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Orlando Pride vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC: Final Score 1-1 as Another Stoppage Time Goal Denies Pride a Win

The Pride had a second goal overturned after video review and conceded yet another game-changing, stoppage-time goal.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride will be happy to see the end of the NWSL Challenge Cup. The Pride scored first, had a second goal controversially overturned after video review, and conceded yet another stoppage-time goal to draw NJ/NY Gotham FC 1-1 at Red Bull Arena.

Messiah Bright gave the Pride the lead on the road just past the half-hour mark and a shot by Kerry Abello bounced in off the shoulder of Haley McCutcheon, but the referee overturned the second goal. Mana Shim scored an easy equalizing goal early in stoppage time when she was left completely unmarked on the right side of the Pride defense and the teams split the points.

Orlando exits the competition without a single win in six tries, but the draw allowed the Pride to take Gotham out of the tournament with them. With just two points, Orlando finished dead last in the Challenge Cup.

“I’ve been pleased with the progress we’ve made (in the Challenge Cup),” Pride Head Coach Seb Hines said after the match. “Obviously results haven’t gone our way but some of the performances have been brilliant and the attitude of the players has been great. It really showed today. We knew what was at stake for Gotham but it was more about ourselves and getting back to what we’re good at.”

Hines’ lineup was a strong one for the team’s Challenge Cup finale, with Anna Moorhouse in goal behind a back line of Kylie Strom, Emily Madril, Megan Montefusco, and Haley McCutcheon. Viviana Villacorta and Mikayla Cluff played in central midfield behind an attacking line of Kerry Abello, Julie Doyle, and Erika Tymrak, with Bright up top.

The first half was a bit back-and-forth, with the Pride getting an early corner but Gotham had some opportunities with Delanie Sheehan firing wildly off target. The hosts nearly got through on goal but Yazmeen Ryan couldn’t control the ball moments later.

Doyle and Abello each had a shot inside the box blocked off a corner in the ninth minute as the Pride searched for the opener. Katie Stengel took down Doyle in the box two minutes later, but the referee judged it to be a legal challenge and the video assistant referee did not overturn it or have Jeremy Scheer go to the monitor for a second look.

The teams exchanged long-range free kicks over the next 15 minutes but couldn’t make them pay off.

Gotham had an opportunity on the counter in the 26th minute but Midge Purce tried to beat Madril with Moorhouse off her line and appeared to be free to take a shot but opted to make a second move. Madril got the better of her on the second and took it away. A cross through the box came right to Moorhouse seconds later.

Two minutes later, Moorhouse was fortunate not to have to pay for a howler. Well off her line, the goalkeeper passed the ball to Purce outside the box, who couldn’t control it with the net wide open.

Bright broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute. Abello blazed past defender Ellie Jean down the left flank and sent a great ball into the middle for Bright to make an easy finish.

“I just saw Abello running down the field, so my main concern was just getting in the width of the goal and whatever popped out, just making that run centrally,” Bright said. “I knew she was going to cross it, so I just wanted to be there for the tap-in.”

Doyle had a chance to double the lead in the 39th minute when she was played a ball over the top behind the defense. She reached the ball before goalkeeper Mandy Haught but couldn’t finesse it past for a shot attempt.

That almost proved costly two minutes later. Ryan cut inside from the left and fired a shot at Moorhouse. The ball squirted through Moorhouse’s hands but it deflected just over the bar. Allie Long then fired a shot at the end of the half but it was right at the Orlando keeper on the last decent look of the half for either side.

At the half, the Pride had the advantage in possession (53.2%-46.8%) and corners (4-1), but the hosts led in shots (6-5), shots on target (2-1), and passing accuracy (74.7%-72.3%). Orlando led where it counted most, but only because Gotham couldn’t take advantage of the Moorhouse mistakes.

“I thought the first-half performance was really good,” Hines said. “We started the game fast, caused them a lot of problems, and we deserved that goal from Messiah. It was a great run from Abello and a great ball into a dangerous area and Messiah was there to put it in.”

The hosts were much more assertive after the break and the Pride were much more passive. There were long spells of play in the Pride end and, as we’ve sometimes seen in the past, a lot of nervy half-clearances and failures to relieve pressure by the Orlando defense.

Gotham won a couple of early corners in the second half and a cross by Ryan nearly was able to sneak in but it went just over the bar and landed on the roof of the net in the 48th minute. A minute later, Stengel got to a Purce cross but headed it straight at Moorhouse.

Orlando appeared to double its lead against the run of play in the 61st minute. A great individual effort by Doyle enabled her to work the ball from the right flank into the penalty area. She crossed it in for Abello, who couldn’t get her footing right and sent the ball off of McCutcheon and into the net. This time, the referee did go to the monitor to check it, in keeping with the Professional Referee Organization’s consistent policy of inconsistency.

Scheer looked at the replay and ruled that the ball was low enough on McCutcheon’s arm to constitute an offensive handball, which has different standards than a defensive handball. McCutcheon, to her credit, could not have possibly had her arm tucked in against her body any further than it was, shy of anything other than amputation. Nevertheless, the goal was disallowed, eventually costing the Pride a road win.

The play can be seen around the 3:19 mark of this video:

“I mean, it hit me in like the shoulder/chest area, I thought,” McCutcheon said. “But I know they’re pretty strict about those attacking handball rules, so I was bummed to see it called back, but I thought it gave us good momentum to push for another goal.”

“I’d rather not comment on the referee’s performance tonight,” Hines said, when asked if the ref or fourth official gave him an explanation after the overturned call. “We can only control what we can control, and, yeah, I’d rather not talk about the referee.”

The game was still there for the Pride, however, and second-half sub Jordyn Listro opted to try a shot from the top of the area on the half-volley rather than try to get in deeper and her shot sailed well over the bar in the 66th minute.

Gotham then got a flurry of chances with Stengel sending a shot out of play off a defender and Maitane Lopez sending a shot straight to Moorhouse.

Substitute Ally Watt got into the box in the 83rd minute but took a heavy touch. By the time she caught up to it, all she could do was knock it off the goalkeeper for a corner kick. Watt went to ground on the ensuing corner but no foul was given, nor did the play appear to be reviewed, and she did seem to go down easily.

Much of the rest of the match consisted of Orlando conceding set pieces and then failing to convincingly clear a ball away from the penalty area. A shot by Ryan was fumbled out of play by Moorhouse to give up another corner and Jenna Nighswonger sent a shot over the bar in the 87th minute.

The equalizer came just after normal time expired and the eight minutes of injury time had begun. Purce crossed the ball from the right side to the left, where no one tracked Shim’s run. It was an easy finish to tie the match in the 91st minute.

“It is a hard lesson to learn especially, you know, numerous times,” McCutcheon said of the team conceding again in stoppage time. “We’ve definitely shown that we can get the shutout, even with waves of pressure, but I think just looking at it from a standpoint of we can be in control of those late-game moments, even when we don’t have the ball. And then when we do have the ball, just valuing that and having a plan to waste time or to find another goal.”

“They had a majority of the possession second half, so, I think they were putting us on our back foot a lot,” Bright said. “They were being very aggressive, and they got the goal from it. I think it was just important for us to just stay locked in in those moments and to just keep it as best as we can, which we did not do, but we’ll continue to grow from it and learn for the next game.”

With time winding down and Gotham needing a win to advance out of the group stage, the hosts kept coming. Long headed over the bar in the 93rd and Shim sent a one-hopper to Moorhouse moments later.

But the Pride came within inches of finding a late winner out of nowhere against the run of play. Substitute Summer Yates sent Watt into the right side of the box and the forward’s shot beat Haught but hit the left post and stayed out in the 97th minute.

Orlando survived the final minute and a half and finished with a draw.

Gotham dominated the stat sheet by putting the Pride on their heels through much of the second half. The hosts finished with more shots (17-8), shots on target (7-2), possession (56.9%-43.1%), and passing accuracy (76%-67.7%). The teams each won six corners.

“We had a lot of good moments. Luck hasn’t gone our way,” Hines said. “You look back in the second half and there was obviously the goal that gets chalked off for a handball and you’re thinking, ‘Aw, here we go again.’ And they score really late on but we had enough to hold on for a draw, and I think that’s an important moment for us — to not lose the game tonight.”

“It’s disappointing. We definitely were hungry to win today, which is why we’re going to continue to grow from our mistakes,” Bright said.


Thus concludes Orlando’s participation in the 2023 NWSL Challenge Cup. The Pride will return to regular-season action at home on Aug. 20 when they host the Chicago Red Stars.

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2023 Orlando Pride Season in Review: Haley McCutcheon

The veteran fullback logged a lot of minutes for the Pride in 2023.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Haley McCutcheon was still known as Haley Hanson when she joined the Orlando Pride on Aug. 18, 2022 in a midseason trade with the Houston Dash. The Pride gave up $75,000 in Allocation Money and a second-round draft selection. She joined Orlando for the stretch run, making her debut with the Pride on Aug. 20 in a 2-1 win over Gotham FC. Following the 2022 season, the Nebraska product signed a new contract through 2024 on Oct. 26 of last year.

Let’s look back at McCutcheon’s second year with the Pride.

Statistical Breakdown

The 27-year-old appeared in every one of the Pride’s 22 regular-season games, starting each of them, and was only subbed out twice all year. She logged 1,955 minutes this season, which was third most on the Pride behind only almost-an-iron-woman Emily Madril (1,977) and Kylie Strom (1,967). In other words, McCutcheon played 98.7% of all possible minutes for Orlando during the NWSL regular season. She scored one goal but did not assist on one, despite providing 15 key passes on the year. The defender attempted 17 shots, five of which were blocked and four were on target. She completed 504 of her 716 pass attempts (70.4%), but just 20.8% of her long passes, and nine of her 40 crosses were successful. In her own end, McCutcheon completed 77.6% of her passes but only 59.8% in the attacking half. Defensively, McCutcheon contributed 10 blocks and 18 interceptions while winning tackles at a 56.9% rate, duels at a 58.3% rate, and aerial duels at a 62.7% clip. Surprisingly, she did not tally a single clearance all season. McCutcheon conceded 18 fouls while winning only eight, and she was not booked.

In NWSL Challenge Cup play, McCutcheon appeared in four of the team’s six matches, starting two, and logging 233 minutes. She did not score or assist on a goal, attempting two shots and getting one on frame. Her passing rate in the competition was just 67.6%, and she was successful on 40% of her long passes while logging three key passes and going 1-for-4 on cross attempts. She completed 70.4% of her pass attempts in the defensive half and 62.7% in the attacking half. On defense, McCutcheon contributed two blocks and two interceptions while winning her tackles at a 75% rate, 77.3% of her duels, and 75% of her aerial duels. She conceded two fouls while winning one and was not booked.

Best Game

McCutcheon’s best match came back on April 29 in the Pride’s 3-1 win over the San Diego Wave at Snapdragon Stadium. She tied season highs in shots (2) and shots on target (1), passed at a 90.5% rate, and made three tackles. Those are all good things, but it gets better. In this match, McCutcheon scored her first goal with the Pride and her only goal of the season, and it proved to be the game-winning strike. And what a strike it was! With the ball on the other side of the field, McCutcheon made a smart run on the back side. Midfielder Viviana Villacorta spotted the run and delivered an excellent, long, diagonal ball into the area for her. But McCutcheon still had a lot to do. She put her head on it and powered it over the goalkeeper and inside the far post to give the Pride their first lead of the season.

The Pride added another goal and went on to grab their first win of the 2023 season. That sparked a 3-0-1 run in league play and got Orlando going in a season that came down to Decision Day.

2023 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff gave McCutcheon a composite rating of 6 out of 10 for her 2023 season, which is a slight improvement over her score of 5 last season. She was a good facilitator down the right side of the pitch and could fill in at times in the midfield with her versatility. Where she continued to struggle at times was with her 1-v-1 defending down the Pride’s right side and with her crossing accuracy at times.

2024 Outlook

As mentioned above, McCutcheon is on a deal through the 2024 season and since the Pride are safe from the NWSL Expansion Draft, the only way she wouldn’t be back is via trade or transfer. I expect her back in purple next year as she’s a versatile player who can fill in at multiple spots and she is obviously valued by the club, playing a lot of minutes and even wearing the captain’s armband five times during the 2023 NWSL campaign and twice in the Challenge Cup.

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2023 Orlando Pride Season in Review: Erika Tymrak

The veteran midfielder completed her third season in Orlando purple.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

Veteran midfielder Erika Tymrak signed a two-year deal with the Pride on Dec. 9, 2022, in order to stay in Orlando through the 2024 season. The Pride originally acquired the rights to Tymrak from Kansas City, along with midfielder Gunny JĂłnsdĂłttir, on Jan. 30, 2021. In exchange, the Pride gave up the rights to Kristen Edmonds and a second-round draft pick. Tymrak had retired in January of 2020 but decided to return to her pro career, and the Pride signed her to a contract on Feb. 5, 2021, just days after acquiring her rights. The Pride picked up Tymrak’s 2022 contract option following the 2021 season before re-signing her to her current contract.

Let’s look back at Tymrak’s third year with the Pride.

Statistical Breakdown

The 32-year-old appeared in 13 matches, starting 10 and playing 806 total minutes in the NWSL regular season. She was subbed off every time she started. Tymrak did not score a goal in 2023 but did contribute three assists on 21 key passes. Of her 11 shots on the season, she put just three of them on target while three others were blocked. She passed at a 73.4% rate, completing 174 of 237, connected six times on 12 long passes, and was successful twice on five total crosses. In her own half, her passing was better (85%) than in the attacking half (65.1%), as is typical of most players. Defensively, Tymrak won eight of 17 tackles (47.1%), 40 of 93 duels (43%), and just one of nine aerial duels (11.1%). She tallied three interceptions on the year. Tymrak won 14 fouls from the opposition while committing only four and was not booked on the season.

In the NWSL Challenge Cup, Tymrak appeared in all six of Orlando’s games, starting four, and playing 337 minutes. Again, she was subbed off every time she started. She did not score a goal but contributed one assist on four key passes. Tymrak attempted two shots in the competition. Neither was on goal and one was blocked. During the tournament, Tymrak passed at just a 64.9% rate on 74 attempts, was accurate just 33.3% of the time on six long passes, and went 0-for-3 on crosses. She connected on 81.5% of her passes in the defensive half and 43.5% in the attacking half. The Detroit native and University of Florida product recorded five interceptions on the defensive end, won two of three tackle attempts (66.7%), and won 19 of 42 duels (45.2%). She did not win any of her four aerial duels (0%). Tymrak won 11 fouls from the opposition while committing just two and was not booked.

Best Game

There were some good ones to choose from, but I’ll say Tymrak’s best match came on July 1 against the Washington Spirit on the road — a dominant 3-0 Pride victory. Tymrak started and played a season-high 89 minutes (tied with her next outing on July 7 against OL Reign and the April 15 game against Gotham FC). Her big moment in the match was providing the pass that set up this beauty of a goal from Julie Doyle that allowed Orlando to take full control of the match:

Tymrak also drew two fouls on the Spirit in the match and helped her teammates control the game. With the win, the Pride swept the season series from the Spirit.

2023 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff gave Tymrak a composite rating of 5.5 out of 10. This is the same score she received from us for her 2022 season after securing a 6.5 in her first year with Orlando in 2021. Tymrak is a savvy veteran who can read the game well. She doesn’t produce much in the way of offense but she’s helpful with possession, facilitating between the defensive and offensive players around her on the pitch. She has a role on the team and is a useful player to have around to provide depth at this stage of her career.

2024 Outlook

Tymrak is signed through the 2024 season, so it’s likely she’ll occupy a similar role on the Pride next year — a reliable and versatile midfielder off the bench who can find teammates in the attack. Unless the Pride’s shooters are more lethal in 2024, I wouldn’t expect her assist numbers to go up, but perhaps she can find the net herself once or twice next season.

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2023 Orlando Pride Season in Review: Rafaelle

Rafaelle joined the Pride on July 3 and immediately was a key part of the team.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride signed Rafaelle on July 3 to a contract running through the 2025 NWSL season. The Brazilian international took part in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, joining the Pride after the tournament. She immediately partnered Emily Madril at center back, becoming a key member of the starting lineup as the Pride made a run towards the NWSL playoffs.

Let’s take a look at how Rafaelle played after joining the team this season.

Statistical Breakdown

Rafaelle joined the Pride after the end of the 2023 Challenge Cup, so all of her appearances came in the regular season. She made seven appearances, all starts, and played 610 minutes. She played all 90 minutes in six of those games, being substituted for Megan Montefusco on Aug. 20 against the Chicago Red Stars, her first game with the club. The center back finished the season with 31 clearances, seven blocks, and 11 interceptions. She won nine of her 11 tackles (81.8%), 32 of her 50 duels (64%), and 17 of her 23 aerial duels (73.9%).

Going forward, Rafaelle completed 243 of her 305 passes (79,7%) and 30 of her 64 long balls (46.9%). As expected, most of her passes were forward (37.4%) and she played the ball more to her right (30.5%) than to her left (25.2%). She did not register an assist, a key pass, or a cross on the season. She took seven shots, putting four on target, and scored her lone goal in her Pride debut. Additionally, she won one foul and conceded six, but no penalties and she was not booked.

Best Game

Rafelle’s best game of the season came in her first appearance for the club, a 5-0 win over the Chicago Red Stars on Aug. 20. The Brazilian was strong defensively, winning all three of her tackles and recording one block, three interceptions, and six recoveries. She completed 28 of her 34 pass attempts (82.4%), with 25 of those passes coming from her own half.

It’s arguable whether this was her best defensive game, but it definitely featured the most memorable moment of her first season in purple. In the 14th minute, Penelope Hocking cleared the ball out for a Pride corner. Adriana’s set piece sailed beyond several players, but Rafaelle was on the back side of the box to head it towards goal. Chicago goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher got her hand to the ball, but couldn’t keep it out, giving the Pride an early 1-0 lead.

The Pride were up 5-0 in the 70th minute when Seb Hines decided to replace the center back with Montefusco, giving the 32-year-old defender a rest before an intense end to the season.

2023 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff gave Rafaelle a composite grade of 6.5 for the 2023 season. She was better defensively than Montefusco and slid in nicely alongside Madril. Joining the team late in the season, she had a smaller sample size than she’ll likely have next season, but impressed. Having some competitive games and a full preseason, she might even receive a higher grade next year.

2024 Outlook

Rafaelle joined the Pride late in the season as they made a push for the playoffs. Going into next season, she’ll have experience playing alongside her center back partner, Madril, which should provide more comfort. Her current contract is through the 2025 season, so that pairing will likely remain on the starting back line at least through the next two years.

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