The Orlando Pride are nine games into their inaugural NWSL campaign and currently find themselves in fifth place in the league table. The good news for the Pride is that tonight they'll face a ninth-place Houston Dash side that has been on the wrong side of two of Orlando's four wins so far this season.
The first match-up between Orlando and Houston took place on April 23 in the final days of what was then known as the Citrus Bowl, with the Pride strolling to a 3-1 win (their first ever NWSL victory) on the strength of goals from Alex Morgan and the now departed Lianne Sanderson, along with a Houston own-goal. Dash and USWNT megastar Carli Lloyd left the match that day after only 12 minutes with an MCL sprain that has kept her out ever since, and Houston has struggled to stay afloat without its best player in the two months since.
Round two between these sides went down on May 20 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. In what is still the Pride's most recent win -- a 1-0 victory that put Orlando in second in the league table through six matches -- Kristen Edmonds came to the rescue in minute 81 with a wonderstrike from 20 yards that crossed the face of goal and pinged into the top corner off the cross bar.
The Pride will look to get back into the win column on Thursday night as they take the field at Camping World Stadium for round three vs. Houston.
Not only will the Pride hope to get back into the wins, but they'll also simply be looking to get back into the goals, as they've failed to register a score since that Edmonds bolt at Houston over a month ago. Orlando is in the midst of a three-match goalless run since that day, and will no doubt look to star striker Morgan for a little magic in that department. It will take more than Morgan, however, to get the attack kick-started, as our Logan F. Oliver detailed yesterday. Now, without Sanderson in midfield, who was Orlando's joint-top scorer along with Morgan with two goals, the Pride will need help from the likes of Sarah Hagen, Jasmyne Spencer, and Co.
Until other pieces of the Pride attack prove to be legitimate scoring threats, opposition defenses will continue to be able to smother Morgan and keep her 0.25 goals per 90 minutes from rising too quickly.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. (ET).
Venue: Camping World Stadium -- Orlando, FL.
TV: BHN -- Bright House customers can watch the game on Channel 47 (Ch. 1147 HD).
Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, follow along at @TheManeLand, as well as Orlando Pride's official Twitter feed (@ORLPride).
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