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Orlando Pride vs. Washington Spirit: Final Score 3-2 as Pride Win Third Straight

Despite a second-half goalkeeper error and a red card, the Pride held on to beat the Washington Spirit away from home.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride (3-0-3, 12 points) won their third consecutive game and second away from home with a hard-fought 3-2 win over the Washington Spirit (4-2-0, 12 points) at Audi Field. Angelina, Barbra Banda, and Summer Yates scored for the Pride while the Spirit goals came from Ouleye Sarr and an Anna Moorhouse gaffe that was credited to Ashley Hatch.

Pride Head Coach Seb Hines had a weakened team for this game with Marta and Adriana both out injured. However, Rafaelle returned to the starting lineup and Banda got her first start for the team. The inclusion of Rafaelle saw Abello move to her natural attacking position and Kylie Strom back to her usual left back position.

The back line in front of Moorhouse was Strom, Rafaelle, Emily Sams, and Bri Martinez. Angelina and Haley McCutcheon were in the defensive midfield behind an attacking midfield of Julie Doyle, Yates, and Abello with Banda up top.

Washington dominated the first 20 minutes of the game and it appeared as though it would be a long night for the Pride. But Orlando held much more possession after Angelina’s goal and looked much more threatening in the attack. Up 3-1, a Moorhouse mistake got the Spirit back into the game and they struggled to hold onto a 3-2 lead when Martinez was sent off for a second yellow. But they withstood the constant attack by the opposition in second-half stoppage time, taking home all three points.

The hosts had the first decent attack in the second minute when Trinity Rodman received the ball from Sarr and carried it towards the end line. However, Martinez did well to keep up and knocked the ball out for a corner kick. Andi Sullivan’s ensuing set piece didn’t amount to anything and the Pride were able to clear.

In the ninth minute, Paige Metayer was sent down the right by Rodman. Cutting inside to beat Sams, Metayer passed it over for Sarr, but the striker slipped while attempting to shoot and sent the ball directly to Moorhouse.

Rodman was again involved in a chance for the Spirit in the 16th minute. However, this time it was an individual effort. Receiving the ball on the left, the midfielder cut inside for some space and fired a shot between two defenders from the top corner of the box. It was an ambitious attempt, but the attacker struck it well and forced Moorhouse into a diving stop.

The Pride had their first decent chance in the 19th minute when Angelina lifted the ball into the Spirit box looking for Doyle, who was making a run. Unfortunately, the cross was too close to Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury, who easily collected it.

The Spirit dominated the first 20 minutes, but the visitors scored first against the run of play in the 22nd minute. It started on the right when Yates won the ball from Hal Hershfelt. The midfielder sent it down the right, where Banda beat her defender, retrieving the ball before it reached the end line. The Zambian international quickly sent a cross toward the penalty spot where Angelina was darting in. The Brazilian met the ball just as it hit the ground, striking it beyond the reach of Kingsbury and into the corner to give the Pride the 1-0 lead.

“It was a good play because I made an effort to make that play,” Banda said about her assist.
“And I think definitely my teammates were aware that maybe I ought to put a cross, which definitely I did and it was so amazing.”

“It’s a great ball from Barbara to Ang,” Hines added. “And it was a great finish.”

The Spirit immediately went forward after the restart, looking to take back control of the game. Sarr got a shot off in traffic, but it was blocked. The rebound went right to Sullivan and the defensive midfielder fired from long distance, sending it well over the target.

Rodman had been quiet after the Pride goal, but made a good run in the 36th minute that included a give-and-go with Croix Bethune. Rodman sent a cross for Bethune that was intercepted by Angelina. However, Hershfelt took possession and shot from outside of the box, sending the ball wide.

In the 38th minute, chaos in the Spirit box nearly resulted in a second goal for the Pride. It started when Annaig Butel beat Banda to the ball and knocked it out for a corner kick. The ensuing set piece was just over the fingers of Kingsbury and landed at Abello with her back to goal. Unfortunately, she didn’t have room to turn, dropping it to McCutcheon at the top of the box instead. McCutcheon’s shot was blocked by Hershfelt, but Yates sent the ball back into the box and, after bouncing around some more, ended up with Banda, who got a shot off. However, her attempt was just over the crossbar.

Shortly after the Pride narrowly missed out on doubling their lead, Washington found its equalizer. Sams lost the ball near midfield to Bethune, who quickly played it forward for Sarr. Rafaelle slid in an attempt to intercept the pass, but missed and Sarr was in on goal. Moorhouse looked indecisive about coming out, enabling Sarr to chip the goalkeeper and even the game at 1-1.

A minute later, the Spirit had a chance to take the lead when Rodman sent Bethune behind the Pride defense on the right. The midfielder opened up her body in an attempt to curl the ball inside the far post, but it was too close to Moorhouse, who was able to catch the attempt.

In the 43rd minute, Sullivan sent the ball forward for Sarr, who was defended by McCutcheon. Entering the box, McCutcheon attempted a tackle that resulted in Sarr going to the ground as she sent the ball across the goal mouth. After a check by the video assistant referee, Rebecca Pagan went to the monitor to check for a potential penalty, but determined the play was offside.

That was the final chance for either team as the game went into halftime even at 1-1. After 45 minutes of play, Washington had more possession (56%-44%), shots (7-5), and shots on target (5-4), and better passing accuracy (79%-76%). The Pride had more crosses (5-4), and both teams took one corner kick.

“First half, it was real quiet and we kind of let the crowd take over. But in the locker room we were like, we’ve got to talk, we’ve got to demand more of each other,” Doyle said about the mood at halftime. “We’ve got to throw in some tackles. I think we’re just, including myself, being way too soft first half.”

It didn’t take long for the Pride to strike in the second half. In the 49th minute, Martinez sent a cross into the box that went just over the head of Yates. Abello recovered the ball on the far side and attempted a cross, but Gabby Carle blocked it out of play.

The ensuing corner kick by Yates was to the near post where it found Doyle. The midfielder flicked it on for Banda who headed the ball in for her first NWSL goal and gave the Pride a 2-1 lead.

“Actually, I didn’t expect it,” Banda said about her goal. “But I think it went according to the plan from training because I think I took the position I was told to pick and I definitely picked that spot and I put the ball in the back of the net.”

“It’s something we’ve been working on in practice and it was working,” Doyle said about the play designed on the training field. “Summer said she meant to play me the ball near post. She saw that I was wide open and I know I just got to flick it in into the squad and I was just so happy for Barbara to finish that because that wasn’t an easy finish and she made it look easy.”

Yates nearly had a goal of her own in the 53rd minute when Angelina sent a dangerous cross into the box. The second-year midfielder made a great run through three defenders, but the cross was too close to Kingsbury, who grabbed it.

A minute later, the Pride had an even better chance when they won a penalty. It started when a poor clearance was won by Yates in the box. Her first touch was controlled by Banda, who took a dribble to beat Butel. The center back attempted a clumsy challenge, taking the forward down. Pagan didn’t hesitate to point to the spot, giving the Pride an excellent chance to take a two-goal lead.

Angelina initially held the ball near penalty spot, but handed it off to Yates to take the kick. Despite her youth, Yates was very confident, sending Kingsbury the wrong way and putting a strong shot into the left corner to give her team a commanding 3-1 lead.

Up two goals, Hines made his first change of the game in the 64th minute. After another excellent performance, Yates was replaced by forward Ally Watt.

In the 65th minute, the Spirit got one back, though not really through their own efforts. Hatch, a regular starter that came on at halftime, sent a long, looping shot towards the far post. It was an easy play for Moorhouse and the goalkeeper should’ve caught the ball. But it went right through her hands and into the far side of the goal, cutting the deficit in half.

Rodman had a chance to equalize in the 68th minute when she received the ball on the right from Casey Krueger. The attacker dribbled inside against McCutcheon, who didn’t close her down, and got a shot off. However, Sams did well to come over and block the shot over the goal.

In the 74th minute, Doyle found Banda on the left. The forward beat substitute Anna Heilferty and sent a cross across the mouth of the goal, but nobody in orange was there to get on the end of it. Watt initially won possession and lost it to Krueger. However, she quickly won it back and played it to Doyle, who immediately laid it off for Banda. The striker sent another ball towards goal but right to Kingsbury.

Hines made two more changes in the 81st minute and they were defensive ones. Defenders Carrie Lawrence and Cori Dyke replaced midfielders Angelina and Doyle. It was Dyke’s professional debut and Lawrence’s first appearance since tearing her ACL prior to the 2023 NWSL season.

“Carrie’s one of the longest serving players here and it’s a big moment for her,” Hines said after the game. “I know she’s gone through a lot all of last year missing out, watching the team go out there and perform, and just biding her time, being patient. And we felt today was the right moment for her to come on and make a difference. And it’s a big moment for her. We’re super proud of her and it takes a lot of dedication to put yourself in that position. So yeah, we’re pleased with her and also there’s Cori Dyke getting her debut as well, because I know she’s been patiently waiting for a moment and her opportunity.”

As the clock ticked past 90 minutes, a Pride corner kick was cleared out. Rodman sprinted out on the break, chased down by Martinez. The defender grabbed at her and Rodman went down. Since Martinez was playing on a yellow, Pagan took her time to consider her decision, but eventually pulled out the card. The second booking for Martinez meant the Pride were down to 10 players for the 11 minutes of stoppage time.

Hines made his final change in the sixth minute of stoppage time. It was a defensive move as left back Celia came into the game, replacing Abello.

The Spirit nearly found an equalizer in the seventh minute, when Hatch hit the crossbar on the half valley. The ball bounced to Metayer, who beat Sams to it, but her header was over the goal.

In the 10th minute of stoppage time, a ball into the box was flicked on by the head of Sullivan. Rodman got her head onto it and put it on goal, but couldn’t get much on the attempt, enabling Moorhouse to make the easy stop.

It was a long time to hold onto a one-goal lead with 10 players and they almost conceded an equalizer, but the final whistle gave the Pride a 3-2 win.

“I trust them. They’ve been through enough scenarios like that,” Hines said about holding onto the one-goal lead with 10 players. “It’s a mentality. You have to embrace it. You have to take the bull by its horns, it’s coming. You know that Washington are a direct team, they’re gonna push numbers forward. They’re going to be very physical and I thought for some periods of the game, we stood up to that challenge. Certainly at the end with 10 players and your backs are against the wall and you’re having to deal with the directness and putting your body on the line and I felt the players did a terrific job in handling that.  We obviously rode our luck as well with them hitting the crossbar, but you need a little bit of luck at times as well.”

At full time, Washington had more possession (59%-41%), shots (16-9), and shots on target (11-7), and better passing accuracy (80%-69%). The Pride ended the game with more corner kicks (4-3) and crosses (16-9).

“More relief than anything,” Hines said about the result. “If we dissect the game, I thought we started, although we took the lead, I thought we started slow. We didn’t really start ourselves. We were very lethargic. I thought Washington started on the front foot, putting us under real pressure.

“I think the disappointing part from our side is that we gifted them two goals today. In this league, you can’t give teams goals because they’ll punish you. And so it’s a good reminder that we have to keep our standards high. Stick to who we are, stick to our identity. And I’m super proud of the players to not only see the game out 3-2, but with 10 players also. It shows another side to our game. So I’m super proud of them and their efforts and everything that they put into the game today.”

The Pride have now won three consecutive games, including two on the road, and are still unbeaten through the first six games this season. They’re one of three unbeaten teams (pending the Kansas City Current’s outcome) in the NWSL, along with the Current and Racing Louisville FC. It’s the team’s longest unbeaten run and winning streak since 2022.


This is the first of three games in 10 days for the Pride. They’ll return home on Wednesday night as they host the North Carolina Courage.

Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride vs. North Carolina Courage: Final score 0-0 as the Pride Remain Unbeaten

The Orlando Pride remain undefeated after taking a road point against the North Carolina Courage.

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Photo Courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

It wasn’t the result that the Orlando Pride wanted, but the team remains unbeaten in 2024 after a 0-0 draw against the North Carolina Courage at WakeMed Soccer Park. Orlando (8-0-5, 29 points) had plenty of chances but was unable to score a goal for the first time this season. The Pride were the first team this year to take any points away on the road against North Carolina (5-7-1, 16 points), which is now 5-0-1 at WakeMed Soccer Park in 2024.

The Pride had an opportunity to go top of the table as the Kansas City Current drew the Chicago Red Stars Friday, but the 0-0 draw wasn’t enough to do so. This was first time the Pride were shut out since September 9, 2023 on the road against OL Reign. Halfway through this season, the Pride are only two points shy of their point total from 2023.

“The positives are, you know, a point on the road, (which) it’s probably something we would have taken before the game,” Hines said. “No other team has done that against North Carolina. Clean sheet as well. It’s really important that we get that going as well. But, I think after the game it’s a bittersweet taste in our mouths because we thought that we played really well.”

Brianna Martinez echoed Hines’ comments.

“We’re proud to be the first team to kind of give them a tough game at home but also disappointed, because I think we know we could have beat them and walked away with three (points),” the defender said. “Our effort was there, just technically it could have been a little bit better if we kept the ball.”

Hines did not have a full-strength squad for the match, with starters Rafaelle and Morgan Gautrat out with injuries. Anna Moorhouse started in goal behind a back line of Kerry Abello, Kylie Strom, Emily Sams, and Brianna Martinez. The midfield in the 4-4-2 consisted of Adriana, Julie Doyle, Summer Yates, and Haley McCutcheon, with Barbra Banda and Marta up top.

After the start of the game was delayed due to field conditions, the Pride didn’t wait very long to get into the attack with a takeaway in the first minute, moving the ball up to Banda into the box, but she lost possession. The Pride got their first chance in the fourth minute as the ball was worked up the left side to Banda, who crossed it in to Marta , but the shot went right into the arms of Courage keeper Casey Murphy.

The Pride’s second shot on goal came in the seventh minute on a break that saw Banda once again cross the ball — this time to Doyle — who also sent it right at Murphy.

In the 14th minute, Yates tried to make her way into the box where she was stood up. The ball popped out to Banda, who took a shot from outside the box, but it went wide right of goal.

Doyle earned a free kick in the 15th minute, but the attempt went to Murphy again. In the 17th minute, the Pride had another free kick resulting in a corner kick. Unfortunately, Yates sent the ball over the goal and out for a goal kick.

The Courage were able to get some possession, including a ball into the box, but the Pride defense was able to clear. In the 26th minute, Martinez made a good interception but slipped, allowing the Courage to get a half chance off that was easily saved by Moorhouse.

In the 29th minute, Marta took a long-distance shot that sailed over the goal. The Pride followed that up a minute later with another shot that bounced back to Adriana, who headed it right to Murphy. In the 32nd minute, Adriana made her way into the box and crossed for Marta on the back post, but her header went wide left.

The Courage got their first good chance in the 33rd minute when Ashley Sanchez beat Martinez to the ball in the box, but Moorhouse did well to come out, get big, and make the save. The resulting corner kick was headed out by the Courage for a goal kick.

The Courage got behind the Pride defense in the 38th minute. Sanchez took a shot at the top of the box, but it sailed high. One minute later, Narumi Miura took a long-distance shot that went left of goal.

In the 42nd minute, Marta took another shot on goal from outside the box, but again it went right to Murphy. After that, both teams saw out the half with no stoppage time given.

North Carolina held the halftime edge in possession (54%-46%), shots (7-6), and passing accuracy (83%-80%). Despite one fewer shot, the Pride had more shots on target (3-2), with the corners being equal (1-1).

The Courage came out on the front foot to start the second half, but it was the Pride that got the first shot. Once again, Banda muscled her way into the box, but she was unable to get the shot off. The ball bounced out to Marta at the top of the box, but her shot went wide right.

In the 48th minute, Banda again made her way forward, this time earning a free kick when she was fouled from behind. The kick went into the wall and then out for a corner kick. Unfortunately, there was a foul in the box on the set piece and the opportunity went to waste.

The Courage had a few opportunities in the 55th minute, but nothing on goal. In the 58th minute, Moorhouse came out to make a sliding save where a Courage player rammed her. There was no foul called on the play, and the Courage continued the attack. Fortunately, Sams and the rest of the defense kept the Courage out of goal. After some attention from the trainers, Moorhouse continued.

In the 67th minute, Abello earned a corner that was taken by Marta, but nothing came of it. Two minutes later, Doyle made her way into the box and crossed to Adriana, but her shot didn’t have much on it and was handled easily by Murphy.

In the 72nd minute Adriana took a shot that deflected off the defense and out for a corner. The resulting corner kick was cleared. Two minutes later, Hines makes his first substitutions, including Angelina returning from injury.

“I just want to thank the staff and my teammates. They were there for me the whole way,” Angelina said. “It was like five weeks to get back on the field. I just feel great (and) they gave me great support through my injury.”

In the 77th minute, McCutcheon committed a foul resulting in a free kick for Carolina. Moorhouse punched the ball out. The Courage continued to create trouble in the Pride’s area, but were unable to convert.

Banda took another shot in the 80th minute, but it went wide right. Five minutes later she sent a cross to Adriana, but the Brazilian’s shot was blocked. The resulting corner amounted to nothing, despite a few shot attempts. Banda made another run in the 88th minute, but her shot attempt went high. She was subbed out in the 89th minute for Amanda Allen.

In the second minute of stoppage time, Marta took another shot that was deflected out for a corner. The video assistant referee took a look at the play for a potential handball, but it was cleared. Murphy collected the corner kick, as the Pride wasted another chance.

Six minutes of stoppage time turned into nine minutes. The Pride had a flurry of chances but didn’t score. In the last minute of play the Courage earned a corner, but Moorhouse made one more save as time expired, and the teams split the points.

The Pride made up ground on the stat sheet, finishing with the advantage in possession (51%-49%), shots (19-14), corners (6-2), and passing accuracy (80%-77%). Shots on target were even (5-5).

The lack of clinical finishing is not normal for this Pride team. Even Banda wasn’t dialed in against the Courage. Given how stingy the Courage are at home, and how back and forth the match was, a point on the road is acceptable if not ideal.


The Pride are back home on Friday to host the Utah Royals at Inter&Co Stadium.

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Orlando Pride vs. North Carolina Courage: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, Match Thread, and More

The Pride wrap up their two-game road trip with a visit to the North Carolina Courage.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride (8-0-4, 28 points) conclude their two-game road trip tonight against the North Carolina Courage (5-7-0, 15 points) in Cary, NC. This is the second and final time the two teams will face off during the 2024 NWSL regular season, although they will meet in the group stage of the Summer Cup.

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

History

The Pride and Courage have played 24 times since the Western New York Flash moved to North Carolina and became the Courage in 2017. The Pride are 6-13-5 in those games (6-10-1 in the NWSL regular season, 0-0-2 in the Fall Series, and 0-3-2 in the NWSL Challenge Cup).

The most recent meeting between the two teams was on May 1 in Orlando. Barbra Banda and Ally Watt started up top together for the first time, a move that paid off in the game. In the 29th minute, Banda set up Watt for the opener. Watt repaid the favor in the 40th minute as the Pride went up 2-0. Julie Doyle added a goal just before halftime, giving the Pride a commanding lead. Emily Sams’ own goal was the only scoring for the Courage and Banda’s second of the night gave the Pride a 4-1 win.

The first game between the Pride and Courage in 2023 was on April 19 in Orlando. The Pride took the lead after halftime when Summer Yates set up Watt for the opening goal, but Denise O’Sullivan equalized in the ninth minute of second-half injury time, resulting in a 1-1 draw. On June 17 in North Carolina it was all Courage. Kerolin and Meredith Speck gave the hosts a 2-0 lead before a Haley McCutcheon own goal made it 3-0 to North Carolina.

The Pride didn’t show up for the July 29 Challenge Cup contest in North Carolina, getting demolished by the Courage. Brittany Ratcliffe and Malia Berkely gave the hosts a 2-0 halftime lead before Frankie Tagliaferri made it three, and a late brace by Haley Hopkins completed the 5-0 result. The Pride finally got a win on Sept. 17, 2023 at home. Watt got the Pride off to a great start, scoring inside the first minute. After assisting on the first goal, Adriana doubled the lead before halftime. Manaka Matsukubo got one back for the visitors, but it wasn’t enough and the Pride won 2-1.

The first meeting in 2022 came on May 18 in North Carolina. The Pride got off to a great start in that game, with Sydney Leroux scoring early. Mikayla Cluff doubled the lead with her first professional goal. A late goal by Brianna Pinto got the Courage back within one, but it wasn’t enough as the Pride took the 2-1 win. On Sept. 21, 2022 at Exploria Stadium, it was the Courage that got off to the better start when Debinha scored in the second minute. The Brazilian then assisted Tess Boade in first-half injury time to double the lead, and later added another, dooming the Pride to a 3-0 defeat.

The Pride and Courage were placed in the same division for the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup, so the teams played twice before the regular season started. The first game was on March 26 in North Carolina. Merritt Mathias converted a penalty after Gunny Jonsdottir was called for a handball in the box, lifting the hosts to a 1-0 win. The return match in the tournament took place on April 16 in Orlando. The Courage got off to a fast start, scoring three goals in the first nine minutes. Darian Jenkins netted a brace to make it 3-2, but a late Debinha goal put the game away and North Carolina won 4-2.

The teams played three times during the 2021 NWSL season. On May 22 in North Carolina, goals by Leroux and Alex Morgan gave the Pride a 2-0 lead late into the game. Jessica McDonald scored late to pull one back but the Pride held on for a 2-1 win. On July 4 in Orlando, Debinha and Havana Solaun goals helped the Courage take home a 2-0 win. The final game came on July 31 in North Carolina. Leroux opened the scoring but Brittany Ratcliffe equalized moments later and the teams drew 1-1.

The two teams were also matched up in the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup but they only played once in that tournament. Neither team was able to find the back of the net in that game in a scoreless draw.

Similar to the Challenge Cup, the teams were in the same group of the 2020 Fall Series, meeting twice. The first was on Sept. 19 in North Carolina and ended in a scoreless draw. The second was on Oct. 17 at Exploria Stadium. Led by a Debinha brace, the Courage went up 3-0. But the Pride came back with goals by Marisa Viggiano, Kristen Edmonds, and Ally Haran for an exciting 3-3 draw.

The Pride and Courage played three times during the 2019 season. The first game was on April 17 in North Carolina. The Courage took a 1-0 lead into halftime but scored four times in the second half to win 5-0. They played a second time on June 1 in Orlando. Again, it was a dominant performance by the Courage as the Pride fell 3-0. The final meeting that year was another thrashing by North Carolina. The Pride got a goal in that one but still fell 6-1.

The teams also met three times in 2018 but the results were much closer. On May 23 in Orlando, goals by Alanna Kennedy and Rachel Hill saw the Pride come back from a 3-1 deficit. But McDonald scored a winner in the 90th minute and the Courage won 4-3. The Pride went down by three goals in the final two games that season, but were unable to come back and fell 3-0 in both contests.

The 2017 season saw the teams meet for the first time. The Courage took the first game 3-1 on April 29 in North Carolina. They played a second time two weeks later in Orlando when the Pride took the 3-1 win. The final meeting in 2017 came in the final game of the season on Sept. 30. The Pride took a 2-0 lead but the Courage came back to even it at 2-2. It looked headed for a draw until Kennedy netted a late winner, leading the Pride to a 3-2 win.

Overview

The Pride are coming off a hard-fought 1-1 draw in San Diego, a result that snapped their eight-game winning streak. Julie Doyle opened the scoring in the first half with arguably the goal of the season, but the visitors equalized through Makenzy Doniak in the 62nd minute. Despite ending their winning streak, the draw extended the Pride’s unbeaten run to 12 games and kept them tied on points with the Kansas City Current atop the NWSL standings.

Banda has been the most impressive player for the Pride this season, scoring eight goals, recording three assists, and drawing two penalties in eight games. She added to her assist tally in San Diego, setting up Doyle’s first-half goal. The team has also been strong defensively and Head Coach Seb Hines has found his preferred back four. After shifting players around because of injuries and suspensions, he’s used Sams, Rafaelle, Kylie Strom, and Kerry Abello in five of the last six games. However, Rafaelle missed the San Diego contest and is out tonight with a leg injury.

The Courage have historically been one of the best teams in the NWSL, but have struggled this season. They’re currently tied with Racing Louisville for seventh in the league and have a -2 goal differential. They’re in the middle of the league in both goals scored and goals conceded, unsurprisingly leaving them in the middle of the table.

North Carolina has been led offensively by the players you’d expect. Tyler Lussi has a team-leading three goals, just ahead of Bianca St-Georges and Haley Hopkins, who have two each. Dani Weatherholt, Ashley Sanchez, Brianna Pinto, Kaleigh Kurtz, and Malia Berkely have all added one as well. The only player with multiple assists this year is Sanchez, the team’s primary playmaker. The U.S. international will likely cause the most problems for the Pride back line, making stopping her essential.

The Courage haven’t been bad in most games defensively this season. Other than the 4-1 loss to the Pride, the only time they’ve conceded more than two goals was in a 3-0 loss to the Houston Dash on May 24. However, they bounced back on June 8, only losing 1-0 to the Portland Thorns. They started the season with a four-person back line, but have recently switched to three in front of starting goalkeeper Casey Murphy, so it will be interesting to see how they line up tonight.

While the Courage have gotten off to a disappointing start, they’ve been excellent at home. The team has yet to drop points at WakeMed Soccer Park, winning all of their first five games, including a 2-0 win over the Thorns on April 13. Their home form will make winning a difficult task for the Pride.

“Results from them has shown that it’s a tough place to go and get points. They’re unbeaten, they’ve won every game there, and we expect nothing less than a tough game,” Hines said about the Courage. “So we’ll go out there, we’ll give everything like we have done in every game. We want to bounce back from almost a disappointing result away at San Diego. We know we can play better than that and so we’ll be going in there and looking for a win.”

Angelina (knee) isn’t listed on the injury report this week for the first time since her injury, but Morgan Gautrat (concussion) and Rafaelle (leg) have been added to players out. They’re joined by Celia (hip), Simone Charley (leg), Luana (illness), Megan Montefusco (heel), and Viviana Villacorta (knee). North Carolina will be without Sydney Collins (ankle), Estelle Johnson (maternity leave), Kerolin Nicoli (knee), Olivia Wingate (leg), and Ryan Williams (suspension), while Matsukubo (lower leg) and Dani Weatherholt (leg) are questionable.


Official Lineups

Orlando Pride (4-4-2)

Goalkeeper: Anna Moorhouse.

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

Midfielders: Adriana, Summer Yates, Haley McCutcheon, Julie Doyle.

Forwards: Barbra Banda, Marta.

Bench: McKinley Crone, Cori Dyke, Carrie Lawrence, Ally Lemos, Angelina, Amanda Allen, Mariana Larroquette, Alex Kerr, Ally Watt.

North Carolina Courage (3-4-3)

Goalkeeper: Casey Murphy.

Defenders: Felicitas Rauch, Malia Berkely, Kaleigh Kurtz.

Midfielders: Victoria Pickett, Denise O’Sullivan, Narumi Miura, Bianca St-Georges.

Forwards: Tyler Lussi, Haley Hopkins, Ashley Sanchez.

Bench: Marisa Bova, Julia Dorsey, Natalia Staude, Jenna Winebrenner, Riley Jackson, Maya McCutcheon, Landy Mertz, Brianna Pinto, Meredith Speck.

Referees

REF: JC Griggs.
AR1: Nicholas Seymour.
AR2: Tiffini Turpin.
4TH: John Rush.
VAR: Alejandro Mariscal.
AVAR: Tom Felice.


How to Watch

Match Time: 7:30 p.m.

Venue: WakeMed Soccer Park — Cary, NC.

TV: Bally Sports Florida.

Streaming: NWSL+.

Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, follow @SkoPurpSoccer, the official Twitter account of our Orlando Pride podcast (The Mane Land’s main account will be providing updates on Orlando City’s match), and the Orlando Pride’s official Twitter feed (@ORLPride).


Enjoy the match. Go Pride!

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Orlando Pride at North Carolina Courage: Three Keys to Victory

What do the Pride have to do to earn a victory against the Courage?

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Mark Thor

The Orlando Pride head north to take on the North Carolina Courage Saturday night at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC. The Pride will look to extend their season-long unbeaten streak and start another win streak against the Courage. A victory might put the Pride back on top of the NWSL table.

What do the Pride have to do to earn all three points on the road?

Shut Down the Courage

Barbra Banda might have more goals than North Carolina’s Tyler Lussi and Bianca St-Georges combined, but that doesn’t mean the two players are not a threat to score. This season, Lussi and St-Georges have three goals and two goals, respectively, accounting for five of Carolina’s 13 goals. Keeping those two in check is imperative to secure a victory.

Doing so will require the Pride defense to be effective when passing out of the back. The bad habit of dribbling into the opposition, or making poorly weighted passes in their own third needs to stop. If the Pride can improve the passing out of the back while maintaining their otherwise solid defense, the club can limit Carolina’s chances.

More Better Moorhouse

Anna Moorhouse is a pretty good shot stopper, but I still hold my breath on crosses and corner kicks. Moorhouse had a pretty good match against the San Diego Wave, and she needs to improve on that performance. She has faced 43 shots on goal with 32 saves and 11 goals allowed. That the number of shots is so low is a testament to the defense in front of her. Moorhouse has the physical tools needed, now she just needs to fine tune her decision-making and put a little stickum on the keeper gloves. If she can continue to build on that last performance on Saturday against Carolina, the Pride will have a good shot at continuing the unbeaten streak.

Help Banda to Help You

Even when teams try to stop Banda by putting multiple players on her, it’s never completely effective. However, if Banda’s teammates can create some space and some chances on their own, that will draw defenders from Banda, allowing her to be more dangerous. As such, it is important to players like Adriana, Marta, Ally Watt, Julie Doyle, and Summer Yates to do more on their own. Teams are worried about Banda and will defend accordingly. Now, the Pride just need to make them pay for doing so.


That is what I will be looking for Saturday night. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Vamos Orlando!

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