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Orlando Pride vs. Washington Spirit: Final Score 2-1 as Pride Increase Unbeaten Run to Four Games

Marta’s goal and assist lifted the Pride to their third win in four games.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride (3-4-1, 10 points) handed the Washington Spirit (4-1-3, 15 points) their first loss of the 2023 NWSL season, beating them 2-1 at Exploria Stadium. A 23rd-minute penalty by Marta gave the Pride the lead, but the Spirit answered in the 28th minute through Sam Staab. The Pride found a winner in the 77th minute when a Marta corner found the head of Kylie Strom, securing the team’s fourth consecutive result.

Pride Head Coach Seb Hines made one change from the team that had remained the same for the last three games. Kerry Abello got her first regular-season start since April 15, replacing Erika Tymrak. He also changed from a 4-2-3-1 formation to a 4-3-3 setup. Anna Moorhouse was in goal in front of the now-normal back line of Strom, Emily Madril, Megan Montefusco, and Haley McCutcheon. Mikayla Cluff, Viviana Villacorta, and Abello were in the midfield behind a forward line of Marta, Adriana, and Messiah Bright.

“We had to respect Washington and there are some really good individuals on that team and we changed the way that we pressed tonight,” Hines said about the team’s formation and style. “It was a little bit different. We went with a 4-3-3, and it does require a lot of work in that pressing, but, you know, the players fully bought into what we’re trying to do. And it was a little bit unusual for them because they hadn’t experienced it and we did some work in training leading up to this game.”

Despite facing a Spirit team atop the NWSL standings, the Pride created more chances in this game. However, they were unable to hit the target with most of those chances, keeping the opposition close. Fortunately, Moorhouse had arguably her best game of the year to maintain the lead and eventually claim the win.

The game got off to a rough start when McCutcheon collided with Trinity Rodman eight seconds after kickoff. McCutcheon’s elbow appeared to contact the back of Rodman’s head, so Washington’s medical staff came on to look at the star forward. After taking her off the field for a few minutes for a concussion test and to test her mobility, she returned to the field.

The Pride had the first dangerous attack in the eighth minute when Cluff won the ball near midfield. Bright picked it up and dribbled down field, attempting to play it around Tara McKeown. She beat the center back, but Amber Brooks did well to catch up from behind and clear it away.

In the 18th minute, the Spirit got their first chance of the game, when Paige Metayer lifted the ball to the far post from the top of the box. Ashley Sanchez was left unmarked and shot on goal from a tough angle. But Moorhouse was there to make the easy save.

A minute later, Bright had a chance on the other end. Dribbling into the box on the right, the striker’s first shot was blocked by Staab. But it went right back to the rookie, providing a second attempt. Similar to Sanchez’s shot, it was from a tight angle, enabling Aubrey Kingsbury to make the relatively easy stop.

The Pride broke through when Adriana made a nice run down the left in the 21st minute. She used her speed to beat Brooks, forcing the right back to make a desperate dive to stop the Brazilian. Adriana immediately went to the ground and referee Thomas Snyder pointed to the spot.

Unsurprisingly, Marta stood over the ball, ready to take the penalty. Kingsbury dove to her left and the Pride captain sent the ball the other way, giving the hosts a 1-0 lead. It was the Brazilian’s first goal since she tore her ACL during the 2022 Challenge Cup, keeping her out all of last season.

“I’m so happy that I scored my first goal,” Marta said about her first goal for the Pride since 2021. “You know, I just didn’t think about it so much, maybe because of the moment in the game. And I just think like, ‘Yes, we score.’ I scored a penalty, you know? I think it’s more like double pressure because if you miss, you don’t know how the game is gonna be for you and for your team. So I was so happy that I did (score).”

“Any forward wants to get that feeling back, and it’s a testament to her and her recovery coming back from a longterm injury,” Hines said about Marta’s penalty. “And you don’t want anyone else stepping up for that penalty other than her. She’s been in them moments so often, on the biggest stage, so we have full confidence in her hitting the back of the net in that moment.”

It’s the second time this year that the Pride have scored first against the Spirit. On May 10, it was Tori Hansen scoring a backheel in the Challenge Cup. This one was more expected, as it was created and converted by two of the Pride’s best attacking players.

Unfortunately, the lead didn’t last long as the Spirit answered right back. In the 28th minute, Marta wasn’t quick enough to the ball near the top of the box, giving the ball up to Brooks. The right back’s cross was deflected out by Adriana for a corner kick.

Ashley Hatch took the corner, playing it short to Ines Jaurena. The French midfielder sent a cross into the box that found the head of Staab. Cluff was defending the center back, but fell as the ball came in. Since Cluff was between Montefusco and Staab, the center back couldn’t challenge for the ball, and Moorhouse initially decided to come out, then changed her mind, getting caught in between decisions, as Staab put it past her to even the game at 1-1.

The Pride had a decent chance to regain the lead in the 39th minute, when quick play between Marta and Abello resulted in the latter attempting a cross. Gabrielle Carle blocked it out of play for a corner kick. Adriana’s cross found Montefusco at the near post, but her header was wide.

Less than a minute later, Rodman showed her skill and speed, dribbling past McCutcheon and into the Pride box. She had a split second before Madril came over for support, getting her shot off between the two. Rodman got over the ball, but it was right at Moorhouse, who caught the attempt.

The Pride had another chance in the 44th minute when Strom played the ball for Bright making a diagonal run in the box. Bright received the ball with her back to goal, but McKeown knocked it out for a corner. The ensuing set piece by Adriana found Strom near the back post, but she couldn’t get over the ball and it sailed over the target.

After 45 minutes, the Spirit had more possession (55.9%-44.1%), shots on goal (4-2), crosses (9-7), and passing accuracy (80.6%-72.5%). The Pride had more shot attempts (6-5), and both teams had three corner kicks.

The Spirit almost got the first chance of the second half when Sanchez played a great ball down the left for Rodman, sending her behind McCutcheon. The forward sent a dangerous ball through the Pride box, but nobody was there to get on the end of it.

The Pride’s first second-half chance came in the 49th minute when Bright made a long run from near midfield into the Washington box. She used her speed to get by Staab, but the center back was able to stay with her, forcing Bright’s shot into the side of the net.

Moorhouse has taken some criticism for her early-season play, but she came up with some big saves to keep her team in the game. In the 53rd minute, Jaurena found Rodman on the right and the forward sent Sanchez through on goal. Moorhouse came off her line to greet the attacker, taking it off her foot. However, the assistant’s flag went up for the initial ball to Rodman.

Two minutes later, Andi Sullivan attempted a long-distance shot. It looked to be headed just under the crossbar, but Moorhouse did well to tip it over.

The ensuing corner landed at the foot of Dorian Bailey, who came on at halftime for Brooks,. She attempted her own long shot, but Moorhouse dove to her right to knock it wide.

“She didn’t have a lot to do last week against Gotham, but today she came up massive for us,” Hines said about Moorhouse’s performance against Washington. “It’s so important that everyone does their job. You know, the work that the players in front, have to run, have to battle, have to fight, and she’s there as a safety. And the saves that she made really, they were so important for us to get the three points today.”

The Pride had their own close attempt in the 63rd minute. After Bailey knocked the ball out for a corner, Adriana sent the ball to the near post where Strom was charging in. The left back got her head on the ball, flicking it towards the far post, but missed just wide.

In the 66th minute, Strom sent a long ball into the box for Bright, just missing the striker. That was the last action for the rookie, as she was replaced by Ally Watt, the Pride’s first substitution of the game.

The Pride retook the lead in the 77th minute from a set piece. It started when Adriana’s shot was blocked wide by McKeown. Marta’s corner was perfectly placed, sailing just over Lena Silano and finding the head of Strom at the back post. The left back’s header was past Kingsbury, giving the Pride a 2-1 lead.

“We’ve been working on that exact play,” Strom said about the game-winner. “(Pride Goalkeeper Coach) Paul (Crichton) has drew that up time and time again, every game, scouting set pieces, so credit to him. Marta, absolutely perfect service. I really honestly didn’t have to do too much. I was just in the right place at the right time. And yeah, it was great. Great delivery, great goal.”

“Today it was not my best day with the set pieces, especially in the corner. Maybe I have three or four on my side and two was so bad,” Marta said about her assist. “And then I come to the third one, and then I talked to myself and talked to God and say, ‘Hey, I know I can do that.’ And then I put the ball in the right place and then she was there to score.”

In the 84th minute, the Pride had a chance when McKeown pushed Adriana down from behind near the Spirit box, picking up a yellow card in the process. Marta stepped up to take the kick, sending a low shot towards the bottom of the near post. But Kingsbury did well to get down and save it.

On the other end, Carle had a chance when she got behind Marta. She moved in towards goal from the left, allowing Marta to catch up to her. The Brazilian deflected the shot into the arms of Moorhouse at the near post.

The Spirit had one last chance at the end of the game when McCutcheon fouled Rodman just inside their own half of the field. Stabb sent the set piece into the box, but Moorhouse came out to catch and fall on it. That was the last play of the game as Snyder blew the final whistle.

The Pride ended the game with more shots (14-9), but the Spirit had more possession (55.9%-44.1%) and shots on target (6-4). Additionally, the Pride had more corners (7-5) and the Spirit had more crosses (18-17).

“We knew it was gonna be a tough game,” Hines said about the performance. “You know, Washington are unbeaten in the league. Very physical and I thought we managed the game really well. Pleased with the goals. You know, we changed shape, we changed our formation, having played them earlier on in Challenge Cup, so we knew what they’re capable of. We knew that they were threatening and I thought it was a big collective effort to get the three points.”

With this win, the Pride have now won three of their last four regular season games and their last two at home. After losing their first four games, they’re now on a four-game unbeaten run (3-0-1), lifting them up to seventh in the NWSL standings, with 10 points from eight games.

Having beaten the NWSL’s first-place team, the Pride will now look to continue their unbeaten run against the team at the bottom of the standings, when they face the Chicago Red Stars next Saturday night in Illinois.

Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC NWSL Challenge Cup Game Postponed

The Pride were scheduled to face NJ/NY Gotham FC in New Jersey, but poor air quality has postponed the game until Aug. 9.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

Tonight’s NWSL Challenge Cup game between the Orlando Pride and NJ/NY Gotham FC has been postponed by the NWSL. The league released a statement this afternoon stating that poor air quality conditions in the New York metropolitan area was the cause of the postponement. The game will now be played on Aug. 9.

The Pride were originally scheduled to continue their 2023 NWSL Challenge Cup campaign at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ, as they search for their first win of the competition. However, wildfires in eastern Canada have caused deteriorating smoky and hazy conditions that New Jersey residents started experiencing Tuesday evening. Forecasts for Wednesday night showed that conditions were expected worsen, resulting in the postponement of the game.

“The safety of our players, officials, and fans is our top priority,” the NWSL said in a press release. “Following consultation with the NWSL Medical and Operations staff, it was determined that the match could not be safely conducted based on the projected air quality index.”

The scheduling of the game should benefit the Pride. They played Saturday night in a 2-0 loss to the Houston Dash and welcome the Portland Thorns to Exploria Stadium Sunday night. The makeup game comes during a league break for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The Pride play a Challenge Cup game at home on Aug. 4, but don’t play again until they host the Chicago Red Stars on Aug. 20. However, they could be without some key players for that match, depending on who is selected for their respective World Cup squads.

The game on Aug. 9 will still take place at Red Bull Arena at 7:30 p.m. However, rather than being a televised contest on CBS Sports Network, it will now be exclusively on Paramount+ in the United States.

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Orlando Pride vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, Match Thread, and More

The Pride look to get their first 2023 NWSL Challenge Cup win as they take on NJ/NY Gotham FC in New Jersey.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

[Editor’s note: There is some question as to whether this match will take place tonight with wildfires wreaking havoc with the air quality in the area. The Pride and Gotham FC have been in contact with the NWSL, which is monitoring the situation.]

Welcome to your match thread as the Orlando Pride (0-1-1, 1 point) take on NJ/NY Gotham FC (1-0-1, 4 points) at Red Bull Arena in the NWSL Challenge Cup. This is the first of two Challenge Cup meetings between these two teams, with the second game in Orlando scheduled for June 28.

Here’s everything you need to know about tonight’s game.


The Pride have faced Gotham FC 21 times since joining the NWSL in 2016. They’re 7-8-6 in all competitions and 4-2-4 away from home. In Challenge Cup games, the Pride are 0-2-1 in three games against Gotham and 0-0-1 up north.

This is the second time the two teams have met at Red Bull Arena this year. The first meeting came on May 14 in regular season play. The Pride were the better team and created more chances, but couldn’t find the back of the net and the game ended in a scoreless draw.

The Pride and Gotham met for the first time this season on April 15 at Exploria Stadium. The game looked to be headed for a draw, but Gotham struck twice in second-half injury time. Midge Purce converted a penalty 10 minutes into stoppage time for the latest goal in NWSL history. The attacker then assisted Lynn Williams seven minutes later, setting a new record as the Pride fell 2-0. The Professional Referee Organization stated publicly that the penalty given for a handball on Caitlin Cosme did not meet its standards for being clear and obvious enough for a review, but that won’t change the standings.

The two teams met four times last season, twice in the NWSL regular season and twice in the Challenge Cup. The first game was a Challenge Cup meeting on March 30 at Exploria Stadium. It looked to be heading for a 0-0 draw before Purce scored a late winner. The next meeting was April 23 at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey. Gunny Jonsdottir gave the Pride the lead, but Toni Pressley got tangled up with Ifeoma Onumonu, resulting in a penalty. Anna Moorhouse guessed the right way, but Kristie Mewis put it into the bottom corner, evening the game just before the half. Neither team could find a winner and it ended 1-1.

The teams opened the 2022 NWSL regular season against each other on May 1 in Orlando. After two close match-ups in the preseason, this one was all Gotham as goals by McCall Zerboni, Purce, and Mewis lifted the visitors to a 3-0 win. On Aug. 20, they played for the final time in 2022 at Subaru Park in Chester, PA. Celia and Ally Watt built the Pride a 2-0 lead. Mewis got one back for the hosts, but the Pride held on for a 2-1 win.

The Pride and Gotham also met four times in 2021, with the first coming in the Pride’s inaugural Challenge Cup campaign. On April 14, Paige Monaghan’s goal lifted Gotham to a 1-0 win. The first regular-season game that year came on June 20 in Orlando. The visitors took the lead through Caprice Dydasco, but Courtney Petersen equalized, and the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

On Aug. 29, the teams played at Red Bull Arena. Erika Tymrak’s long-range goal lifted the Pride to a 2-1 win. The teams played one final, high-scoring game on Oct. 9. It was a bad start for the Pride as Gaetane Thiney scored a brace and Purce made it 3-0 late. But the Pride came storming back with goals by Tymrak and Marta, falling just short in a 3-2 final.

The Pride and Gotham were in different groups for the 2020 Fall Series, so the last time they met prior to 2021 was in 2019, when the New Jersey-based club was still called Sky Blue FC. They first met that year on June 22 at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, NJ. Chioma Ubogagu gave the Pride the lead from the penalty spot and Sarah Killion equalized. The difference was a Gina Lewandowski own goal as the Pride won 2-1. On July 20, they met at Exploria Stadium. Marisa Viggiano’s goal won it for the Pride, 1-0. The final game occurred on Sept. 29 in New Jersey. Shelina Zadorsky gave the Pride the lead, but Carli Lloyd equalized in a 1-1 draw.

The teams met three times in 2018, starting on June 16 in Orlando, when a Sydney Leroux brace led the Pride to a 3-2 win. They met again in Orlando on Aug. 5, with the Pride giving up a 1-0 after Marta’s opening goal. But Dani Weatherholt equalized in a 2-2 draw. The final meeting in 2018 came on Sept. 8 in New Jersey — the final game of the season. There was only one goal in this one as Lloyd won it for Sky Blue FC.

The 2017 season saw the Pride and Sky Blue meet three times. The first was May 27 in New Jersey, where the Pride lost 2-1. They met again in New Jersey on June 28 and the Pride won, 3-2. The final meeting was on Aug. 12 in Orlando and the Pride won by its largest margin in team history, beating Sky Blue, 5-0.

The 2016 season was the first time the two teams met, with the inaugural game coming on Sept. 7 in New Jersey. Alex Morgan and Sam Kerr swapped goals in a 1-1 draw. They met again three days later in Orlando, with Sky Blue winning, 2-1.


The Pride scored first in each of their first two Challenge Cup games this year. Ally Watt gave the Pride the lead at Exploria Stadium on April 19 against the North Carolina Courage in the 56th minute. It looked like they would hold on for three points, but Denise O’Sullivan scored nine minutes into second-half injury time to equalize. The second game was against the Washington Spirit at Audi Field and Tori Hansen gave the visitors the lead just 10 minutes into the game. But an onslaught of long-distance goals lifted the Spirit to a 4-2 win.

The Pride look to get their first Challenge Cup win of 2023 tonight in New Jersey. The squad will be heavily rotated, especially with the Portland Thorns coming to town on Sunday night. While the team will still look to bring home the three points, Pride Head Coach Seb Hines will use this game as an opportunity to get playing time for players.

Similar to the Pride, Gotham used arguably its best lineup in the first Challenge Cup game against the Spirit. Lynn Williams’ 56th-minute goal was the difference in a 1-0 result. Gotham heavily rotated its lineup for the second game on May 3, a 1-1 draw with the Courage. It conceded just three minutes into the game, but went for the win by bringing on Kristie Mewis, Ali Krieger, and Williams at halftime. Williams equalized late and Gotham took a point from the game.

Gotham’s plan tonight will likely be similar to its second game. The Pride will need to get a good start to the game, because Hines has shown little interest in bringing regular starters into Challenge Cup games. If the Pride want to get three points, they’ll need to score before Gotham’s attacking starters come on.

“Obviously, (Gotham is) looking to win a game the same as us. Playing them a couple of times, they may change shape, they may change formation depending on the personnel they have, but we have to focus on ourselves,” Hines said about tonight’s opponent. “We’re looking to bounce back from this weekend and get three points and keep getting momentum and getting that ball rolling again. Momentum is such a key factor in a season so getting a win against Jersey will be great for the squad and the players.”

The Pride will play this game without Carrie Lawrence (knee) and Erika Tymrak (ankle). Kaylie Collins (hand) and Amanda Allen (lower leg) are listed as questionable. Gotham will be without Imani Dorsey (excused absence), Sabrina Flores (foot), Kelley O’Hara (ankle), Midge Purce (hip), and Taryn Torres (knee).

Projected Lineups

Orlando Pride (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Carly Nelson.

Defenders: Celia, Tori Hansen, Caitlin Cosme, Brianna Martinez.

Defensive Midfielders: Jordyn Listro, Kerry Abello.

Midfielders: Haley Bugeja, Thais Reiss, Summer Yates.

Forwards: Julie Doyle.

NJ/NY Gotham FC (4-3-3)

Goalkeeper: Michelle Betos.

Defenders: Jenna Nighswonger, Ellie Jean, Mandy Freeman, Bruninha.

Midfielders: McCall Zerboni, Nealy Martin, Sinead Farrelly.

Forwards: Svana Ros Gudmundsdottir, Delanie Sheehan, Ifeoma Onumonu.


REF: Greg Dopka.
AR1: Stephen Milhoan.
AR2: Jessica Carnevale.
4TH: Sergii Boiko.
VAR: Daniel Radford.
AVAR: Emma Richards.

How to Watch

Match Time: 7:30 p.m.

Venue: Red Bull Arena — Harrison, NJ.

TV: CBS Sports Network.

Streaming: (International).

Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, follow @TheManeLand and the Orlando Pride’s official Twitter feed (@ORLPride).

Enjoy the match. Go Pride!

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Orlando Pride vs. Houston Dash: Final Score 2-0 as Pride Drop Second Straight

The Houston press was too much for the Pride as they drop their second straight game.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride (3-6-1, 10 points) fell for the second consecutive game, losing to the Houston Dash (4-3-3, 15 points) 2-0 in Texas. Sophie Hirst gave the hosts the lead in the sixth minute and Michelle Alozie doubled the advantage shortly before halftime. They held onto that lead for the entire second half, sending the Pride home with an 0-2-0 road trip.

Pride Head Coach Seb Hines made one change to the team that fell 1-0 to the Chicago Red Stars last weekend. Regular starter Viviana Villacorta returned to the lineup after a game off, replacing Marta. The back four in front of Anna Moorhouse remained the same, with Kylie Strom, Emily Madril, Megan Montefusco, and Haley McCutcheon. Villacorta joined Mikalya Cluff, Adriana, Erika Tymrak, and Kerry Abello in the midfield, and Messiah Bright started up top.

Coming off a game where the Pride dominated and just couldn’t find the back of the net, they were never really in this one. The Houston press created headaches in the first half with the Pride giving up the ball up in their own third on multiple occasions. They also couldn’t create much offensively, failing to challenge Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell.

The Pride got off to a poor start, conceding in the sixth minute. The hosts got a corner kick when Madril cleared the ball out of play and a second when Abello blocked the first corner out. The ensuing set piece was into the arms of Moorhouse, but the goalkeeper spilled it right in front of goal. Hirst was the first player to the ball, flicking it with the outside of her foot past Moorhouse and in to give the Dash an early 1-0 lead.

They nearly doubled their advantage in the ninth minute when Sophie Schmidt sent Diana Ordonez behind the Pride back line. It was a foot race between Ordonez and Moorhouse to the ball, with the Pride goalkeeper reaching it just before the attacker outside of the box.

A minute later, the Pride had their first good chance of the game. Adriana was sent down the right and towards the end line. She reached the ball before it went out of play, sending it to the penalty spot where Bright was waiting. The striker had her back to the goal, but did well to turn and get off a first-touch shot. Unfortunately, she got under the ball and sent it over the target.

The Dash had a great chance in the 17th minute when Madril gave the ball away to the pressuring Alozie. The forward had Ordonez wide open in the middle of the box, but decided to take it herself. Montefusco did well to close down the attacker, deflecting the shot into the hands of Moorhouse.

The Pride almost had a chance in the 20th minute when Montefusco made a good run into the midfield, breaking the Houston press. She found Tymrak in the center circle, who played it forward for Adriana. However, the Brazilian lost the ball at the top of the box before she could get a shot off.

The Dash appeared to have a great opportunity in the 28th minute when Villacorta gave the ball up in her own third to Joelle Anderson. The midfielder played to Maria Sanchez on the left, who continued it forward to Ordonez. Moorhouse did well to come out and challenge the forward, but the flag went up for offside anyway.

In the 39th minute, Abello was sent down the left by Tymrak. Her deflected cross was punched away by Campbell, but went right to Adriana. The Brazilian flicked it over for Bright, who played it right back to Adriana, but her shot was blocked. Abello ended up with the ball again and beat her defender to find enough space for a shot, but it was deflected into the side of the net.

The second Pride corner of that attack went all the way through for a throw in and the Dash took advantage. Anderson sent a long, low ball forward for Alozie making a run behind the Pride defense. Madril got her foot to it, but not enough to keep it from finding the forward. Strom caught up to her in the box, but Alozie cut back for space and sent it past Moorhouse to give Houston a commanding 2-0 lead.

The hosts had one last first-half opportunity in the 43rd minute when Alozie found Ordonez at the top of the box. The Mexican international was between the two Pride center backs and found enough space to take a shot, but Moorhouse did well to get down and make the stop, keeping the halftime deficit at two goals.

The Pride had more first-half possession (57.2%-42.8%), corners (6-4), crosses (16-10), and passing accuracy (71.8%-67.4%), but the Dash had more shots (6-4) and shots on target (3-0). Most importantly, the hosts had a two-goal lead.

“I told them at halftime that we need to be better on the ball. We were a little bit sloppy, a little bit lackadaisical in our passing details,” Hines said about his halftime speech. “I like to control the game. I don’t mind teams pressing us, because the more they press, the more they commit, the more space that they leave. So, we have to clean that up.”

Hines made one halftime change trying to get his team back into the game, bringing on Marta for Villacorta. The change saw Adriana move outside to her usual position and Abello back alongside Cluff. It was Marta’s 82nd NWSL regular-season appearance with the Pride, passing Ashlyn Harris and Toni Pressley for the most in team history.

The Dash had a chance for their third goal less than a minute into the second half when Ordonez found Anderson in the box. The attacker turned to shoot on goal, but didn’t get much on the attempt and Moorhouse made a relatively easy save.

The Pride should’ve gotten a goal back in the 48th minute when Caprice Dydasco fouled Abello. Adriana’s free kick found the head of Strom wide open and just a few feet in front of goal at the near post. But her header somehow went wide, squandering a golden opportunity to get back into the game.

After making an attacking change at halftime, Hines made a like-for-like substitution in the 57th minute as Julie Doyle came on for Bright.

In the 62nd minute, Sanchez sent Marisa Viggiano towards the end line on the left. Viggiano got a cross off into the box and found the head of Ordonez, who tried to send it towards the far post. But she couldn’t get enough of it and Moorhouse easily collected it.

Montefusco fouled Schmidt in the 64th minute, creating another good chance for the hosts. It looked like Moorhouse had Sanchez’s ball, but she didn’t come out as aggressively as she should’ve, only sending it to the top of the box. It ended up with Hirst at the penalty spot, but her shot was right at Moorhouse.

Immediately after that chance, the Pride made two more changes, bringing on Celia and Ally Watt for Tymrak and Cluff.

It didn’t take long for Watt to get involved as she was sent behind the Dash defense in the 68th minute. The striker’s shot was right to Campbell, but the ball slipped under her arm and rolled towards the goal. The roll was slow enough for Campbell to jump on the ball before it reached the goal line.

In the 71st minute, Adriana made a good run to the top of the Houston box, drawing the defenders and finding Watt wide open on the right. The forward took her second shot of the game, but Campbell made a good stop, pushing it away and the Dash cleared the danger.

Two minutes later, Adriana found Strom on the left and the left back sent a good ball into the box, finding the head of Marta. The Brazilian headed the ball towards the far post, but missed wide.

In the 76th minute, the Pride had a chance when the Dash had trouble clearing the ball out of their box. They briefly got it out, but McCutcheon sent it right back in. Dydasco was the first player to the ball, but her clearance attempt went behind her and into the path of Doyle for a header on goal. It was a strong header, but too close to Campbell.

The Pride made their final change in the 79th minute, when Summer Yates entered the game for Abello.

The Dash seemed fine holding onto their two-goal lead in the final 10 minutes and neither team was able to create solid opportunities. Marta took a shot in the 80th minute, and second-half substitute Ebony Salmon found space for a shot in the 86th minute, but both were right at the goalkeepers.

The Pride had a good chance in the 88th minute when Adriana made a strong run into the box and sent it to Doyle near the penalty spot. The striker slipped as she attempted to shoot, but still put the ball on target. However, Campbell did well to block it away, keeping the deficit at two goals.

As the game entered injury time, the fourth official showed eight minutes, a welcome sight for the Pride. It was mostly due to an injury to Natalie Jacobs, who had to go through a concussion test late in the half before she could be removed from the field and the game could continue.

Despite the eight minutes, the Pride weren’t able to create any good chances. McCutcheon played Celia through four minutes into stoppage time, but it was too far and went out for a goal kick. In the final minute, Adriana attempted a shot from long distance, but it wasn’t any trouble for Campbell, and the Dash held on for a 2-0 win.

Statistically, the game was quite close. The Pride had more possession (55.4%-44.6%), corners (8-4), crosses (27-16), and passing accuracy (69.5%-62.1%). Both teams had 13 shots and Houston put more on target (7-6). But the Pride shots didn’t cause Campbell much trouble, with the team failing to score for the second consecutive game and the third time in four games.

“Today we weren’t the better team, Houston was the better team,” Hines said after the game. “They made it difficult for us, they pressed us really hard, and we looked like we weren’t prepared for that. And that’s the most disappointing thing. You know, we want to play the way that we want to play. We have to dictate the game. We have to control the tempo of the game, and we didn’t do that. And even though we didn’t do the fundamentals, the basics right, we still created chances to score. We’ve gone two games now without scoring and that has to change.”

“It’s not one person’s fault tonight,” Montefusco added. “It was a collective. You know, we can’t point fingers at anybody. We’re a group, we’re a team, and we’ve got to lift each other. We’ve shown what we can do and we have to lean into that. We have to find a way. These games on the road are tough and we know that. And I think going forward, we’re just gonna stick together as a group.”

The Pride will stay on road for the Challenge Cup, taking on NJ/NY Gotham FC Wednesday night at Red Bull Arena. Then they’ll return home for regular-season action, welcoming the league-leading Portland Thorns to Exploria Stadium.

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