Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride vs. Bay FC: Final Score 1-0 as Pride Win Sixth Straight

Adriana’s penalty conversion lifts the Pride to their sixth straight win and ninth straight result.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

The Orlando Pride (6-0-3, 21 points) won their sixth straight game and claimed their ninth straight result with a 1-0 home win over NWSL newcomers Bay FC (2-7-0, 6 points). Adriana’s 32nd-minute penalty conversion was the only scoring in the game as the Pride continue their league-leading run.

Pride Head Coach Seb Hines made two changes to the team that beat Racing Louisville 1-0 Sunday night. Morgan Gautrat and Adriana re-entered the starting lineup after returning from injury and coming off the bench last weekend. They replaced Ally Lemos and Ally Watt.

The back line in front of goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse was Kerry Abello, Kylie Strom, Rafaelle, and Emily Sams. Morgan Gautrat and Haley McCutcheon were the defensive midfielders behind Julie Doyle, Adriana, and Summer Yates with Barbra Banda up top.

Despite the close scoreline, the Pride dominated this game from start to finish. Opportunities from the visitors were few and far between. While Moorhouse wasn’t challenged, Bay FC goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland had to make several key saves and finished with nine on the night.

The Pride had the first decent attack of the game in the second minute through Banda down the right. The Zambian beat her defender and sent a low cross into the middle, but only one Pride player was in the Bay FC 18, and nobody was able to get on the end of it.

Seconds later, Abello made a run to the end line and her cross was blocked out by Savy King. The ensuing set piece ended up with McCutcheon, who shot from just outside of the box, but Scarlett Camberos got in front to block it.

Banda made a run into the box from the left side in the fifth minute and was looking for Adriana near the penalty spot, but her pass was behind the attacker.

In the 15th minute, Doyle sent a cross to the top of the six-yard box, looking for Banda. Unfortunately, it was too far in front of the striker, enabling Rowland to reach it first. Banda slammed into the Bay FC goalkeeper and was called for a foul.

Deyna Castellanos recorded Bay FC’s first chance of the game and it was an ambitious one. Far from the Pride box, the midfielder attempted to beat Moorhouse over the top. However, the ball landed in her arms instead for an easy save.

The visitors had another chance in the 20th minute when Yates put a shoulder to Tess Boade and Sams finished her off with another shoulder, resulting in a free kick. The set piece was lifted into the box, but sailed over everyone and out of play.

Four minutes later, Bay FC created its best shot of the night to that point when King sent a low ball to the top of the box. It was behind Asisat Oshoala, but went directly to Racheal Kundananji. The Zambian international’s shot was right at Moorhouse, who made the easy catch.

The Pride nearly took the lead in the 28th minute when Doyle made a good run to the back post and Abello played a great ball across. However, a Bay FC foot got to it before the Pride midfielder, tapping it just beyond her reach.

The Pride maintained possession, resulting in Banda entering the box from the left side. Castellanos challenged the striker from behind, resulting in Banda going to the ground. Referee Danielle Chesky immediately pointed to the spot, awarding the Pride a penalty. Banda was down for a while after the foul and required some medical attention, but eventually got up and was able to continue.

With Banda off the field, Adriana stepped up to take the spot kick. Rowland guessed the right way, but it was a terrific penalty by the Brazilian, who put it into the corner to give the Pride a 1-0 lead.

“Well, usually when I get the ball, I just focus on concentrating for the PK. Just focusing on the ball hitting the net and me scoring that goal,” Adriana said. “So I was just thinking about that goal and to be able to score and help our team.”

Abello nearly scored an accidental goal in the 36th minute when she sent a poor cross in from the left. The ball curved towards goal and hit the crossbar, going beyond everyone in the box and enabling Bay FC to clear.

In the 37th minute, Banda was sent forward by Yates and dribbled the ball behind the Bay FC back line and into the box. Kayla Sharples did well to keep up with the speedy attacker, putting her body on her. Banda attempted to tap the ball around Rowland, but the goalkeeper was able to make the stop.

A minute later, it was Banda again making a long run into the Bay FC box. She attempted to reach the end line and send in a cross, but Emily Menges got a foot in to knock it out of play. The ensuing corner kick was headed out to Abello, who sent her shot well wide of the target.

Banda had another chance in the 45th minute when she received a short pass from Adriana. The striker attempted a long shot that was on target, but Rowland did well to tip it over the crossbar. The ensuing corner kick was headed out to Abello at the top of the box. This time, the defender used the outside of her left foot in an attempt to send it inside the post. It was also on target, but Rowland got down to tip it wide.

The Pride had a good chance in stoppage time when Abello’s initial cross was blocked, but she won it right back. The defender sent a second ball in for Gautrat outside of the six, but it was a bit behind the midfielder. As a result, she couldn’t get enough on it to challenge Rowland. That was the last chance by either team as the Pride entered halftime leading Bay FC 1-0.

The Pride dominated the first half statistically with more possession (60%-40%), shots (17-2), shots on target (12-2), corner kicks (8-0), and crosses (17-2), and better passing accuracy (84%-82%). However, Rowland had a strong first half with six saves, and some excellent ones to keep her team in the game.

Hines made one halftime substitution, replacing Doyle with Marta. It was Marta’s first appearance for the Pride since April 19, after missing the previous three games with an injury.

The Pride got the first good chance of the second half in the 50th minute when quick passing by McCutcheon and Adriana saw the Brazilian send Banda down the right. The striker was looking for Yates in the box, but the ball was a little behind the midfielder. She got her head to it, but couldn’t get a strong attempt on goal, enabling Rowland to make the stop.

In the 57th minute, Kunananji tried to make something happen for the visitors on her own. She attempted to dribble through several Pride players, but the ball was eventually cleared.

The Pride darted the other way and created a chance of their own. Banda initially tried to get behind the Bay FC defense, but her attack was halted. She found Adriana on her right, who tried a shot to the near post, but Rowland had it well covered for her seventh save of the night.

Hines made his second change and used his first substitution window in the 60th minute. After starting the last five games, Watt was on the bench for this one. The Pride had dominated chances and possession but were looking for a second goal, so Watt replaced a defensive-minded player in Gautrat.

Rowland had been sure-handed all game, but had a brief lapse in the 62nd minute on a Pride corner kick. The set piece by Yates was too close to the goalkeeper and she looked to have it covered, but the ball got through her hands. Fortunately for her, King was at the back post and headed the ball away before anyone in purple could get to it.

As the game entered the final 20 minutes, Bay FC started to create some opportunities. The visitors weren’t getting many shots off, and the ones they took weren’t threatening Moorhouse much. However, they began to push forward, holding more possession in the final third. Looking to see out the game and maintain the 1-0 lead, Hines made a pair of changes in the 74th minute. Defenders Bri Martinez and Cori Dyke came in for attackers Adriana and Yates.

In the 77th minute, the Pride created a pair of chances when Abello entered the box. Her shot was blocked, but it went back to Dyke at the top of the 18. The substitute’s second touch was a shot that was deflected out for a corner kick. The ensuing set piece by Marta didn’t cause any trouble for the visitors as they cleared the danger.

Marta caused some oohs and ahhs from the crowd in the 84th minute. McCutcheon won possession near midfield and laid it off for the captain. The Brazilian spun on the ball to split her defenders and sent Banda forward. The striker took a shot from distance, but it didn’t create much trouble for Rowland, who easily collected it.

A minute later, Marta sent Banda forward again. While the striker worked on trying to beat Menges, Sharples caught up with the play. Banda caused Menges to twist and turn, but Sharples slid in to block the shot out of play.

The Pride made their final change in the 89th minute. After her first start without a goal and failing to convert for the first time in four games, the striker was replaced by Ally Lemos. Again, it was a defensive change as the team looked to see out the result.

The only chance for either team in second-half injury time came five minutes in when Watt carried the ball to the top of the Bay FC box. She attempted a low shot towards the far post, but Rowland got down to make the save.

The Pride absolutely dominated this game with more possession (52%-48%), shots (25-6), shots on target (18-4), corner kicks (12-2), and crosses (31-12), and better passing accuracy (83%-81%). If not for some impressive goalkeeping by Rowland, the final score would likely have been more lopsided. However, Adriana’s penalty lifted the hosts to the win.

“Bay FC caused us a lot of problems in the second half,” Hines said about the game. “They started to add more numbers into their attack. The defenders did a terrific job overall of not really allowing Bay FC to create a lot of goal-scoring opportunities. But yeah, it’s a full team effort. And, you know, it’s nice to come away with another 1-0 win and three points.”

“We didn’t really know how they were going to come out. So we were kind of prepared for anything. They’ve pressed in certain games and they’ve sat back in certain games,” Strom added about the performance. “So they sat back a bit. I think we probably could have been a little more patient in our attack, but we found ways to break them.”

There are pros and cons to the fact that the Pride have won back-to-back games 1-0. On the one hand, they have two straight clean sheets and four in their last six games. It’s something that Hines and Strom say has been a team effort.

“It starts from the front and having the structure and the organization from the front and reading those triggers,” Hines said about the defensive effort. “And obviously, you talk about the midfield and then the back line and goalkeeper. You know, it’s a real togetherness to keep the ball out of the net,”

“We take so much pride in our defending and, you know, when we get these clean sheets, it’s not just the back line or the goalkeeper, it’s every single player,” Strom added. “Our forwards work so hard. Our midfielders work so hard to put some pressure on, make it predictable and make it easy for us to read the play and step in. So it’s a team effort and it feels good. That’s the main emphasis for us.”

While the recent defensive performances have been excellent, they’ve only scored a goal in each of their last two games.

“It may come down to a few (better decisions), execution in the final third, but we’re getting in the right areas,” Hines said about the lack of scoring. “We’re getting into good, positive positions. And I’d have more concern if we weren’t doing that, rather than not getting in those positions and not finding the back of the net. Listen, the goalkeeper played well today and could arguably be the player of the match. But, you know, we’ll reflect and we’ll look back and we’ll continue to work on those things.”

Despite the lack of offensive production, the Pride have now won six straight games and extended their unbeaten run to nine games to start the season. The winning streak is the longest in club history and the unbeaten run ties the team record set in 2017.

The Pride will look to continue their impressive form next Sunday when they travel to the west coast to take on Seattle Reign FC in Washington.


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