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Orlando Pride vs. OL Reign: Final Score 1-0 as Shorthanded Pride Blow Second Straight Chance to Jump Into Playoff Position

Pride goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse got sent off just three minutes into the match as Orlando’s struggles in both September and in the Pacific Northwest continued.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride lost their second straight game and remain winless in the state of Washington after a 1-0 loss to OL Reign at Lumen Field in Seattle. Things unraveled early for the Pride (7-10-1, 22 points) as goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse was sent off in the third minute, reducing Orlando to 10 players and making the uphill climb that much steeper. Jordyn Huitema scored early in the second half off an Orlando turnover to lift OL Reign (8-7-3, 27 points) to a vital win in the NWSL postseason race.

With the loss, the Pride fell to 3-21-9 in all competitions in the months of September and October in their history and to 0-5-3 in road games against the Reign. What’s worse is that it was the Pride’s second consecutive loss in which a win would have vaulted the team above the playoff line at the expense of the opponent that night.

“I think everyone could see there was a real togetherness today,” Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines said after the match. “You do all the preparation to win a game of football and then within two or three minutes you’re down a player, so then you have to be adaptable and you have to adjust and, you know, it really challenged our players, obviously, defensively.”

Hines’ lineup included Moorhouse in goal behind a back line of Kylie Strom, Rafaelle, Emily Madril, and Haley McCutcheon. Jordyn Listro and Mikayla Cluff started in central midfield behind an attacking line of Kerry Abello, Marta, and Julie Doyle, with Messiah Bright up top.

Orlando attacked from the opening whistle and Marta won a corner. The ball was cleared off to OL Reign’s defensive left side, where Marta picked it up and brought it back into the box. She fired a shot but it was right at goalkeeper Claudia Dickey. It was the Pride’s lone shot on target in the match.

The game was ruined for Orlando fans moments later. A through ball for Bethany Balcer got behind the Pride’s back line and Moorhouse came out of her box to try to beat the Reign attacker to the ball. She got Balcer’s foot instead of the ball and was immediately sent off for the foul, putting her team down a player for the final 87 minutes. It was the earliest red card by any player in NWSL history. Listro subbed off for backup goalkeeper Carly Nelson.

“You’re literally never ever hoping that your first string (goalkeeper) goes down. But you’re always ready when it does happen,” Nelson said. “These are the moments we prep for. It felt good to be back out there after I was able to settle into the game.”

The game became a shooting gallery for OL Reign after the Pride were reduced to 10. It started with Megan Rapinoe’s free kick from the spot of Moorhouse’s foul, but her delivery hit the wall and skipped out for a corner. Jess Fishlock fired just wide in the sixth minute on the recycle of a second corner after the first one deflected out.

OL Reign had to sub out Balcer, who picked up a knock, bringing on Canadian international Huitema.

Marta nearly scored an epic own goal with a crazy back pass toward her own net that Nelson had to head off the line. It was the first of two scary moments in her own end for the Brazilian.

Bright fired a shot from long range in the 17th minute but it wasn’t close to the goal frame.

Fishlock then got a pair of chances. The first was a shot right at Nelson in the 18th minute. A minute later, Marta again made a terrible back pass that Fishlock jumped in front of and stole just outside the area. Her shot was again denied by Nelson, who got up to tip it over the bar.

In the 27th minute, it was Madril nearly knocking a Huitema cross into her own net, but it was wide of the near post, giving OL Reign a corner. The corner pinged around the Pride box dangerously before being cleared. The recylcled possession ended up on Rose Lavelle’s foot and Nelson made a huge stop to keep the game scoreless in the 29th minute.

OL Reign again nearly unlocked the defense in the 30th. Rafaelle tried to head the ball back to Nelson but didn’t get anything on it and Huitema was able to chip the ball toward goal but it skipped wide to the right.

Huitema shook free of Doyle in the box and forced a terrific diving save by Nelson in stoppage time off another Reign corner on the last good look for either side in the opening period.

As one would expect, OL Reign dominated the stat sheet at the break, leading in possession (55.3%-44.7%), Shots (13-3), shots on target (5-1), corners (5-3), and passing accuracy (81.6%-74.3%).

“I think we were just trying to regroup at half, because that (red card) happened so early on,” Cluff said. “We were kind of scrambling, but we did really well to get into halftime and keep it tied and not concede in the first half, and we kept it close. And that was what we were trying to do the remainder of the game, is just keep it within reach so that we could keep trying to chase the game and manage the game.”

The hosts came out firing again in the second half, with Rapinoe sending a shot over the bar in the opening moments after the restart.

OL Reign’s breakthrough came off an Orlando goal kick. The Pride had been sloppy in passing all game and it finally caught up as the ball was handed to Lavelle, who fed Huitema in the middle near the top of the box for the easy finish. The hosts took the lead in the 49th minute.

“I saw Kylie open in space, and I literally just mishit the ball. That was it,” Nelson said of the turnover to Lavelle. “I do that a thousand times in a week hitting that ball, and I think just it was unlucky. It was unfortunate. You know, it was execution.”

The Pride learned nothing from the goal, as Huitema nearly doubled the lead a minute later. This time it was Cluff who turned it over in her own defensive third, but the shot from Huitema was off target.

Perhaps Orlando’s best chance of the match came on a corner kick in the 69th minute. Marta’s curling effort was likely meant for second-half sub Ally Watt, but Dickey had to leap over Watt and knock it off the line to keep it out. Had Watt jumped, she may have been able to head it in or at least could have prevented Dickey from seeing it to keep it out.

Sofia Huerta had a chance to double OL Reign’s lead in the 72nd minute when the Pride defense fell asleep, assuming a ball would go out for a goal kick. OL Reign hustled to keep it in play and the ball found Huerta, but the U.S. international shot over the crossbar.

Orlando was unable to maintain possession for most of the match, but the Pride fashioned a chance in the 81st minute, when substitute Brianna Martinez got down the right wing and crossed in for Watt, who couldn’t direct it past Dickey in front. The rebound sat in the six-yard box for a couple of seconds but Dickey recovered before Mariana Larroquette could arrive.

From there, OL Reign mostly tried to run out the clock, looking for opportunities to sneak in behind but not sending numbers forward.

The Pride had one last gasp in stoppage time on a corner kick. Both Strom and Larroquette were unmarked at the back post but they ran into each other and the ball appeared to go off of Strom and fizz wide of the left post in the team’s last opportunity.

Despite the valiant effort under difficult circumstances, the Pride dropped a vital match and the team’s playoff aspirations are on life support with four matches remaining.

OL Reign finished with lopsided advantages on the stat sheet, leading in possession (55%-45%), shots (18-4), shots on target (7-1), corners (7-5), and passing accuracy (79.7%-74.3%).

“I’m really proud of the players and how they coped with a lot of difficult moments, and their real togetherness,” Hines said. “And obviously disappointed with the result, but not too much on the performance.”

“I think there’s a lot of learning and growing opportunities and you know, the circumstances —we’re playing with 10 players — and we fought hard,” Nelson said. “I’m disappointed, definitely. I know the team is. We want to win, and we’re going to look back on this and learn and grow.”


The Pride have next weekend off and will host the North Carolina Courage on Sept. 17 at 7 p.m.

Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride Sign Midfielder Kerry Abello to New Contract

The Pride have signed midfielder Kerry Abello to a new three-year contract.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride announced this afternoon that the club has signed midfielder Kerry Abello to a new three-year contract. The deal keeps Abello in purple through the 2026 NWSL season.

“We are thrilled to keep Kerry in Orlando through 2026. Since joining the club, she has proven to be a reliable and versatile player for our team,” Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter said in a club press release. “In a few short years, she has grown into a leader in our locker room and sets the standard for professionalism and accountability, two values we center our culture around. Ensuring she remains a part of what we are building here, both on and off the field, was a priority for us in the off-season. We are happy to bring that to fruition and look forward to her continued growth and performance.” 

Abello was initially drafted by the Pride with the 24th pick of the 2021 NWSL Draft, but decided to return to school for a fifth season. The club finally signed the Penn State product to a two-year contract on Jan. 28, 2022. The midfielder signed another two-year deal on Feb. 23, 2023, with a club option for 2025. Just over a year later, she’s now inked a third contract, ensuring her stay in Orlando will run through 2026.

Initially coming off the bench, Abello became a regular starter late in her rookie season. Over the past three years, she’s seen time at attacking and defensive midfield, showing her versatility. In total, Abello has made 49 appearances (31 starts) in all competitions and recorded 2,835 minutes. She’s scored one goal and contributed one assist.

Last year, the 24-year-old midfielder made 25 appearances (18 starts), recording 1,642 minutes, and adding a goal and an assist. She participated in all but two league games and five of the team’s six Challenge Cup contests.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there is truly no place I’d rather be. Thank you, Orlando, for having me for the next three years,” Abello said in a club press release. “I’m feeling full of joy, gratitude, and inspiration. There’s work to be done, and I can’t wait to put my whole heart into this season and all the rest. Vamos!”

The Batavia, IL, native was a part of the United States youth set up at the U-14, U-15, U-17, U-18, and U-19 levels. She received a call up to the U-23 U.S. Women’s National Team for the 2022 Women’s U-23 Three-Nations Tournament, scoring in a 3-0 win over Sweden.

Prior to being drafted by the Pride, Abello was a three-time All-Big Ten selection, helping Penn State win three Big Ten championships. She was also named to the All-North Team twice in her five collegiate seasons.

What It Means for Orlando

Similar to her last contract, this deal ensures that Abello will continue her stay in Orlando beyond the upcoming season. She originally started on the bench under former Pride head coach Amanda Cromwell, but won over Seb Hines with her versatility in the midfield. During her first two professional season, she’s played extensively at attacking and defensive midfield. However, she can also play on the back line, having been a center back in college.

Following the 2023 NWSL season, Carter told The Mane Land’s Skopurp Soccer podcast that the club focused on the back line last off-season and was focusing on the midfield this off-season. Signing Abello, who has been a crucial part of the club’s rebuild, was always going to be part of that plan.

Between the re-signing of Abello and the new additions to the team, the midfield has more depth than before. Abello’s presence could be crucial, because the midfield’s Brazilian internationals will likely miss time due to international call-ups. Abello can fill in multiple positions, ensuring there won’t be a significant drop-off when the internationals depart.

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Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride Unveil New Kits Ahead of 2024 NWSL Season

The Pride take part in the NWSL kit reset with new primary and secondary jerseys for the 2024 season.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride unveiled their two new kits today ahead of the 2024 NWSL season. The jerseys are part of the league-wide kit reset, launched by the NWSL and Nike. The club’s new Phoenix Kit features the Pride’s two recognizable colors, purple and blue, and the secondary Citrus Kit has an all-new color scheme, paying tribute to Florida’s citrus industry. Both jerseys will be formally unveiled on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at “The Kit Party presented by Orlando Health,” taking place at the Orlando Regional History Center.

Replicas of the two new jerseys are available for purchase at ShopOrlandoPride.com, in The Den at Inter&Co Stadium during regular business hours, and on NWSLshop.com. Replica goalkeeper jerseys will also be made available during a late spring release.

“We are proud to share two new, powerful kits with our fans and honored that we are again able to share the story of one of the pillars of our community and the state of Florida,” Pride Chief Marketing Officer Pedro Araujo said in a club press release. “Each year, it is important for us to use our platform to celebrate those that laid the foundation for our city, and this year is no different. We hope our fans are as excited to wear the Citrus Kit and the Phoenix Kit as we are, and to proudly represent Orlando both at home and outside of Central Florida. This new partnership with Nike is a very exciting moment for the league. We’re grateful for their continued support of the Orlando Pride and the NWSL as a whole and are excited for the future opportunities this new, refreshed commitment will bring to our kits and team performance gear.”

The Citrus Kit features a new orange and iced-out green scheme, a first for the Pride, with inspiration taken from Central Florida’s citrus industry. The jersey features oranges and leaves, with letters and numbers featuring the same iced-out green coloring. The design of the kit takes direct inspiration from the historic packaging of citrus crates and labels, unique to each grove. The back of the socks features a hand-drawn “Pride,” which is also inspired by the labels. Meanwhile, the “Outer Pride” on the lower corner of the jersey is a stylized “OP” with an orange cross-section and orange blossom leaves and flowers.

The primary home jersey this season will be the new Phoenix Kit, which is more recognizable to fans. The jersey features the club’s traditional colors of purple with blue letters and numbers. The jersey features a unique two-toned purple gradient that runs diagonally from the top right to the bottom left of the jersey. The club’s shirt sponsor, Orlando Health, remains in white, but the letters, numbers, and Nike logo on the darker purple are the team’s second color, “Eola Blue.”

The new kits are part of the NWSL’s league-wide kit reset, the first time a women’s professional soccer league has presented refreshed primary and secondary uniforms for all of its teams. Each club is receiving jerseys that reflect the club’s identity and joyful expression and celebrate the team’s community.

The Pride’s unveiling has been in cooperation with Hollieanna Groves, a local and family-owned grower, harvester, packer, and shipper of Florida citrus. The Maitland-based company is a fourth-generation packing house and sales room, providing the backdrop for one of the club’s kit photo shoots.

Here are some photos of the Pride’s newest kits courtesy of the Pride:

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Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride Place Megan Montefusco on Season-Ending Injury List

The Orlando Pride have placed center back Megan Montefusco on the season-ending injury list following surgery on her right foot.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride announced this afternoon that center back Megan Montefusco has been placed on the season-ending injury list. The defender had off-season right foot surgery, performed by the club’s official medical team, to repair a long-term problem.

“This is an unfortunate situation for Megan, though we’re happy she was able to address an issue that has plagued her for some time, and we are confident she will come out of this a stronger athlete,” Orlando Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter said in a club press release. “Our club is fully behind her and will support her throughout her rehab process, as will our amazing partners at Orlando Health. Our goal is to help Megan get back on the field as safely and smartly as possible, and we are behind her every step of the way. We look forward to seeing her back out on the pitch as soon as she is ready.”

The Pride originally acquired the defender in a trade with the Houston Dash on Jan. 28, 2022 that saw Marisa Viggiano go the other way. She was a regular starter at center back that year and through most of 2023, but lost the starting position when the club signed Brazilian international Rafaelle. Montefusco has made 45 appearances (42 starts) for 3,773 minutes in all competitions over her two seasons in Orlando, scoring one goal.

The 31 year-old signed a new contract with the Pride on June 15, 2023 through the 2024 season with an option for 2025. As one of the team’s main representatives alongside fellow center back Carrie Lawrence, Montefusco appeared at Orlando City’s preseason game against the New England Revolution, signing autographs and taking part in a question-and-answer session while wearing a walking boot.

What It Means for Orlando

This news is a bit of a blow to Orlando’s depth on the back line. Montefusco was the first center back off the bench late last year and was expected to have the same role this year. However, her absence will make room for Lawrence, who missed the 2023 season after suffering a torn ACL during preseason, and Tori Hansen, who is currently on loan with Melbourne Victory FC in Australia. The duo will now compete for the third center back spot unless the club replaces Montefusco with another veteran, as the NWSL transfer window remains open.

This injury could also open up a spot for the Pride to sign 2024 second-round NWSL Draft pick Cori Dyke, who the club took at No. 22 overall out of Penn State. Dyke has experience at center back in college. She played as a central midfielder for the first four years in college, but moved to center back for her final season. Despite moving to the back line, the 2023 season was her most productive offensively, as she recorded five goals and six assists.

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