Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride vs. Racing Louisville: Final Score 2-2 as 10-Player Pride Finish Two-Goal Comeback

The Pride earn a good road point from a bad position despite being shorthanded in the second half.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

The Orlando Pride fought back from two goals down, coming from behind despite being down a player in a wild 2-2 draw against Racing Louisville at Lynn Family Stadium in Louisville, KY. Summer Yates’ first career goal pulled a valuable road point out of Louisville (0-0-1, 1 point) for the Pride (0-0-1, 1 point), with Orlando getting its first ever point in four trips to Kentucky (0-3-1).

Elexa Bahr and Uchenna Kuna gave the hosts the lead in the first half, but a Louisville own goal threw Orlando a lifeline. Despite Kylie Strom being sent off in the second half with a questionable second yellow, Yates scored on a late set piece and the Pride held on for a draw that felt more like a win. The Pride remain winless in season openers, but earn their third opening day draw (0-5-3) in league play. [Note, this is season nine for the club, but there was no NWSL season in 2020.]

“Hard-fought point. We showed a lot of character towards the end,” Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines said after the match. “It’s never easy to go two goals down in a game, especially in this league. I can’t fault the players and their attitude toward the end. You’re looking at a lot of young players stepping up in that environment to not only get the goal but to see the game out. A really important point for us, moving forward.”

Hines’ starting lineup included goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse behind a back line of Strom, Kerry Abello, Emily Sams (nee Madril), and Haley McCutcheon. Morgan Gautrat and Luana made their Pride debuts in the central midfield behind an attacking line of Julie Doyle, Marta, and Angelina, with Adriana up top.

The Pride started well, pressing together and pinning the hosts back at times. But it didn’t last and the attack left the back disorganized, allowing Louisville to create transitions out of nothing.

Early on, former Pride midfielder Taylor Flint (nee Kornieck) pulled back Adriana just outside the box to halt a transition and was booked for her foul. The Pride couldn’t pay off the set piece, however, as Marta’s shot fizzed wide of the far post, and Katie Lund appeared to have it covered anyway.

The hosts grabbed the lead in the 13th minute. A cross-field long ball from Reilyn Turner sent Bahr in behind Abello. Moorhouse was off her line, but didn’t charge out and was caught in between two minds as Bahr easily chipped the ball over her and in to open the scoring.

Strom was booked two minutes later to prevent an opponent getting in behind again, as the back line’s shape continued to be problematic early.

Louisville doubled the lead in the 19th minute. Bahr sent a ball for Kanu that McCutcheon appeared to have a bead on, but the defender took a poor angle to it and it got through. That allowed Kanu a free shot at goal and despite Moorhouse getting a touch, the game was 2-0 to Racing early.

Adriana’s shout for handball moments later was checked, but it wasn’t a handball, as Louisville started looking content to sit in a lower block with its two-goal lead.

Abello made the hosts pay for that by working her way back and forth before sending a ball across the front of goal. The cross hit defender Elli Pikkujämsä and deflected into the net behind Lund for an own goal, making it 2-1 in the 24th minute and giving the Pride a lifeline in the match.

Much of the rest of the first half was played in Racing’s half of the field, but the Pride didn’t create many clear-cut chances due to the low block. An Adriana flat-footed shot from outside the box that one-hopped straight at Lund served as Orlando’s only shot on target of the half.

Abello tried to pick out the far corner in the 36th minute but the ball stayed wide. A late corner kick cross was sent straight to Lund and that was about it for the opening period.

The Pride held way more possession (60.2%-39.8%) but much of that advantage came after the second Louisville goal. Orlando also had the edge in shots (4-3), passing accuracy (87.6%-87.1%), and corners (4-0). Racing put more shots on target (3-1).

The hosts nearly doubled their lead to start the half. A corner kick landed at Kanu’s feet and appeared to catch her off guard. She sent her shot wide of the net in the first minute after the restart.

The Pride’s first half chance came in the 52nd minute on a good cross into the box from Marta. Lund did well to leave her line and prevented it from reaching Adriana.

Louisville got Kanu in behind a minute later, slicing Orlando’s defense open again with a long diagonal ball, but she fired over the bar and the flag came up anyway.

Orlando squandered a few promising attacks over the next several minutes. Abello did well to jump in front of a pass and started the attack, but she dribbled the ball all the way to the top of the box, got in among too many defenders, and lost possession. Doyle then gave the ball away a couple of times, allowing Louisville to transition. On the second, Bahr ended up near the top of the box with the ball but sent a soft shot wide that Moorhouse caught in the 61st minute.

A minute later, the game turned in Louisville’s favor. Strom stepped up to try to win a ball and clipped Savannah DeMelo’s foot. It wasn’t an egregious foul, nor did it stop a counter or impede the player, but despite being lenient with DeMelo and Flint in the first half after they were booked, the referee showed Strom a second yellow, sending her off in the 62nd minute. Both Flint and DeMelo later had another heavy challenge each but neither saw a second booking.

“Going down a man is hard, especially being down in the game, but I think preseason has really prepared us for that in the sense that, you know, I think we’re in great shape physically,” said rookie Ally Lemos, who made her professional debut in the second half. “We’ve gone through certain situations — up a goal, down a goal, down a man, and stuff like that — so, I think our preparation was really the difference maker and our character was a big part of that too.”

Racing nearly made the extra player pay off immediately. A ball from the left was chipped to the right post, and only a touch from Abello’s head prevented an easy third goal for Louisville. Two minutes later, substitute Emma Sears sent a near post shot that was comfortable for Moorhouse.

Yates should have scored in the 79th minute. A layoff right in front fell for her and she quickly got a foot to it, but sent it sideways across the face of goal, where the defense collected it. Doyle won the ball back and earned the Pride a free kick. The ensuing set piece delivery from Angelina fell in the box but the defense swept it behind for a corner. There was a brief check for handball but none was given.

“Adri played me one, and I thought I had a sitter, and I missed it,” Yates said. “So, I knew after that I was going to put myself in any opportunity to get that goal back. It’s hard to get opportunities in this league. And after I missed that one, my mindset really was not to shut down, but find the next moment, and the next moment you’re going to capitalize on it.”

Adriana had a shot from the top of the box deflect softly to Lund in the 84th minute as the Pride kept looking for the equalizer. That came two minutes later on another free kick.

The service into the area was flicked on by substitute Amanda Allen. Yates got to it first and stuck out a foot, getting just a touch, but it was enough to direct it just inside the right post to make it 2-2 in the 86th minute. In addition to being Yates’ first NWSL goal, it was Allen’s first career assist.

“Angelina played a great ball off the cross, and I just tried to time the run and find an opening,” Yates said. “Once I saw the goal, I knew I could place it in the side. It’s super exciting to get that point here. It was an amazing feeling and a good start to the season.”

“Summer has put the effort in in the off-season,” Hines said. “She’s had moments in preseason when she’s had to come in and made the difference, and today she did exactly what I would ask from her. To get the goal and get the equalizing goal late in the game shows her worth and what we need for us to move forward.”

Neither side got a good look for the rest of normal time, and the fourth official showed a seemingly generous 10 minutes of injury time, which was lengthened when Sams went down with a knock moments later, although Sams was able to continue.

The final minutes of stoppage time saw Racing Louisville throwing numbers into the attacking half to try to steal a late winner. The Pride were content to simply play the ball anywhere to take the pressure off and Orlando even did well to win a corner.

Racing got the last good chance of the game. Allen got the last touch on a diagonal ball to the back post, conceding a late corner. Sears was left wide open at the back post and the ball found her. She made a mess of her volley attempt, however, sending it high in the air. Moorhouse caught it and then got crashed into. No foul was given, so fortunately she was able to keep it from crossing the goal line.

The final whistle came in the 103rd minute and the Pride had courageously fought back against tall odds to get a road point.

Because of the second yellow on Strom, the statistics finished nearly as even as the game did. Orlando won the posession battle (51.5%-48.5%) even though the hosts had more of the ball in the second half. Louisville, and won more corners (6-2). Louisville had the edge in shots (10-9), shots on target (4-2), and passing accuracy (81.6%-80.9%).

“I think this team is really special, and we’re really together, and our mentality this year is to stick together and take every game, game by game,” Yates said. “So we’re all really pumped, really excited, and this is a good point for us and a good start to the season.”

“I think at times, we played some really good football,” Hines said. “We played from back to front by using our midfield, got into some really good spaces. I think an area we can improve on is that final pass, that killer pass to get more success.”

The Pride will be back in action Friday night in their home opener, hosting Angel City FC at 8 p.m. Strom will miss the match with a suspension for getting the second yellow.


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