Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride vs. Kansas City Current: Final Score 2-0 as Pride’s Slide Continues

The Pride played one of their better matches of 2023 but remain winless after a mistake turned the game in KC’s favor.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

Even when the Orlando Pride play well they can’t seem to find a way to score or take points from games. The Pride played one of their better games this season but still found a way to lose to the previously winless Kansas City Current at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, KS.

Orlando (0-4-0, 0 points) controlled possession and created some chances — and a lot of set pieces — but once again the toothless Pride failed to score. That let the Current (1-3-0, 3 points) hang around and they pounced when a poor touch at the top of her own box by Jordyn Listro gifted Debinha an easy opening goal in the second half. CeCe Kizer added another moments later and that was essentially that.

“Obviously disappointed with the result. I think we had a game plan. We stuck to the game plan in moments, but didn’t really execute in terms of creating too many opportunities in the attacking third,” Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines said after the match. “I don’t think there was a lot between ourselves and Kansas (City) but you know, we had a lot of corners, a lot of shots, but didn’t really make the keeper work, and it’s a sort of another moment where they’ve capitalized on us giving the ball away and you know, it changes the whole game.”

Hines’ lineup included Carly Nelson in goal for her second straight start behind a back line of Kylie Strom, Caitlin Cosme, Megan Montefusco, and Emily Madril. Haley McCutcheon and Listro patrolled the central midfield behind an attacking line of Marta, Viviana Villacorta, and Adriana. Ally Watt got the start up top.

The Pride got the first look at goal four minutes in with a drive by Adriana from outside the top of the box. She got decent power on the near-post effort but Cassie Miller had it covered all the way.

Other than that, the first 15 minutes belonged to the hosts. Their best chance came when Debinha headed off the post in the ninth minute but those watching on the Paramount+ stream only saw it on replay because the broadcast inexplicably went to a replay of a Kansas City cross attempt that hit the outside of the post while play was still live. The ball then skipped across the front of goal where Nelson eventually covered it.

There was a video check to see if the Current should receive a penalty due to CeCe Kizer going down in the scrum, but nothing was given.

Moments later, there was another rugby scrum in the penalty area in front of Nelson but eventually the Pride cleared a ball off a Current player and out for a goal kick.

The Pride started to settle into the game 15-ish minutes in and controlled possession for a while but did little other than win some set pieces, but nothing came of them. The best chance for an Orlando goal came off a Marta corner in the 24th minute that was directed toward goal. It was nearly deflected in off of Kate Del Fava but skipped just wide. Pride players wanted a handball call but Del Fava’s arm was tucked in close to her body and the review did not prompt the referee to take a look.

Kansas City created some trouble on the counter in the 39th minute when Del Fava’s cross was headed well over the bar by Kizer. Madril wasn’t marking her tightly enough but the cross was a bit behind the KC forward, making it a difficult chance.

Watt got down the right side in the 43rd minute and took a shot but pushed it well to the left of goal. Two minutes later, Watt cut back onto her left foot and curled in a dangerous cross that was just out of the reach of a diving McCutcheon. That was it for the first half.

Orlando held a slight advantage in possession (50.9%-49.1%) and had more corners (4-1) and passing accuracy (82.3%-78%). Both teams attempted just four shots and each got just one on frame.

The Pride simply couldn’t take the lead despite a good first half and Hines said the Current’s low block made it difficult to connect the attack and get a goal.

“It was difficult. They had five defenders covering the width,” he said. “Their engagement line was a lot lower as well. So, you really have to be creative and problem solve in them moments. Decisive passing, unselfish running will create space and move defenders out of position. Again, it’s difficult when a team sets up like that.”

The second half had a bit more ebb and flow to it than the first half but neither side

The hosts nearly struck right out of the break with a ball in behind for Debinha. Strom did well to get back and break up the play and got some help from Cosme to snuff out the chance in the 47th minute.

The next few minutes saw Watt send in a couple of crosses and Adriana head one off a defender for a corner. The Pride again couldn’t do much with their set piece.

Kansas City got on the front foot in the 51st minute after knocking Marta down — cleanly in the view of the referee — and getting forward, where Michelle Cooper hit a shot right at Nelson. Moments later, after Orlando turned it over trying to play out of their half, it was Kizer curling in a shot that made for a comfortable save for Nelson.

Marta and Adriana got into the box in the 57th minute but with the ongoing recovery from her knee surgery, the captain couldn’t beat her defender and tried to backheel it to her fellow Brazilian international but Adriana was nowhere near where Marta thought she’d be.

Messiah Bright came on and had an early opportunity in the 61st minute off a Strom cross but her header was well wide .

Three minutes later, the game turned on Listro’s mistake. Nelson played a ball out of her area between defenders for Listro, but her touch was all wrong and she lost control. Hailie Mace picked up the loose ball and fed Debinha, who cut to her right across the box and fired back against the grain past Nelson to make it 1-0 in the 64th minute.

Although it was Listro’s poor touch, it was a lot for Nelson to ask of her midfielder who was running back toward goal under pressure from Mace. The wiser play may have been to launch a long ball in that situation.

“It’s a tough industry, because teams will capitalize on the mistakes, and that’s where we’re at right now. We’re giving teams an opportunity to win the game,” Hines said.

“I think that one goal just kind of put us out a little bit,” Madril said. “I think, overall, we were right there with them the whole game and could have had a couple of goals.”

Four minutes later, the Current killed the game as the Pride got stretched. A cross in from Mace —this time on the right side — found Kizer and she buried it to make it 2-0 in the 68th minute.

Bright nearly pulled one back two minutes later when she got her head to a corner kick cross, but her attempt hit the woodwork from close range.

Strom did well to poke the ball away from Debinha moments later when the Brazilian star got in behind but tried to cut back to her left once she got into the box.

Adriana’s shot that stayed well wide to the right of goal was as close as the Pride got to spoiling the clean sheet down the stretch before the whistle mercifully blew on yet another loss in a growing string of them for Orlando.

The Pride led in most of the major statistical categories, with more possession (52.4%-47.6%), shots (14-11), corners (9-1), and passing accuracy (79.2%-77.1%), but the glaring stat is that the Current had a lopsided advantage in shots on target (5-1) and that, coupled with taking advantage of the other team’s mistakes, ultimately made the difference in a close match.

“We came in ready to win this game. We feel like we’ve been building for a while and we’re almost there,” Montefusco said. “We had a lot of possession and it felt like we were in control. It’s just, you know, again, in this league it’s all about fine margins, little details, and unfortunately we had some errors.”

The Pride will once again look for that elusive first result of the season as they head back on the road Saturday night, visiting the San Diego Wave at 10 p.m.


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