The Orlando Pride remain unbeaten in preseason play after a 3-0 win over Florida State at the club’s Sylvan Lake Park training grounds. Jasmyne Spencer, rookie Danica Evans, and Chioma Ubogagu all found the net as the Pride improved to 4-0-0.
This is how Head Coach Tom Sermanni lined up his team to start the match:
1' | Starters: Bledsoe; Camila, Alleway, Kennedy, Pressley; Driesse, Edmonds, Monica; Ubogagu, Evans, Spencer— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) April 1, 2017
0-0 | #FillTheBowl
The Seminoles were ready for this game. From the opening kick, they looked to put pressure on the Pride, earning the first chance of the game — a near breakaway that was handled well by the Australian defending duo of Laura Alleway and Alanna Kennedy, who forced the shot wide and out of play. The Pride seemed to appreciate the effort from their collegiate opponents as they were quick to respond with pressure of their own.
The Pride put the Seminoles on their heels for the next 20 minutes of play garnering several scoring chances and seven corner kicks. The best early scoring chance came off the head of Danica Evans, as she redirected a corner cross, but the keeper was positioned well and made the save.
Florida State showed no quit during the onslaught, however, and managed a clever counterattack after forcing a turnover deep in their own half. A well-placed volley forward resulted in a hard shot off the bar.
Orlando controlled much of the play through center for the next 10 minutes before Jasmyne Spencer broke free, carrying the ball into the box off a cross from Toni Pressley. Despite solid positioning from the defender, Spencer was able to cut in slightly and send the ball past the goalkeeper for the first score of the game.
The Pride added a second goal just before the halftime whistle, as Evans headed home a lovely cross from Kristen Edmonds. It was an absolutely beautiful goal and capped a solid half for the ladies in purple.
The score remained the same throughout the second half until the 71st minute, when Chioma Ubogagu caught the end of another pass from Pressley and slid the ball past the outstretched, diving hands of the Seminole Keeper. Ubogagu remains one of the team’s hottest goal scorers this preseason.
The 3-0 score line held for the remainder of the game.
Despite the talent disparity between the two clubs, the Seminoles really gave the Pride a good match today. A lot of pressure and absolutely no quit from the college team allowed the Pride to play their way through some real competition.
It was something Sermanni was appreciative of in his postgame remarks.
“I was very pleased Florida State came out to actually play and that was really beneficial for us,” he said.
The biggest takeaway, for me, in the game was how well the back line played together. Alleway and Kennedy held down the defense so well, they allowed Camila Pereira and Pressley to push forward into the attack without risking too much on the counter.
The results were a lot more control through the midfield and Pressley assisting on two goals. Pressley spoke with the media after the game and said she felt that her conditioning was much better this year and that was a major contributing factor to her ability to jump forward into the play, but it was the experience of the back line athletes that made those opportunities available.
It was a solid outing for the Pride as they were able to maintain composure under pressure and handle a very game Florida State team as they prepare for the opening of the regular season now just two weeks away.
The Pride finish the preseason slate on Friday at 2 p.m., hosting the U-23 USWNT at Sylvan Lake at 2 p.m. Orlando opens the NWSL season April 15 at Portland Thorns.