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Orlando Pride vs. North Carolina Couarge: Final Score 1-1 as Pride Drop Points on Another Last-Second Goal

The Pride conceded a second-half stoppage time goal for the third straight game to draw the Courage at home.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride opened their 2023 NWSL Challenge Cup campaign by conceding another late goal at Exploria Stadium, but this time they pulled out a point against the North Carolina Courage. Ally Watt gave the Pride (0-0-1, 1 point in the NWSL Challenge Cup) their first lead of the year early in the second half, but Denise O’Sullivan equalized for North Carolina (0-0-1, 1 point) deep in second-half stoppage time, resulting in a 1-1 draw.

Pride Head Coach Seb Hines made six changes to the team that lost 2-0 to NJ/NY Gotham FC over the weekend. After Kaylie Collins started in goal Saturday night, Carly Nelson got her first minutes in goal for the Pride tonight. Tori Hansen, Megan Montefusco, Viviana Villacorta, and Summer Yates also started for the first time this year. The back line in front of Nelson was Hansen, and Montefusco in the middle, between fullbacks Emily Madril, and Kylie Strom. Villacorta and Mikayla Cluff were the defensive midfielders, with Yates, Erika Tymrak, and Watt in the attacking midfield, and Messiah Bright up top.

“We wanted to use this as an opportunity to give players game time,” Hines said about the six changes. “And the ones who haven’t played the last couple of games to get out there and play. We got hit with the injury bug. And we had to really manage players going into this game. You know, there were some players that suffered a couple of injuries after the Gotham game. We had a few injuries after training and it was ultimately just trying to manage players.”

The Pride got off to an attacking start in this game, but were unable to connect passes in the final third. In the third minute, Watt used her speed to dash down the right wing and send the ball towards the top of the six-yard box. It was a good cross, but she was well out in front of her teammates and her cross was sent in too early and easily cleared.

The visitors got their first attempt of the night in the fifth minute when Kerolin took a shot from the top of the box. She had space, but her effort was low and relatively soft, creating no trouble for Nelson to make her first official save as a member of the Pride.

After attempting to use Watt’s speed on the wing didn’t work, the Pride tried to send her through on goal from the midfield. In the eighth minute, Tymrak played a good ball forward, looking for the speedster to beat the center backs and goalkeeper Casey Murphy. Unfortunately, it was a little too far for her.

O’Sullivan sent Kerolin into the Pride box in the 16th minute and it looked like the Brazilian international would get a shot on goal. But Madril, playing right back instead of her usual center back position, did well to get in front of the shot and block it out for the game’s first corner kick.

The ensuing corner by Ryan Williams was headed out by Montefusco, but it went right to Kerolin at the top of the box. The midfielder sent in either a cross or a shot, but it went over the goal, giving the Pride a goal kick.

The Pride had their best chance of the early portion of the game in the 22nd minute, created by Watt. The attacker initially lost possession to Malia Berkely, but immediately won it back and sent a low cross into the box. It found Bright at the top of the six, but her first touch was too heavy, resulting in the loss of possession.

After attempting to create chances for Watt and Bright, Yates took her first shot in the 32nd minute. Bright played the ball back to her fellow rookie at the top left corner of the 18 and the fourth-round pick took an ambitious attempt. But O’Sullivan was too close, blocking it with relative ease.

In the 34th minute, Strom pushed forward down the left and got a cross off into the North Carolina box. Watt was making a run, but couldn’t connect with it and the ball skipped through, allowing the Courage to clear it.

North Carolina had a good chance in the 41st minute when a Williams cross was blocked, but went right out to Tyler Lussi. It looked like the midfielder had a clear look at goal, but her shot hit the back of O’Sullivan.

That was the last decent chance of the half as the game went into halftime scoreless. There was little action in the first 45 minutes, with North Carolina logging more possession (58.1%-41.9%), shots (5-1), shots on goal (1-0), corners (1-0), and passing accuracy (85.9%-81.4%). The Pride ended the first half with more duels won (28-22) and both teams had three crosses.

North Carolina got the first chance of the second half in the 49th minute. It was started by O’Sullivan, who sent a low cross into the six-yard box. Montefusco was there but couldn’t clear it and Lussi beat a flat-footed Strom to the ball. Lussi attempted to redirect the cross on target with her first touch, but it went wide of the goal.

The Courage had a quick flurry of chances in the 53rd minute when O’Sullivan sent Berkely into the Pride box. The right back attempted to cross it for Kerolin, but Montefusco was there to make the block. The ball went right back to Berkely, who shot again. This time, Nelson knocked it out for a Courage corner.

The ensuing corner kick ended up with Kerolin just outside of the box. The playmaker cut inside and was taken down by Kerry Abello, who came on for Cluff at halftime. Kerolin decided to take the kick herself and went for goal. The shot was on target, but Nelson blocked it away, enabling the Pride to clear.

Two minutes later, the Pride broke the deadlock. In the 56th minute, a long set piece by Nelson found Yates and the rookie quickly played Watt behind the North Carolina defense. Murphy came out to cut down Watt’s angle and got a piece of the ball, but she didn’t get enough of it and the ball bounced in to give the Pride the 1-0 lead.

“I know she’s gonna make that run in behind. I love that slip ball to her,” Yates said about the goal. “Ally’s so fast it makes my job easy. Just finding the gaps and, yeah, we’ve studied it a lot and we did it a lot in training.”

Right off the kickoff it looked like the Pride would give up their lead. Kerolin sprinted down the field and into the Pride box. Hansen was tracking back to defend and the attacker was near the end line so she cut back. Hansen went down, and the ball hit her arm. Referee Gabriele Giusti immediately pointed to the spot, awarding North Carolina a penalty.

Fortunately for the Pride, Giusti received an alert from the video assistant referee to go to the replay monitor and have another look at the play. After a review of over four minutes, Giusti returned to the field waving his arms, signaling no penalty, and allowing the Pride to avoid conceding a penalty in three consecutive games.

In the 64th minute, a clearance attempt by the Pride only went as far as Lussi at the top of the box. The midfielder took a shot towards goal, but missed just over the crossbar.

Three minutes later, Abello went to her knee with an injury. The Pride medical staff came out to look at her and ultimately took her straight back to the locker room. The Courage got a shot off from Ratcliffe, while the Pride were a player down, but it was blocked and Abello was replaced by Maliah Morris, who signed as an injury replacement on Tuesday. Hines also decided to make another change in addition to the Abello sub, bringing on Haley McCutcheon for Villacorta.

Ratcliffe nearly tied the game in the 72nd minute when a lovely turn beat Madril, taking her behind the Pride defense. Her shot towards the far post was beyond the reach of Nelson, but missed just wide.

The Courage had another chance in the 76th minute when a Berkely cross nearly connected with Ratcliffe at the near post, but she couldn’t get her foot to it. However, it went straight to Kerolin at the far post, but she couldn’t get on the end of the pass either and the Pride escaped.

The Pride finally created another chance in the 80th minute when Bright won a 50-50 ball and played it off for Yates. The attacker shielded her defender, dribbling into the Courage box and fired, but missed wide of the right post.

In the 82nd minute, Hines made the Pride’s fourth change, bringing on Adriana for Tymrak and it didn’t take long for the Brazilian to get involved. Two minutes after coming on, she completed a long run and sent the ball for Bright making a run into the box. But it was a little too far for the rookie.

In the 88th minute, substitute Rikke Madsen played Kerolin past Montefusco and into the Pride box. It was a game-defining moment for Nelson, who stood tall and made an excellent save to maintain the 1-0 lead.

The Courage continued their pressure in the 89th minute when the Pride couldn’t clear a Narumi Miura corner. It ended up at the foot of Williams, but she seemed unprepared for it and could only knock it out for a goal kick.

As the game entered second-half injury time, the fourth official Richonne Clark showed eight minutes. The visitors needed a goal, so they pushed forward, opening up the game and providing multiple chances for both teams in the final minutes.

The first chance came two minutes into injury time when quick passing by Kerolin and Madsen found Muira in the box. But McCutcheon did well to slide in and block it away.

With most of the North Carolina team pushed forward, the Pride quickly went the other way. Bright played a nice ball across the field to Watt on the right, giving her enough room to get a shot off, but Sydney Collins was there to block it.

Seven minutes into injury time, Madsen found O’Sullivan, who took a shot on goal from the top of the box, but it was right at Nelson, who fell on the ball.

On the other end, Adriana received the ball and made a long run into the Courage box. She was aiming for the far post, but her shot was too close to Murphy, who got down to knock the ball away.

As the eighth minute of stoppage time wound down, Strom fouled Ratcliffe on the Courage half of the field, giving the visitors a last attack into the Pride half. Looking for a last-minute equalizer and with only seconds remaining, they desperately attempted to keep the ball around the Pride box. Collins lifted the ball wide to Ratcliffe to create a final cross, which Madril was able to clear. But it only went to O’Sullivan at the top of the box. The Courage captain got over the ball, sending a direct shot past Nelson for the equalizer in the 99th minute.

“I had, I don’t know how many players in front of me, but the ball popped out I think just perfectly and there was a line of players,” Nelson said about the goal. “It may have had a deflection, I don’t know. But the ball, I couldn’t see it until it was in the back of the net.”

It’s the third consecutive week that the Pride have conceded in second-half injury time, though that goal nine minutes into stoppage time was the earliest of the three — the last four goals Orlando has conceded in competitive play came in the 99th, 107th, 100th, and 100th minutes. It also robbed the Pride of their first win of 2023.

Statistically, North Carolina dominated the game, ending with more possession (65.2%-34.8%), shots (18-6), shots on goal (6-2), corners (8-2), crosses (20-5), and passing accuracy (86%-73.2%).

“Feels like the weekend,” Hines said. “You know, I think that the players were tremendous. They put the work in, they were brilliant. They stuck to the game plan. You know, you take a 1-0 lead, we have to learn. That’s the only way that we can develop is that we have to learn from these moments that can’t keep happening. Put ourselves in a really good position to win the game and, you know, we’ve fallen short again. And we’re just repeating ourselves at the moment.”

“It just comes down to focus and game management,” Yates added about conceding late again. “We’re a young team and we could have probably done a better job of going into the corner, stalling a little longer, keeping the ball, winning the 50-50 balls on clearances, stuff like that that we need to learn from. We’re a young team and we’re going to watch this game back and we’re going to fix our mistakes.”

It’s been the same story for the Pride in their first three home games of 2023. They’ve struggled to convert on the attacking end and conceded late goals to drop points. Fortunately, they had a lead heading into second-half stoppage time tonight, so they still managed to pull out a point instead of dropping all three.

The Pride will look to bounce back from another devastating result when they hit the road to face the Kansas City Current in regular-season play on Sunday.

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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