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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.

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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.

Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride vs. San Diego Wave FC: Final Score 1-0 as Pride Continue Unbeaten Run

The Pride extended their unbeaten run to five games with a 1-0 win over the San Diego Wave.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride (2-0-3, 9 points) remained undefeated and won their second consecutive game with a 1-0 win over San Diego Wave FC (1-2-1, 4 points). Summer Yates’ 26th-minute goal was the difference as the Pride continue their strong start to the 2024 NWSL season.

Pride Head Coach Seb Hines made two changes from the team that beat the Utah Royals 1-0 last week in Sandy, UT. Haley McCutcheon replaced Morgan Gautrat in the defensive midfield and Marta replaced Adriana in the attack after the Brazilian went down injured last weekend.

The back line in front of Anna Moorhouse was Kerry Abello, Kylie Strom, Emily Sams, and Bri Martinez. Angelina was joined in the defensive midfield by McCutcheon behind an attacking midfield of Julie Doyle, Marta, and Yates. Ally Watt was the lone striker for the fourth consecutive game.

The Pride dominated this game from start to finish. Chances by the visitors were few and far between as the Pride continued to create opportunities against Wave goalkeeper and Canadian international Kailen Sheridan. The final score should’ve been more decisive, but the Pride were unable to convert throughout the game, enabling the visitors to stay within reach. However, they were able to keep a clean sheet for the second straight week.

The Pride created the first chance of the game in the fourth minute when Yates sent Doyle behind Kristen McNabb on the right. Watt was behind the back line and looking to run onto the Doyle cross, but it was just out of her reach, enabling the Wave to clear.

The hosts had another attempt in the 12th minute and it was Doyle looking for Watt again. This time it was a forward pass, sending Watt behind the Wave back line. The speedster ran onto the ball, but Sheridan did well to come off her line and block the shot.

In the 16th minute, the Pride got behind the Wave defense on the right again, but this time it was Watt starting it. The forward’s pass for Yates was behind the midfielder, but the second-year player was able to find McCutcheon. After a brief touch, McCutcheon shot from distance, but it was blocked by Danielle Colaprico.

The attacking pressure by the Pride paid off in the 26th minute. It started on the right with Doyle again. The midfielder dribbled herself out of room but cut back to lose her defender and shot. While Sheridan did well to block it away, the Pride maintained possession. Abello ended up with the ball on the left and found enough space for her own shot. This attempt was also blocked by Sheridan, but right in front of the goal, where Yates volleyed it in to give the Pride a deserved 1-0 lead.

“I think I blacked out a little bit, but I know Kerry had the ball and she was driving and I was just trying to flow and find the second ball shot and it deflected and I was just in the right place at the right time,” Yates said about her goal. “I think my role in the box is just trying to hunt and try to put myself in position so I can score goals. So that’s what I try to do and I was in the right place at the right time.”

After playing sparingly in her rookie season, Yates has become a key part of the Pride attack this year. This is her second goal of the season and her first game-winner.

“Last year she was in and out. She played a lot of Challenge Cup games, but wasn’t right. She wasn’t ready for the league. And so we had a hard conversation and said ‘Listen, you have all the ability in the world. You’ve got to dedicate more time in yourself,’ and so she took that on board,” Hines said about Yates’ recent success. “She’s done so well in the off-season, which is now shown in her performance of late. And so, we’re really pleased with Summer, because it’s all come down to her and the dedication that she’s put into herself.”

“It means the world to me. Just to have the coaches’ trust means so much,” Yates said about her impact this year. “And being able to make an impact every game has been huge for me. I think I’m just continuing to learn and continue to be more consistent in and around the goal and every single game it just feels like it’s coming easier and easier.”

It looked like the Pride might have a second goal in the 34th minute when Marta sent Watt down the right. The forward’s cross was looking for Angelina or Yates in the box, but McNabb got to it first. The deflection was heading towards the near post, rolling just wide. However, the assistant referee’s flag went up for offside right after the block, canceling the play.

In the 37th minute, Abello found Angelina near the middle of the field and just outside of the box. The defensive midfielder lifted the ball into the box, where Doyle was between two defenders. Despite being outnumbered, Doyle won the ball, heading it on target. Unfortunately, it was right at Sheridan, who made the easy save.

The Pride had another great opportunity to double their lead in the 41st minute when Marta played the ball back for Yates in the middle of the box. She mishit the ball, but it went right to Doyle near the far post. It appeared to be an easy tap-in for Doyle, but she also was unable to get a solid foot on the ball, sending it off target from close range.

The hosts had one last chance in the first half, which came a minute into stoppage time. Watt laid the ball off for McCutcheon outside of the box and the defensive midfielder lifted a cross in for Watt. The forward was left open to get her head on the ball but sent it wide of the target.

It was an absolutely dominant first-half performance by the Pride as they had more possession (52.2%-47.8%), shots (12-1), shots on target (5-0), corners (2-0), and crosses (17-1), and better passing accuracy (90.3%-83.5%). However, they could only convert on one chance, keeping the visitors in the game.

San Diego forced Moorhouse into rare action shortly after the restart when halftime substitute Kaitlyn Torpey threw the ball in to Jaedyn Shaw on the right. The forward attempted the send the ball across the box, but it was too close to the Pride goalkeeper.

The Pride had their first second-half chance in the 47th minute when Doyle made a long run into the Wave box. She cut outside to lose Naomi Girma and shot, but the attempt was blocked by center back Abby Dahlkemper.

In the 48th minute, Doyle went down with an apparent cramp during a stoppage of play. After receiving treatment by the Pride medical staff, the attacker was replaced by Adriana in the 50th minute.

Yates continued to be a nuisance for the Wave back line in the 56th minute when she made a long diagonal run to the top of the box. Dribbling past multiple defenders, the midfielder took a shot from the top of the 18 but sent it wide.

The 61st minute saw the moment the crowd of 7,701 at Inter&Co Stadium had been waiting for. Barbra Banda, joining the Pride with the second-highest transfer fee in NWSL history, made her league debut, replacing Watt.

“Be mindful of the player’s care,” Hines said about giving Banda 30 minutes. “You know, she’s gone through a lot with qualifying for the Olympics and then coming over here, flying out to Orlando, having her integrate with the team, getting to know the players. But I thought it was really important for her to take a backseat and just watch and analyze the game and the speed of the game.”

It didn’t take long for the forward to get involved, getting her first shot off less than a minute after entering the game. The attempt was blocked and went to Yates at the top of the box. The first-half goal scorer took her own attempt, but that too was blocked.

In the 67th minute, Angelina sent the ball out wide for Yates. The midfielder had space to find her target and sent a cross for Banda making a back-post run. The Zambian international got her head to the ball, but it was right to Sheridan.

It looked like Banda might get her first NWSL goal in the 73rd minute when Adriana sent the forward behind the Wave back line. However, Sheridan did well to come off her line and block the attempt with her legs, keeping the score at 1-0.

Shortly after the attempt, Hines made his final two changes of the game. Ally Lemos and Rafaelle came on for Yates and Marta. It was Rafaelle’s first appearance for the Pride in 2024 after missing the first four games of the season with a fracture in her left foot, suffered while playing for Brazil during the semifinal of the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup.

“We brought her in for a reason last year, and so we wanted to start where she just left off,” Hines said about Rafaelle’s first appearance of the season. “Again, be mindful of where players are at coming back from injury. It’s never easy, especially in this league. So managing her minutes appropriately, constant communication with the medical staff, and see what a player can give.”

The Wave had their best chance of the game in the 82nd minute when a quick give-and-go between Torpey and Kimmi Ascanio saw Torpey send a cross into the box. Savannah McCaskill slid in to send the ball back across goal where Alex Morgan was charging in. Sams and Moorhouse were there to keep the ball out of the goal and Morgan went down behind the goal line with an injured ankle.

Hobbling back to the San Diego bench, the striker was unable to continue in the game. Since the Wave had already used all five subs for the game, they had to play the final minutes with 10 players.

Despite being down a player, San Diego continued to push for an equalizer. In the first minute of stoppage time, Kennedy Wesley sent a long ball for Sofia Jakobsson. The Swedish international sent a cross into the box for Kyra Carusa, who turned and fired. She had space, but the shot was right to Moorhouse.

The Pride held possession on the right side of the field with Adriana and Banda, winning a late corner to avoid another San Diego attack. After eight minutes of stoppage time, the referee blew his final whistle, and the Pride came away with another three points.

San Diego ended the game with more possession (54.2%-45.8%), but the Pride dominated the other statistical categories. The hosts had more shots (20-4), shots on target (8-1), corner kicks (5-0), and crosses (26-7), and better passing accuracy (84.4%-84.1%).

“I’m really pleased with the players, the work and dedication that they’ve put in and everyone playing their role also. I felt that we dominated from start to finish,” Hines said about the performance. “I know San Diego had a lot of passes but passes around the back, which is fine for us, because it opens up the door for us to be lethal in transition. Would I have liked more goals? Absolutely. You know, it would be nice to get a couple more, but it wasn’t to be and we’ll continue to work on that area so we’re not just 1-0 towards the end of the game.”

“I just feel like we were in good spots tonight,” Angelina said about the game. “We saw the spaces and Ally (Watt) did a really good job at running behind them. We knew they were going to have a high press and we were just trying to be in the right spot at the right time. So I think the team did a really good job at that.”

While the team comes away with three points, the lack of goals remains a concern. They’ve outshot their opponents 55-18 in their last three games, but have only come away with one goal in each one.

“I think we’re still finding our composure around the box,” Yates said about the lack of goals. “I know I should have had another one. So I probably think about the one I missed more than the one I scored. But all of us just finishing our individual battles, beating our defenders, combining in around the attack, being patient. But yeah, I think it will come.”

Despite the lack of finishing, the Pride now have back-to-back clean sheets and the most in the league. They’re now undefeated through five games and have nine points, tying them on points with the North Carolina Courage and Washington Spirit for second, one point behind the Kansas City Current.


After a short homestand, the Pride will head back out on the road as they take on the Spirit next Friday night at Audi Field in Washington, D.C.

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Orlando Pride vs. San Diego Wave FC: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, Match Thread, and More

After their first win of the season, the Pride return home to face San Diego Wave FC.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Mark Thor

Welcome to your match preview as the Orlando Pride (1-0-3, 6 points) return home to face San Diego Wave FC (1-1-1, 4 points) tonight at Inter&Co Stadium. This is the first of two scheduled meetings between the teams in 2024, with the return game in San Diego scheduled for June 7.

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

History

The San Diego Wave joined the NWSL in 2022 and have only faced the Pride four times in their existence. The Pride have only lost once in those four games, posting a record of 2-1-1. The most recent meeting came on Aug. 25, 2023 in Orlando. Abby Dahlkemper gave the visitors the lead in the seventh minute before Adriana equalized just before halftime. But Kyra Carusa netted the winner in the 75th minute, giving the Pride their first loss against the Wave.

The first meeting last year was at Snapdragon Stadium on April 29 after Orlando’s 0-4-0 start to the season. It looked like it would be a fifth straight loss for the Pride when Jaedyn Shaw gave the hosts the early lead. But Adriana assisted Mikayla Cluff on the equalizer and Haley McCutcheon scored just before halftime to give the Pride the lead. Adriana later got her first goal of the season to put the game away as the Pride won 3-1.

The first-ever meeting was on Aug. 13, 2022  in San Diego. The lone goal in the game came from the penalty spot after a Julie Doyle cross hit the arm of Kaleigh Riehl in the first half. Meggie Dougherty Howard stepped up and buried the penalty. The Pride held on for 67 minutes to beat one of the top teams in the league, 1-0 away.

The second meeting was on Sept. 25 in Orlando and the Pride got off to a great start. Doughety Howard opened the scoring in the first half and Gunny Jonsdottir doubled the advantage in the second. It looked like the Pride were headed for six points out of six against the expansion side, but San Diego came storming back. Makenzy Doniak cut the lead in half and former Pride attacker Taylor Kornieck equalized late, resulting in a disappointing 2-2 draw.

Overview

The Pride got the 2024 NWSL season off to a good start, claiming three consecutive draws despite losing multiple key players. Last weekend, they traveled west of the Mississippi River for the first time as they faced the Utah Royals, who returned to the league after a four-year hiatus. The Pride were the better team throughout the 90 minutes and got a deserved winning goal when Marta struck in the 68th minute, shortly after coming on.

It’s been a tough start to the season in terms of availability for the Pride this year. They signed Zambian international Barbra Banda to replace Messiah Bright, but she has yet to play, as she was helping Zambia qualify for the 2024 Summer Olympics. The team also lost multiple defenders, as Rafaelle was injured in the Concacaf W Gold Cup and Megan Montefusco underwent surgery to repair a long-term heel problem, ending her season before it began.

As a result of these absences, some players have had to occupy unusual positions. Left back Kylie Strom has been playing in the center alongside Emily Sams, and Kerry Abello, usually an attacking midfielder, is on the back line. The makeshift lineup has done well, only conceding multiple goals in the first game and claiming the first clean sheet of the season last weekend.

There was a bit of a scare to the attack in Utah when Adriana went down in the second half and had to be substituted. However, she’s back this weekend and expected to start tonight.

The Wave have been one of the league’s best teams since joining the NWSL in 2022. They finished third in their inaugural season and won the NWSL Shield last year. The success is largely due to the veteran team they built, taking advantage of the Pride’s rebuild by acquiring Alex Morgan, Emily van Egmond, Taylor Flint (nee Kornieck), and Jodie Taylor. Of those four players, only Morgan and van Egmond remain in San Diego.

This season has seen the worst start to a Wave season in team history. They won their first three games in 2022 and three of their first four last year. However, they lost their first game this season at home to the Kansas City Current and drew last weekend 0-0 against Racing Louisville. The only win was a 1-0 result over Seattle Reign FC on March 29.

Despite having a superstar striker in Morgan, both goals this year have come from the midfield. Sofia Jakobsson netted the goal in the season opener and van Egmond scored in the 1-0 win over Seattle. Morgan has recorded the team’s only assist this year, setting up van Egmond’s conversion.

While they haven’t started as strong as expected, the Wave are a difficult team to deal with. They have one of the NWSL’s best goalkeepers in Kailen Sheridan and an internationally experienced back line that has been together for three years. The attack is also prominent with Savannah McCaskill, Shaw, and Morgan.

Regardless of the opponent, the Pride nearly made the playoffs last year and are a better and more experienced team than they were a year ago. They don’t have their best lineup available yet, but are getting closer and might see the debuts of some key starters. The Pride are also coming off a strong performance in Utah and an undefeated start, providing momentum they haven’t had since 2021.

“The momentum is key,” Hines said going into this game. “I think what we’ve shown in the last four games is different sides who has different scenarios, different situations that the game has presented. Going back to that last game, creating some good opportunities finally taking one and putting it in the back of the net and having the desire to keep the ball out of the net to get well in and get three points and keeping up that momentum, bringing it back home against a good San Diego team, obviously shield winners from last year. It’s going to be a tough ask for the players, but they are fully prepared and know what the task is and what they need to do to win the game.” 

There are two changes to the availability report this weekend with Rafaelle being taken off and Morgan Gautrat (lower leg) listed as questionable. Simone Charley (right leg), Luana (excused absence), Megan Montefusco (right heel), and Viviana Villacorta (left knee) are still out.

Melanie Barcenas (hip) is the only player listed as out for the Wave tonight, though starting center back Naomi Girma (thigh) is listed as questionable.


Official Lineups

Orlando Pride (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Anna Moorhouse.

Defenders: Brianna Martinez, Kylie Strom, Emily Sams, Kerry Abello.

Defensive Midfielders: Angelina, Haley McCutcheon.

Attacking Midfielders: Julie Doyle, Marta, Summer Yates.

Forward: Ally Watt.

Bench: McKinley Crone, Ally Lemos, Amanda Allen, Barbra Banda, Mariana Larroquette, Celia, Carrie Lawrence, Adriana, Rafaelle.

San Diego Wave FC (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Kaelin Sheridan.

Defenders: Hanna Lundkvist, Abby Dahlkemper, Naomi Girma, Kristen McNabb.

Defensive Midfielders: Daniele Colaprico, Emily van Egmond.

Attacking Midfielders: Sofia Jakobsson, Savannah McCaskill, Jaedyn Shaw.

Forward: Alex Morgan.

Bench: Kimmi Ascanio, Hillary Beall, Elyse Bennett, Kyra Carusa, Makenzy Doniak, Mya Jones, Kaitlyn Torpey, Kennedy Wesley, Christen Westphal.

Referees

REF: Sergii Demianchuk.
AR1: Art Arustamyan.
AR2: Ben Rigel.
4TH: Michael O’Reilly.
VAR: Alexandra Billeter.
AVAR: Katherine McCormick.


How to Watch

Match Time: 8 p.m.

Venue: Inter&Co Stadium — Orlando.

TV: None.

Streaming: Amazon Prime Video.

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


Enjoy the match. Go Pride!

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Orlando Pride vs. Utah Royals: Final Score 1-0 as Pride Claim First Win of 2024 NWSL Season

Marta’s 68th-minute goal lifted the Pride to their first win of the season over the Utah Royals on the road.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride (1-0-3, 6 points) claimed their first win of the 2024 NWSL season by defeating the Utah Royals (1-3-0, 3 points) 1-0 at America First Field in Sandy, UT. Marta’s 68th-minute goal shortly after coming on as a second-half substitute was the difference between the two teams.

Pride Head Coach Seb Hines only made two changes to the team that drew the Chicago Red Stars 1-1 two weeks ago. Julie Doyle and Summer Yates joined the starting lineup in place of Luana and Marta. The back line in front of Anna Moorhouse was Kerry Abello, Kylie Strom, Emily Sams, and Brianna Martinez. Angelina moved from the attacking midfield back to the defensive midfield alongside Morgan Gautrat. The attack midfielders were Doyle, Yates, and Adriana with Ally Watt up top.

The most surprising omission from the lineup might have been Marta. The team captain was left on the bench after playing a pair of games for Brazil in the SheBelieves Cup during the international break.

“She had a different role today,” Hines said of his captain. “We were mindful of her energy levels. She played 90 minutes for Brazil on Tuesday and it was a quick turnaround with the travel also.”

It was also the first start of Yates’ young career. The midfielder played minimal minutes during her rookie campaign but has made a significant impact on the team’s attack this year, earning her first start for the Pride.

“That’s been coming with her,” Hines said about adding Yates to the starting lineup. “With the level that she’s had at the start of the season, she’s been brilliant. So she fully deserved the start today.”

Despite being the visiting team and playing in a difficult climate, the Pride were the better team from the opening whistle. Excellent performances by Yates, Adriana, Angelina, and Marta in the attack kept the Royals on their back foot and the center back pairing of Sams and Strom made it a relatively easy night for Moorhouse.

In the early minutes of the game, the Pride looked to attack through Abello on the left. In the third minute, she sent a cross into the box looking for Watt or Doyle, but Royals goalkeeper Mandy Haught was there to catch it. Three minutes later, Adriana tried to set her up for a cross, but Abello’s first touch was too strong and the ball went out of play.

The Royals nearly had their first chance in the eighth minute when a turnover by Doyle enabled rookie Ally Sentnor to send Hannah Betfort forward. Moorhouse initially was coming out to challenge, but retreated. Fortunately, Strom did well from her center back position to challenge the Utah striker and knock the ball out of play.

The game’s first shot came from an individual effort by Betfort. Receiving the ball from Dana Foederer at the top of the box, Betfort turned to lose Gautrat and get a shot off. It was on target, but Moorhouse was there to catch it.

The Pride had their first good chance in the 15th minute when Yates’ cross was blocked out of play by Madison Pogarch. Angelina’s corner kick was met by Adriana, who flicked it towards the back post with her right foot. Unfortunately, nobody could get on the end of it and the ball went harmlessly out of play.

In the 26th minute, Pogarch lost the ball to Yates and pulled on the midfielder’s arm trying to get it back, receiving a yellow card for her trouble. The ensuing set piece eventually ended up with Angelina outside of the box. The Brazilian took a shot aiming for the near post, but missed just wide. However, Haught wasn’t comfortable with the attempt, diving to ensure it didn’t sneak in.

The Pride had an excellent chance in the 37th minute when pressure by Yates forced a turnover to Angelina. Watt picked up the ball and played it forward for Yates, who found Angelina behind the Royals’ defense. It looked like Angelina had a chance from a tight angle, but she sent the shot wide.

An Adriana shot in the 40th minute was blocked and Pogarch got the last touch as it went out of play for a Pride corner kick. Yates took the set piece, sending it to the back post where Sams was charging in. The center back headed the ball back across the box where Gautrat attempted to redirect it on goal. Unfortunately, she sent her header wide of the target.

While the Pride had most of the attacking chances, Utah had one of its own in the 44th minute when Brecken Mozingo sent a long ball down the right for Paige Monaghan between Sams and Strom. Monaghan took possession in the box and shot from a tight angle, but Moorhouse was there to collect it.

Less than a minute later, the Pride nearly scored the opening goal. Adriana forced a turnover, enabling Yates to take control with her momentum going forward. The second-year midfielder found space between two defenders to shoot and it appeared to be on target, but Haught tipped it wide with a diving save.

Martinez might’ve gotten a little lucky a minute into first-half stoppage time when she lifted her foot near midfield to send the ball forward and caught Sentnor in the face. There was a brief stoppage of play, possibly as the video assistant referee checked for a possible red card. But Martinez was lucky to avoid any booking on the play.

At halftime, the Pride held the advantage in most statistical categories. They had more possession (51.5%-48.5%), shots (7-3), corners (6-1), and crosses (15-1), and better passing accuracy (83.5%-82.7%). However, a common problem early this season reared its head as the Royals put more chances on target (3-1) in the first half.

It didn’t take the Pride long to create a chance in the second half. In the 46th minute, a quick give-and-go between Adriana and Angelina sent Adriana forward. She sent a dangerous cross through the box that went past Watt and to Doyle at the back post. However, the midfielder couldn’t get a solid foot on the ball, sending it off target.

A minute later, Doyle had another chance when she intercepted a lazy pass by Agnes Nyberg. Dribbling into the box, Doyle decided to play it back for Watt at the top of the box instead of taking the shot herself. It was the wrong decision, as Kate Del Fava reached it first and cleared it away.

The Pride had a third good chance in the 53rd minute when Adriana made another long run into the Utah box. She found Doyle on the right, and the winger sent a low cross looking for Abello in front of goal. However, it was too close to Haught, who made the stop.

In the 54th minute, a challenge on Adriana resulted in the ball popping out wide to Watt. The forward carried it to the top of the box where she shot towards the near post. Once again, a long-distance attempt by the Pride was just wide.

Utah did little to trouble the Pride until the 58th minute, when Sentnor took a long shot. It was a strong hit and on target, but didn’t cause any problems for Moorhouse.

In the 58th minute, Adriana had a collision with Olivia Griffitts that resulted in the Brazilian requiring treatment. She briefly came back on after leaving the field, but quickly went back to the ground. As a result, Hines made his first change of the game, replacing Adriana with Marta.

It didn’t take long for Marta to make her mark on the game as she gave the Pride the lead in the 68th minute. It started with a quick pass from Marta to Watt on the right. The forward sent a cross to the back post that landed at the feet of Abello. Yates slid into the box to meet Abello’s first-touch cross, but missed. Instead, it went to Marta, whose first touch was a shot into the far netting, giving the Pride a much-deserved 1-0 lead.

“I saw that Ally (Watt) was getting into a crossing position and I knew that I had to make that back post,” Abello said about the play. “So I got up there and she hit it back post and I knew that we had other players in the box. So my only thinking was just to put it back across and let them do their thing. Someone almost got to it which opened up that path to Marta who put it away.”

“Marta takes a goal really, really well,” Hines added about the strike. “It comes from waves of attacks. One, two, third phase within that moment and then she just finished like perfectly into the corner.”

Hines made his second change shortly after, replacing Doyle with Haley McCutcheon in the 71st minute.

The Pride nearly doubled their lead in the 74th minute when Angelina sent a long ball for McCutcheon on the right. Cutting inside to beat her defender, McCutcheon played it to the far post where Watt was making a run. Nobody picked up the forward and she redirected the ball on target, but Haught did well to get down and block it out of play.

The ensuing corner by Yates was to the back post where Strom and Foederer both went for it. The collision sent the ball over the crossbar for a goal kick and left Foederer on the ground holding her left shoulder.

The Pride made their final changes in the 83rd minute as Mariana Larroquette and Ally Lemos entered the game for Watt and Yates. A minute later, Utah made three changes that included an appearance by former Pride midfielder Mikayla Cluff. It was Cluff’s first time facing the Pride after being traded this off-season.

Utah had a chance for an equalizer in the second minute of second-half stoppage time when Strom headed Griffitts’ cross out for a corner. The ensuing set piece by Zoe Burns went all the way through the box where Kaleigh Riehl collected it. The defender played it across for Sentnor, who took a long, on-target shot. However, it was too close to Moorhouse, who made the save.

While the Royals had plenty of possession during injury time, they struggled to threaten the Pride. As a result, the visitors were able to hold on for the 1-0 win, their first of the young season.

At full time, the Pride had more shots (14-5), corners (10-3), and crosses (22-5), and better passing accuracy (83.4%-82.6%). Utah had more possession (50.2%-49.8%) and shots on target (5-4), but Marta’s 68th-minute goal was the only conversion.

“We’ve obviously set out at the start of the year, considering how well we did last year, we knew that we needed to pick up more points away from home,” Hines said about the win. “What a great example today with three points away from home under tough conditions. Obviously, after an international break as well, and so I just love the commitment and the desire for the players to keep going and play the right way. And it’s a massive reward for them to come away with three points after having a really good performance tonight.”

“We were just missing that kind of final piece,” Strom added about getting a win after three consecutive draws. “We were knocking on the door, knocking on the door, and we finally got one through. What a goal by Marta. Are you kidding me? So I think we just needed that confidence and self belief. We knew it was coming. We were never in doubt. We were not leaving this field without three points. So, so happy we got it.”

The Pride arguably had their best performance of the young season tonight, controlling the game for the entire 90 minutes. It was a defensive accomplishment to get the first shutout of the season and holding onto the lead to claim all three points.

“I’m really pleased with the, obviously, shutout. That’s something that we need to continue to grow on,” Hines said after the game. “I do feel like both in possession and out of possession, we controlled the game for the most part. I thought Summer (Yates) and Ally (Watt) did a really good job with dictating the press for us in errors from Utah. And then I think what we can do to improve more is being a little bit more threatening in transition. You know, maybe get a few more shots at the opponent’s goal. But other than that, I’m just so pleased for them.”

The Pride were trying to avoid being the first team in NWSL history to draw its first four games of the season and did so with this away win. They also move to six points on the season and move into fifth in the league standings.


With a win under their belt, the Pride will now return home to Orlando, where they’ll welcome San Diego Wave FC next Friday night.

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