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Orlando Pride vs. Kansas City Current: Final Score 2-1 as Pride’s Home Winning Streak Ends

Two first-half goals doom the Pride as they fall to Kansas City for the second time this season.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride (4-8-1, 13 points) lost for the first time at Exploria Stadium in four games, falling 2-1 to the Kansas City Current (4-9-0, 12 points). Debinha gave the visitors the lead in the 29th minute and Cece Kizer doubled the advantage just before halftime. Marta converted a penalty in the second half, but the Pride couldn’t find an equalizer, getting swept by the Current in the season series.

Pride Head Coach Seb Hines made three changes from the team that lost 3-0 to the North Carolina Courage last weekend. Jordyn Listro, Kerry Abello, and Marta entered the lineup for Julie Doyle, Ally Watt, and Messiah Bright. The lineup changes resulted in a formation shift, with Listro playing in the defensive midfield and Mikayla Cluff moving into more of an attacking role.

The Pride came out in a 4-1-4-1 formation instead of their usual 4-2-3-1. The defensive unit remained the same with Kylie Strom, Emily Madril, Megan Montefusco, and Haley McCutcheon in front of Anna Moorhouse. Listro was the defensive midfielder behind Abello, Viviana Villacorta, Cluff, and Marta. Adriana was the lone forward.

“Just wanted to have more midfielders, control the game a little bit better,” Hines said about the lineup and formation change. “Obviously, you know, against North Carolina, we didn’t control the game at all. It’s very transitional, so we needed to change that.”

“I think we expected them to come out with two sixes and they came out with  two 10s,” Madril said about the formation. “And so we switched our midfield to play one six.”

Marta’s appearance was her 95th as a member of the Pride, passing former center back Toni Pressley for the most appearances in club history.

The Pride’s lineup changes greatly impacted the game with the team looking out of sorts during the first half. Hines shifted the team back to its usual 4-2-3-1 formation, but it was too late. The Pride looked much better in the second half with their usual formation and starters, but they already trailed 2-0 and Kansas City was able to hold onto their lead.

The visitors suffered an odd injury to their starting left back in the fourth minute when Hailie Mace reached out for Cluff as she streaked through the midfield. The defender immediately held her left arm, apparently injuring her shoulder. Mace was in tears as she left the field and was replaced by Izzy Rodriguez four minutes later.

The Pride took advantage of Mace’s absence, creating the game’s first attack in the fifth minute. Cluff took the game’s first shot, but it was blocked by Elizabeth Ball. The Pride retained possession when Adriana headed it back to Marta, who shot from long distance. But her attempt was easily collected by Current goalkeeper Cassie Miller.

Kansas City had its first chance of the game in the 12th minute when Rodriguez’s cross was cleared to the far side of the box. Kate Del Fava ended up with the ball, sending it back to the top of the six-yard box. Kristen Hamilton was there to receive the pass with no defenders in front of her, but Moorhouse did well to get down and block the shot out of play.

The Current had a second opportunity in the 16th minute when Cluff challenged Michelle Cooper, getting the ball, but the young attacker went down and got the call just outside of the Pride box. Debinha stepped up to take the set piece, but sent it into the arms of Moorhouse.

In the 18th minute, Adriana made a run through the midfield behind Gabrielle Robinson and Villacorta sent her through. Robinson did well to keep up with the Brazilian, but Adriana used her quick change of pace to create enough space for a shot. Unfortunately, her low shot towards the back post rolled wide.

The visitors took the lead in the 29th minute when Abello lost the ball to Vanessa DiBernardo immediately after receiving a pass from Strom. DiBernardo’s touch was forward to Debinha, who quickly lifted the ball over Moorhouse, who was off her line, and in to give Kansas City the 1-0 lead.

“We gave them a gift,” Hines said about the opening goal. “And they scored a simple goal.”

In the 33rd minute, Adriana created a chance for the Pride after using a nice first touch to beat Morgan Gautrat. Abello was making a diagonal run into the box with Del Fava on her hip and the Brazilian playmaker sent her through. Abello got a shot off, but Del Fava got in front to block the attempt.

On the other end, Kansas City created an opportunity when Debinha’s attempt was blocked out by Madril. The ensuing corner found the head of Robinson in the box and the ball appeared to be headed just under the crossbar. But Moorhouse did well to tip it over the goal.

The Current doubled their lead in the first minute of first-half stoppage time. After receiving a pass back outside of the Pride box, Ball sent DiBernardo towards the end line. The midfielder’s first touch was back across goal, where Kizer was running in. McCutcheon was with Kizer, but she got a fortunate bounce, enabling her to pass the ball inside the far post to give the Current a 2-0 lead.

“You never want to give up goals but especially towards the end of the first half,” Hines said about the goal. “We talk about the big five moments, the start of the first half, the end of the first half as well. That’s where you have to be switched on, clued in. You know, we had numbers behind the ball. We had players in the back third, but we just didn’t get close enough. Like we didn’t get close enough to put a body on Kansas and, you know, they took their goals well.”

Despite the scoreline, it was a pretty even first half. The Pride had slightly more possession (53.1%-46.9%) and both teams had six shots. But Kansas City put five of their six shots on target and the Pride only put one on frame. The Pride also had more crosses (8-7) and the Current had more corners (3-1) and better passing accuracy (85.8%-83.8%).

Down a pair of goals after 45 minutes, Hines made two halftime changes, bringing in Messiah Bright and Julie Doyle for Abello and Listro. The Pride also went back to a 4-2-3-1 formation in the second half, dropping Cluff and Villacorta to their usual positions in the defensive midfield and Adriana back to attacking midfield so Bright could move up top.

“You’re chasing the game a little bit in the first half. So we felt like we needed to change some personnel,” Hines said about the halftime substitutions. “We needed to change formation, have a little bit more intent in our press, put them under pressure.”

The Current had the first chance of the second half when Debinha sent Cooper behind the Pride defense. The attacker cut twice to lose Madril, but Montefusco moved over for support and Moorhouse came off her line to prevent Cooper from getting a shot off.

In the 56th minute, Bright sent a cross into the box for Adriana making a near-post run, but Robinson knocked it out for a corner kick. The ensuing set piece by Adriana bounced around before arriving with Doyle at the top of the box. The shot by the halftime substitute went off Hamilton and wide.

Referee Eric Tattersall immediately decided the ball went off the arm of Hamilton, issuing the forward a yellow card and awarding the Pride a penalty. Replays showed that Hamilton’s arm was initially at her side, but she stuck her elbow out to block the attempt. After a review by the video assistant referee, the penalty was confirmed.

Marta stepped up to take the penalty. Miller dove to her right, but Marta used a panenka, softly chipping the ball down the middle to cut the Pride’s deficit in half at 2-1.

Hines made his third change of the game in the 65th minute, as Celia came on for Cluff. The Spanish defender took over at right back and McCutcheon moved up into the defensive midfield alongside Villacorta.

The Current had a chance for a third in the 68th minute when a poor pass attempt by Montefusco allowed Debinha to take over. She played it to the top of the box for Kizer, whose pass attempt for Hamilton on the far side was blocked. It went right to DiBernardo just outside of the box and the midfielder attempted a shot from distance, but it was wide of the goal.

With 11 minutes left and still trailing by a goal, Hines made his fourth substitution an attacking one. Forward Ally Watt came on for defensive midfielder Villacorta.

“Once we got that goal back from Marta, we changed it again. Had more attacking threats,” Hines said about the substitution. “But like I said earlier, it was too little, too late.”

The Pride had a great opportunity in the 80th minute when Miller played the ball short to Robinson. The center back attempted to play it back, but it was a weak pass and Watt took over. About a minute after coming on, Watt attempted a first-touch shot, but Miller did very well to come off her line and block it. Watt had Bright breaking in with her wide open but either didn’t see the rookie or simply opted to try it herself.

A minute later, Strom found Adriana at the top of the Kansas City box with enough room for a shot on goal. The Brazilian’s attempt was headed just inside the near post, but Miller dove to knock it wide. The save required some medical attention for Miller, but she was able to continue and caught the ensuing corner kick.

The fourth official showed 11 additional minutes, giving the Pride plenty of time to find an equalizer. However, as the rain came down, the Pride’s chances became fewer. In the eighth minute of stoppage time, Del Fava tripped Doyle, giving the Pride a free kick to the left of goal. The set piece by Marta was headed out, but the Pride claimed it was handled. The VAR took a moment to review the play, but decided there wasn’t enough evidence for a penalty.

In the 10th minute of injury time, Madril sent a cross to the back post where Celia was charging in. The right back out jumped the defender and got her head to the ball, but sent it right into the arms of Miller.

The final chance of the game came in the 11th minute of second-half injury time. A Pride corner kick ended up with McCutcheon in the box, but she mishit the ball and attempted to dribble around the defenders to create a shot. Before she could get a cross off, it was blocked and went out of play. Tattersall determined it was off McCutcheon, giving Kansas City a goal kick and ending the game with a 2-1 Pride loss.

At full time, the Pride had more possession (54.4%-45.6%), shots (14-9), corners (7-3), and crosses (27-9), and better passing accuracy (81.7%-79.9%). Both teams put six shots on target, but the Current converted one more than the Pride.

“Game of two halves,” Hines said about the game. “I think the first half wasn’t good enough, it wasn’t ourselves. And then second half was better, more intent, more commitment, both in the attack and defending, but it was too little too late. You know, Kansas were already 2-0 up at the half and we tried to get back into the game. But it was too late.”

“I think we’re all pretty disappointed,” Madril added. “I think if we would have come out in the first half like we did in the second half, I think it would have been a little different game. I don’t think we would have given up those two goals. I think it’s unfortunate that we have to get scored on to kind of wake ourselves up and take it up to that next level. But yeah, I think if we can just come out like we did in the second half, I think it’s a completely different game.”

The loss ends a three-game home winning streak that dated back to May 6 against Racing Louisville. The winning streak included wins over two of the best teams in league in the Washington Spirit and Portland Thorns, but the Pride fall again to one of the league’s worst teams.

”Mentality. Period,” Doyle said about losing again to a team near the bottom of the table. “We just got to come out and show up every single game no matter who our opponent is. I don’t know what that is. I think just individually we have to be better.”


The Pride will now turn their attention to Wednesday night when they welcome NJ/NY Gotham FC to Exploria Stadium in the NWSL Challenge Cup.

Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride Sign Claire Winter and Kenna Caldwell to National Team Replacement Contracts

The Pride have signed Claire Winter and Kenna Caldwell as National Team Teplacement Players during the Olympics.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

The Orlando Pride announced the signing of midfielder Claire Winter and goalkeeper Kenna Caldwell today to National Team Replacement Contracts. The pair will join the team during the upcoming NWSL x Liga MX Femenil Summer Cup while six players are away at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. Both players will be available when the team begins the new competition on Saturday night in North Carolina.

“Kenna and Claire have both put in a massive amount of work and we’re excited to reward them with these contracts,” Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter said in a club press release. “Kenna has added further competition and depth to our goalkeeping corps since joining us in preseason. Claire, although she joined us only a few weeks ago, has already established herself within the group and continues to push herself and everyone around her to perform. Both athletes are infectiously positive and have integrated seamlessly into our environment. We’re thankful for their contributions and look forward to helping them further develop their game during this period.”

Caldwell spent five years at Texas A&M between 2019 and 2023, making 72 appearances (all starts) and recording 6,309 minutes. She recorded 231 saves during her collegiate career and saved 231 of her 689 shots faced for a save percentage of 74.8%. Her 78 goals conceded in 72 games gave her a goals-against average of 1.11 per game.

Despite a solid collegiate career, Caldwell went undrafted in the 2024 NWSL Draft. She joined the Pride as a non-roster invitee during preseason and continued with the team in a training role. However, she was unable to supplant Anna Moorhouse, McKinley Crone, or Sofia Manner.

Winter is a veteran, having played in multiple leagues and previously signed a National Team Replacement Player contract with another club. Following her collegiate career, Winter played for Spanish club RCD Espanyol de Barcelona in 2018 and 2019 as well as Puerto Rico Sol FC in 2020 before making her NWSL debut for NJ/NY Gotham FC as a National Team Replacement Player in April 2021. After her stint in New Jersey, the California native played for Treaty United FC in Ireland and Danish club Thisted FC in 2023 before joining the Pride a few weeks ago.

Prior to her professional career, Winter played collegiately at UCLA. From 2013 to 2017, she made 54 appearances with 27 starts, recording 2,381 minutes. The midfielder scored three goals with one assist while at the NCAA women’s soccer powerhouse under former Pride head coach Amanda Cromwell.

What It Means for Orlando

The Pride will have seven players at the 2024 Summer Olympics (Emily Sams with the United States; Marta, Adriana, Angelina, and Rafaelle with Brazil; and Barbra Banda and Grace Chanda with Zambia), so they had some space open on their roster to sign replacements during the inaugural Summer Cup.

Winter provides the versatility desired by Carter and Pride Head Coach Seb Hines with the ability to play both in the midfield and defense. The veteran played both positions in college and it was a reason why she was wanted by professional clubs. This might provide her with opportunities on the field since the Pride will be losing midfielders and a pair of defenders to the Olympics.

The surprising signing is Caldwell because goalkeeper is not a position of need. Moorhouse joined the England Women’s National Team for its final European qualifiers against the Republic of Ireland on July 12 and Sweden on July 16, but will return for the Summer Cup. Neither Crone nor Manner will be away, so the Pride will have four goalkeepers for the tournament.

While Winter fills a position of need, Caldwell’s signing likely a reward for her performances in training all season. The Pride have built depth at every position over the past two years and, despite losing seven players, aren’t in need at any position. Since the league is taking a break for the Olympics and the Summer Cup is only three scheduled games, the club has the opportunity to reward a player like Caldwell.

It’s unlikely that either of these players will see significant minutes during the Summer Cup. Hines will use the absences to provide playing time for reserves that haven’t seen the field much, which could be crucial as the Pride look to win the NWSL Shield and their first-ever trophy. But the signings serve to add depth, and are a reward for their hard work during training and potentially an opportunity to earn future contracts with the club.

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Barbra Banda is On Pace to Shatter Multiple NWSL Scoring Records

There is a blueprint to number 22 moving to the top of the queue.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

On Monday, The Mane Land’s Sam Denker wrote an excellent piece detailing how the Pride could (will) win the 2024 NWSL Shield. One of the primary reasons for the Pride’s undefeated start has been the offensive prowess of Barbra Banda, who in only 918 minutes of NWSL play has already amassed 17 goal contributions (12 goals, 5 assists). As someone who has followed the NWSL closely since the Pride joined the league, 17 goal contributions, 12 goals, and five assists all felt like pretty high numbers to me, so I pulled up my spreadsheets and started looking at where those ranked in NWSL history. I then extrapolated out where Banda would be by the end of the season if she continued at her current pace, and…yeah, you will want to read on. As Kerry Abello has been known to say, vamos.

While the NWSL has existed since 2013, there have only been 10 completed seasons in 12 years due to the pandemic in 2020 and because the 2024 season is still going. Every team in the NWSL has played 16 of its 26 games thus far — approximately 62% of the season (I know you all did that math in your head too). During those other 10 completed NWSL seasons teams played different numbers of matches, as few as 20 in 2015 as many as 24 during four different seasons. As a matter of comparison of yearly performances, we will look at it two different ways: actual total counts and then per 90 minutes played counts, which helps to standardize the different numbers of games played during different years. Let’s start with actual totals goals scored (all data courtesy of fbref.com, powered by Opta):

A few notes on this chart:

  • This is the all-time ranking for goals scored in a NWSL season and Banda, after 62% of the 2024 season, is already in the top 15.
  • It may seem strange to see Kansas City and Current listed under Team, as well as Sky Blue, but this chart, and all others in this article, reflects the team name during the given year.
  • Sam Kerr was, and still is, a powerhouse. I am glad she plays in another league and the Pride do not have play against her anymore.
  • Banda is one behind Marta for the Pride’s single-season record. Methinks that record is going to be broken this season.
  • Last but not least, the Pride as a team all deserve credit for having Banda on this list, as it takes an excellent team offense to have an individual player get the opportunity to score a lot of goals. Six different players have assisted on her goals this year and four others have secondary assists.

The first note in the list above made reference to the fact that, again, we are not even two-thirds of the way through the season and Banda is already in the top 15 all-time for goals scored. If you look at goals scored per 90 minutes, as opposed to just total goals scored in a season, the list of top goalscorers changes quite a bit:

I believe the chart on the right is a better indication of goal-scoring prowess, since it normalizes all the data. Kerr is still a powerhouse, but the per-90-minute evaluation shoots Banda to second overall all-time. Nadia Nadim’s 2014 season does come with an asterisk as well, since she only played a total 495 minutes during that season. Now, Nadim did score seven goals, so she was unquestionably prolific during those 495 minutes, but small sample sizes often produce outlier results. Back to Banda though, let’s play out that she stays on a similar pace of 1.18 goals per 90 minutes for the rest of her 2024 season.

Thus far this season she is averaging 76.5 minutes played per game. Now, that is skewed a little bit because she suffered an injury during one game, which affected her minutes played for that game and the next game. However, because it is the actual value, let’s go with 76.5 minutes per game multiplied by 10 games, which is 765 minutes. Multiplying by 10 is so easy! 765 minutes is 8.5 iterations of 90, and Banda averages 1.18 goals per 90 minutes. At this current pace Banda would end up with…drum roll please…10.03 more goals this season. We will go ahead and round that down to 10. And, adding that to the 12 goals she has already scored, we see that if she continues at her current pace, the Pride’s No. 22 will end up with 22 goals — an increase of, you guessed it, 22% over the current record. Sam Kerr, welcome to second place.

If Banda was only a goal scorer this would still be tremendous, as you have to score goals to win games, but as I mentioned in the opening paragraph, she also already has five assists on the season. That is tied for 28th all-time, so I’ll spare you the long chart showing you everyone above her who has six assists or more. I will, however, show you the assists-per-90-minutes chart, because once again she is already near the top:

If we play out the same exercise for Banda’s final 10 games as we did earlier for goals, she would add another 4.17 assists to her five she has already accumulated, taking her to nine on the season (rounding down). A total of nine assists would rank Banda tied for second all-time with Lauren Holiday, behind only Tobin Heath’s 2016 season, when she had 10. As an aside, that is the Lauren Holiday who used to be Lauren Cheney, one of the best midfielders the U.S. Women’s National Team has ever had, a two-time Olympic gold medal winner, and a member of the 2015 World Cup champions.

Back to Banda.

By the power of extrapolation, Banda would end up with 22 goals and nine assists if she continues on her current pace. She currently has 17 goal contributions, which is good for a tie for ninth all-time. Let me repeat for emphasis, she is already tied for ninth all time and she still has about one-third of her season still to play. The all-time leaders in goal contributions in the NWSL are Kim Little during her 2014 season, when she had 16 goals and seven assists, and Kerr during her 2019 season when she had 18 goals and five assists. Banda is on pace to blow that record away, and here are two more nuggets about that:

  • Only 43 NWSL players have more than 30 goal contributions in their careers. Banda may do it in one season.
  • There have been 621 NWSL player-seasons when a player was listed as an attacking player and played 495+ minutes (495 in order to include Nadim). The average goal contributions per player for those 621 players: 5.24. So, 31 is, in my best Bob Uecker voice, juuuuussssssst a bit more than 5.24.

I think my favorite chart of all though is the one below, which takes those 621 player-seasons and shows them as a scatterplot for their actual goal contributions and their goal contributions per 90 mins:

The ideal place to be on this chart would be in the upper right, meaning that you have a high number of goal contributions (the x-axis) and a high total of goal contributions per 90 minutes (the y-axis). The light blue circle is Banda so far this season, ahead of nearly everyone in NWSL history in goal contributions per 90 minutes but still behind in total goal contributions. The orange circle is her extrapolated numbers at her current pace of goal contributions per 90 minutes. Look how big that gap is between the orange circle and every other season! Barba looks like she is living out a Jay-Z line from the The Blueprint 2, she is “so far ahead of her time she is about to start another life.”

The comparison that came to mind first for me though was a cross-sport comparison to Babe Ruth, back when there were seasons when he hit more home runs by himself than some teams hit as a team. Banda has scored more goals herself than the Utah Royals (8) and Houston Dash (11) in 2024, so it is quite possible that by the end of the season she will have matched the Babe’s feat with her feet and, if so, at that point I will use all the superlatives I can think of in writing about just how amazing, outstanding, incredible and transformational the 2024 season was for Banda.

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Orlando Pride Sign Midfielder Ally Watt to New Contract

The Pride have signed forward Ally Watt through the 2025 NWSL season with a mutual option for 2026.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Mark Thor

The Orlando Pride announced this afternoon that the club has signed forward Ally Watt to a new contract. The deal runs through the 2025 NWSL season and includes a mutual option for 2026.

“Over the last couple years, we have really seen Ally grow both on the field and off. She has worked incredibly hard to be the fittest she has been in her career, and it shows through the impact she brings to our front line,” Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter said in a club press release. “Ally brings great competitiveness to the forward position on our team, while also being a great influence on our team culture. We’re excited for her to continue pushing herself and her teammates to be the best versions of themselves, and to have her continue as a vital part of what we are building.”

The Pride initially acquired Watt in a trade with OL Reign (now the Seattle Reign) on Aug. 15, 2022 in exchange for $125,000 in Allocation Money. The Watt trade was among the first that indicated the Pride were ready to begin dealing the assets they acquired for some of their older talent traded following the 2021 season.

Watt made her debut for the Pride on Aug. 20, 2022, coming on for Julie Doyle in the 64th minute of a 2-1 win over NJ/NY Gotham FC. She scored nine minutes later to create the dream debut for her new club, earning a new deal at the end of the season that kept her with the Pride through 2024. In nearly two years in Orlando, Watt has made 46 appearances (18 starts) in all competitions, recording 1,958 minutes, six goals and two assists. She also scored the fastest goal in team history, converting after 39 seconds on Sept. 17, 2023 against the North Carolina Courage.

So far this season, Watt has made 15 appearances with seven starts, recording 657 minutes. She has scored two goals and added an assist. Her most notable game this year was on May 1, when Pride Head Coach Seb Hines switched from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-2, teaming Watt with Barbra Banda. Watt scored the opener and assisted on Banda’s second goal in a 4-1 win over the Courage.

“We’re building something very special here in Orlando and I am grateful that I get to continue to be a part of it,” Watt said in the club’s press release. “I feel I have only grown since I’ve been here, and I’m more than excited to keep developing my game. This team and organization are my family, and staying here in Orlando to play in front of some of the best fans makes me so happy. Vamos Pride!”

Watt was initially selected with the ninth overall pick of the 2020 NWSL Draft by the Courage out of Texas A&M. She played professionally in Australia for Melbourne City before joining North Carolina for the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup. However, she tore her ACL minutes into the first game, sidelining her for an extended period.

The Courage traded the speedster before the 2021 season to the Reign, where she made five appearances after returning from injury. She became a regular in 2022, playing in 21 of the Reign’s 22 games, recording a goal and an assist, before being dealt to the Pride.

What It Means for Orlando

Whether she starts with Banda in a 4-4-2 formation or comes off the bench later in the game, Watt has proven to be a valuable part of the Pride’s success since joining the club. Injuries were a concern since she’d had a previous ACL tear, but she’s remained healthy and has continued to be one of the fastest players in the NWSL.

The forward is already having her best season with the team this year, and there are still 10 games left in the regular season. With Banda away at the Olympics, Watt should get plenty of time starting during the upcoming NWSL X Liga MX Femenil Summer Cup, providing valuable minutes.

While this signing provides depth at the forward position, Watt also has the versatility that Carter and Hines crave. In addition to playing striker, Watt’s speed has been utilized on the right side of the midfield before, matching the similarly fast Doyle on the left for a dangerous pairing. Her attributes make this signing an expected one as the Pride look to build on their historic season.

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