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Orlando Pride vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC: Final Score 2-0 as Pride Concede Latest Goal in NWSL History

Pride concede two latest goals in NWSL history to fall 2-0 to NJ/NY Gotham FC.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

The Orlando Pride (0-3-0, 0 points) experienced more late-game drama, falling 2-0 to NJ/NY Gotham FC (2-1-0, 6 points) at Exploria Stadium. Midge Purce converted a penalty after a controversial handball in the box and Lynn Williams sealed it for the visitors with the latest goal in NWSL history.

The big surprise in the Pride lineup tonight was the inclusion of Kaylie Collins in goal. Regular starter Anna Moorhouse wasn’t in the team at all and Carly Nelson, the team’s primary backup, was on the bench. 

“We had a few minor injuries. Kaylie’s been with the team for a while now and she’s waited for an opportunity,” Pride Head Coach Seb Hines said about starting his 23-year-old goalkeeper. “It’s given her exposure. It’s her time. So again, we’re always challenging players, we’re questioning players for places and to be in the starting 11. That continues with the goalkeepers as well.”

“Excited to get the start,” Collins added. “I’m really grateful for the opportunity. Honestly, it’s just the start so I’m feeling good about that.”

The rest of the lineup was as expected, including Kylie Strom, Emily Madril, Caitlin Cosme, and Haley McCutcheon in the back, Kerry Abello, Mikayla Cluff, Adriana, Marta, and Erika Tymrak in the midfield, and Messiah Bright up top.

The game was pretty even to start with a giveaway in the back providing Gotham with the first chance. But the shot was right at Collins, who easily grabbed it. The Pride had a chance of their own a minute later when Abello shot from the top of the box, but Gotham goalkeeper Abby Smith was there to make the save.

In the sixth minute, Strom made a nice overlapping run and received the ball from Marta on the left. The outside back sent a cross into the box for oncoming attackers, but it was too close to Smith, who had no trouble collecting it.

The game settled down after the first six minutes as both teams attempted to build an attack. The next chance came in the 14th minute when Ifeoma Onumonu charged down the right sideline. She made her way into the Pride box, but Cosme was there to block the cross out of play.

In the 19th minute, Adriana was played behind the Gotham back line. She attempted to play it across for Marta, who was making a run into the Gotham box, but sent it a little too far ahead of her. Gotham was unable to clear and Marta regained possession for the Pride. She sent a lovely ball into the six-yard box where Adriana had made a run, but her header was just wide of the target.

Shortly after, the Pride appeared to have another good chance when Tymrak played a diagonal ball from the left for Adriana. The Brazilian raced Smith to the ball outside of the box, but the goalkeeper got there first, clearing it away.

After serving as a game-changing substitute against Angel City, Bright was quieter in this one. However, she had a chance in the 25th minute when the rookie turned her defender twice, creating enough space to get a shot off. Unfortunately, the Gotham defense did well to keep someone in front of her, and her shot was blocked.

Two minutes later, Adriana attempted a cross into the box, but it was blocked by Mandy Freeman. The ball bounced back out to Abello, who shot from the top of the box. But she didn’t get much on it and Smith was able to make the easy stop.

In the 31st minute, McCutcheon played the ball forward for Adriana, who was making a run into the box. Adriana’s first touch was a low cross for Bright, at the top of the six. The rookie striker got her foot to the ball, but it went off the post and out of play. Despite the close attempt, it wouldn’t have counted as the assistant referee had raised his flag for offside.

Gotham finally got another chance in the 33rd minute when Onumonu dribbled down the right and into the Pride box. She was well defended by Strom, who drove her towards the end line. The forward ended up taking a shot from a tight angle, but it was right to Collins.

The last chance of the first half came in the 42nd minute when Abello took a long-distance shot. It wasn’t very hard and caused no trouble for Smith, sending the game into halftime scoreless.

Despite Gotham kicking off, the Pride got off to the better second-half start. Less than a minute into the second period of play, Tymrak played Marta forward. She attempted a shot from the left of goal, but it was right to Smith, who made the stop.

Gotham nearly opened the scoring in the 50th minute when a clearance landed at the feet of Kelley O’Hara well outside of the Pride box. The left back sent in a cross that appeared to be heading just inside the back post. It forced Collins into a dive to tip it wide of the goal.

The visitors had another chance in the 54th minute when a poor touch by Madril gave Yazmeen Ryan the ball near the top of the box. Kristie Mewis ended up with it and shot, but it was well high of the target.

In the 61st minute, Hines made his first change of the game. Still coming back from her ACL tear last season and a hamstring injury that kept her out of the 2-1 loss to Angel City, Marta was replaced by Viviana Villacorta. The appearance was Villacorta’s first since she left the Aug. 26, 2022 game against OL Reign in the same stadium.

“We knew that Marta was restricted, missing last week and still coming back from an ACL,” Hines said about the substitution. “So that substitution was always going to happen.”

Gotham had a pair of great chances in the 65th minute when Collins lost the ball to Williams, who took it right off her foot. She found Sinead Farrelly, but her shot was blocked by Cosme. The deflection fell to Ryan, who took a shot of her own, but McCutcheon was there to keep it from going in.

In the 74th minute, Madril played a nice ball out of the back for McCutcheon. The right back dribbled into the Gotham box and had enough space for a shot, but from a tight angle. As a result, the ball hit the side netting.

Three minutes later, Tymrak took the ball to the end line and played it back for Adriana. The Brazilian’s first touch got away from her, but it went right to Abello a few yards behind. The midfielder took a shot, but hit it over the crossbar.

As time wound down, Gotham began to keep more possession as the visitors searched for a late winner. Purce didn’t start the game, but came on in the 69th minute for Onumonu. In the 80th minute, the second-half substitute took her first shot of the game from outside of the box. It was on target, but Collins did well to get a hand to it, tipping it over the crossbar.

The visitors continued their attack and had another chance in the 83rd minute when Mewis and Williams both flicked the ball forward. But Collins did well to come off her line and gather it before any Gotham players could get a shot off.

After nearly getting the game’s first goal, Purce almost set up the opener in the 87th minute. Her cross nearly connected with the head of Mewis right in front of goal, but was inches high, and went out for a Pride goal kick.

Just before the game went into injury time, Hines made three more changes as the Pride looked to see out their first point of the season. Megan Montefusco, Jordyn Listro, and Summer Yates entered the game for Cluff, Tymrak, and Listro.

While the substitutes made their way onto the field, the fourth official held up nine minutes of added time. That was a major factor in the game’s final result.

Shortly into injury time, Williams dribbled into the box and attempted a cross, but it was deflected out by Montefusco. The ensuing corner kick bounced around the Pride box before referee Elvis Osmanovic blew his whistle for a foul on Gotham. However, he was alerted by the video assistant referee of a possible handball.

After sitting around approximately four minutes waiting for a decision, Osmanovic jogged over to the sideline monitor to review the play. Eventually, he came back and pointed to the spot, indicating a handball offense on Cosme.

“I think all of us were pretty shocked. You know, we’re new to VAR. And while it’s great for some things, it’s not so great when you’re on the opposite end of it,” Cosme said about the Pride’s reaction to the penalty decision. “I think that our discussion was we’re going to be fine. It’s taking this long to come up with the decision, must not have been clear enough. And then when the referee made that decision, I think we all were just like all right, here we go again. So not much discussion. I think we were all pretty confident that it wasn’t going to be a PK but sometimes it doesn’t go your way.”

Mewis held the ball at first while Osmanovic attempted to get everyone in the right positions for the penalty. However, Purce stepped up when it was time to take the kick. The substitute sent her penalty past Collins and into the roof of the net, giving the visitors a 1-0 lead.

At 99:53, the goal was the latest goal in NWSL history, passing Angel City’s goal in the same stadium two weeks ago, which went in at 99:12. That gave the Pride the two latest goals conceded in league history. But they weren’t done.

The Pride had one chance to equalize as the game entered the 13th minute of second-half injury time. Looking to bounce back from her handball, Cosme sent a cross into the box that found the head of Montefusco. However, Smith was there to catch the header, maintaining Gotham’s 1-0 lead.

Following the save, Gotham gained possession and Williams continuously took the ball to the corner, shielding it from Pride defenders. But 17 minutes into second-half injury time, she went to goal instead. After receiving a pass from Purce, Williams dribbled into the Pride box and fired from the left of goal and towards the far corner. The ball curled around Collins’ outstretched arm and in, sealing the 2-0 win for Gotham.

At 106:44, Williams’ strike became the new latest goal in NWSL history. The Pride now have conceded the three latest goals in league history, all coming in their last two games.

Due to technical difficulties, there weren’t any stats prior to the 38th minute of the game and most of the domestic audience not at Exploria Stadium saw nothing of the match. However, after that point, Gotham recorded more possession (61.8%-38.2%), shots (15-6), shots on target (4-2), corners (8-2), and passing accuracy (66.5%-54.3%).

“We’re in it the whole way and then a call doesn’t go our way and it just changes the result,” Hines said after the game. “We have a lot of opportunities to score, we don’t take them, leaves Gothem a chance to win the game. So, you’ve got to take your opportunities when they present themselves. But yeah, same old feeling after the game, disappointed with the result. Effort was great, as always. The players are really putting the effort in. Just want the result to really feel like they’re rewarded for their efforts.”

“I think we are all super disappointed,” Cosme added. “I think that we know that we should have put that game away. We also know that we need to stay focused for 90-plus minutes. That’s what this game is about, especially with VAR, people go down. And right now we’re not doing that. And I think the team needs to figure it out. I think we will figure it out. We’re still hopeful. You know, we believe in one another, but we understand that we need to be better. This is just the beginning of the season. So I think that we’re all excited to keep growing but definitely super disappointed with tonight’s result.”

As the 2023 NWSL season continues, the Pride continue to find new ways to lose. After getting destroyed by the Portland Thorns in the season opener, they’ve now set two new records for conceding the latest game-winning goals and three new records for conceding the latest goal in league history.

The team won’t have much time to dwell on this loss as the Pride welcome the North Carolina Courage into Exploria Stadium on Wednesday night as they open the NWSL Challenge Cup.

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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