorns box and attempted to cut it back. Hubly stuck her foot in to win it back and Adriana went down. However, Tattersall decided there wasn’t enough contact and waved play on.

On the other end, the Thorns extended their lead. The Pride attempted to play the ball out of the back, but Madril let it get too far out in front of her. Weaver tipped it to Smith, who carried the ball into the Pride box. Her shot was blocked by Moorhouse, but it went right in front of goal, where Sugita was charging in, putting it past Moorhouse to make it a 3-0 Thorns lead.

Following a Marta blocked shot in the 53rd minute, Adriana came the closest to scoring of any Pride player. Her shot from the top of the box was on target and close to Thorns goalkeeper Bella Bixby. However, Bixby was shielded by multiple players, making it difficult to see. As a result, it took a diving save to keep the ball out of the net.

The first change for the Pride came in the 54th minute. It was Marta’s first competitive game for the Pride since tearing her ACL exactly a year ago and she admitted prior to the game that she wasn’t 100 percent. The club is taking its time bringing her back to full health, so she was taken off after 54 minutes and replaced by rookie Summer Yates, who made her pro debut.

Bright had her second opportunity on goal in the 58th minute, following a set piece by Adriana. However, the header was the same result as her first attempt, missing the target.

Portland had a dangerous chance in the 60th minute, when a cross into the box was blocked right in front of goal by Moorhouse. It was similar to the Sugita goal, but this time the English goalkeeper was able to jump on it, keeping the deficit at three.

Pushing the other way, Adriana made a long run through the Thorns midfield and took a shot from the top of the box, but it was wide right of the target and no trouble for Bixby. Soon after, the Pride made two more changes, bringing Jordyn Listro and Haley Bugeja on for Cluff and Bright.

Portland found its fourth goal in the 76th minute. It started on the Thorns’ side of the field as some nifty footwork by Sugita left two Pride attackers in the dust. She sent the ball forward for Smith, who took it into the box and sent a low, hard cross in front of goal. McCutcheon allowed second-half substitute Vasconcelos to get goal side, allowing her to reach the ball first. Vasconcelos did well with her first touch, putting it past Moorhouse to make the score 4-0.

The assist was the last action of the game for Smith, who left to a rousing ovation from the large Providence Park crowd. Following a goal and an assist, she was replaced by 2023 NWSL first-round pick Izzy D’Aquila.

Olivia Moultrie, who came on for Dunn in the 63rd minute, nearly made it five for the hosts in the 83rd minute with a curling shot from the top of the box. However, Moorhouse did well to dive to her left, getting her fingertips to the ball and sending it wide of the goal.

Two minutes later, Moorhouse was called into action again when Moultrie shot from distance. Moorhouse blocked the shot, but it went right in front of her for the third time in the game. Rocky Rodriguez took the second attempt from close range, but Moorhouse blocked it again. Fortunately, a foul was called on D’Aquila before a third attempt was taken and the Pride were able to clear.

The Pride had one final attempt to get something from the game in injury time when Doyle took a shot from just inside the box, but it was high and wide. That was the last chance for either team.

The Pride ended the game with more possession (51.4%-48.6%), but were dominated in most other statistical categories. The Thorns had more shots (26-9), shots on goal (16-1), corners (10-7), crosses (25-21), duels won (43-40), and passing accuracy (82.6%-79.8%).

“Obviously we’re disappointed with the result and the goals that we conceded. But I think there’s a lot of positives to take away,” Hines said about the game. “We came here and tried to play the right way. We tried to control the game in possession. And when you do that there has to be an objective to score and I don’t think we created enough opportunities to score. And that’s something that we’ll review and look back in video and ultimately, you know, going into the season we want to possess to score goals. Credit to Portland, they got us on those transitions, very direct, very front-footed. And, you know, again, we just have to evaluate moving forward.”

“Obviously disappointed. You know, everybody wants to start the season off strong and we were more than prepared to do so,” McCutcheon added. “And, you know, this is a tough place to play, but we’re going to keep our heads held high because we came here and tried to play the way we want to play so we’ll be happy with that.”

Hines’ first trip to Portland as the interim head coach last year ended in a 6-0 drubbing. With this 4-0 defeat, he’s now seen his team lose by a combined score of 10-0 at Providence Park. However, Hines is not the only Pride coach to experience this. The Pride are now 1-8-0 all-time in Portland and have been outscored 27-9 in those nine contests.

The team will look to bounce back next Sunday when it welcomes Angel City FC to Exploria Stadium for the Pride’s home opener.

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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