For the third consecutive week, the Orlando Pride failed to find the win column. The Pride got a goal from Camila but it wasn’t enough, as the North Carolina Courage continued their impressive start to the season with a 3-1 win at WakeMed Soccer Park. The Courage will hold onto first place in the National Women’s Soccer League for the second consecutive week.
How it Happened
It was a similar storyline for the Pride (0-2-1, 1 point) as they conceded first for the third consecutive week. Jessica McDonald tucked home a rebound for the Courage (3-0-0, 9 points) in front of goal to open the scoring in just the sixth minute.
Ashlyn Harris was very active in the opening half hour as she produced multiple saves, including two fantastic one-handed stops in the 12th and 21st minutes. Without her, the Pride could have been down a couple in the opening minutes of the first half.
The Pride found their way back into the match in the 27th minute as Camila scored a fantastic goal — the first of her NWSL career.
However, the deadlock wouldn’t last long as a hand ball was called on Laura Alleway in the box and the referee pointed straight to the spot in the 33rd minute. Sam Mewis stepped up and dispatched it to make it 2-1.
At the half, it was 2-1, as the Pride still had a chance of at least earning a point.
For most of the second half it was a similar story to the first, as both sides had chances to score. The Pride had multiple opportunities to level the match but were unable to capitalize on their chances, which included a golden opportunity for Chioma Ubogagu to score in the 63rd minute that would have leveled the match, but D’Angelo was there to make the save.
The Courage would get an important two-goal lead in the 70th minute as Lynn Williams volleyed home a stunning strike to make it 3-1. A Pride turnover in the defensive third led to the goal as Harris turned the ball over with a poor clearance.
There weren’t many quality chances for either side in the final minutes of the match as it finished 3-1.
Mistakes and Finishing
Two big mistakes led to two of the Courage's goals. The first was the hand ball and the second was poor decision making in the final third. Overall, this match could have gone differently in times of the scoreline, as finishing was poor as well. The Pride had chances but couldn’t get the ball into the back of the net.
Harris was an instrumental part of keeping the Pride in the match for as long as they were. She made a few save-of-the-week worthy stops down the stretch and showed why she is one of the best American goalkeepers.
Marta, making her first start with the Pride, was a bright spot as she found space and provided the forwards with a few dangerous crosses to work with.
She also had a chance in the 39th minute to score her first for the club but it was saved well by Sabrina D’Angelo.
The Pride were able to become the first club to score against the Courage this season, as they recorded clean sheets in their opening two matches.
Up next, the Pride will face FC Kansas City on the road next Saturday.