Welcome to your match thread for today’s match-up between the Orlando Pride (0-2-2, 2 points) and the North Carolina Courage (4-0-0, 12 points). This is the second of three scheduled meetings between the two sides this season. The Pride will will return to Cary, NC, to close the season on Saturday, Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m.
Orlando is 1-2-0 against the Western New York Flash/North Carolina Courage franchise, which relocated after winning the 2016 NWSL championship.
North Carolina took the first meeting, 3-1, just two weeks ago on April 29. Jessica McDonald opened the scoring for the Courage, only to see Camila equalize with her first NWSL goal (which was voted NWSL Goal of the Week). The game turned on a handball in the box by Laura Alleway, which led to Sam Mewis’ penalty kick goal in the 33rd minute. Lynn Williams added a third in the 70th minute to tuck the game away for North Carolina.
The Pride are the only team to score a goal against North Carolina through the first four weeks of the season. So...there’s that. Marta came close to adding another but had one cleared off the line.
As the Western New York Flash, the club split two extremely competitive matches against the Pride in 2016. On May 14 of last year, Alex Morgan scored to lead Orlando to a 1-0 win over the Flash. The Flash got their revenge with a 1-0 win of their own in the rematch in New York on June 11. Makenzy Doniak’s first career goal just three minutes into the match was all that separated the two sides on that day. Jasmyne Spencer saw a shot cleared off the line in that match by now-teammate Alanna Kennedy. So clearing it off the line is a thing with this team, apparently.
The Pride remain winless but have at least earned a point in two of the last three matches and Marta has now opened her Orlando account. Orlando is coming off a 1-1 draw at FC Kansas City after coming within just a few minutes of the club’s first win of the season. The Pride controlled most of the match but the failure to put a second goal on the board — to go along with Marta’s — hurt them. The hosts leveled in the final five minutes of normal time on a scramble following a free kick — from a dubious foul called near the top of the penalty area. Orlando players can take heart from their best defensive performance of the season to date. Hopefully the Pride can build upon what was a strong showing despite the two points dropped.
Orlando’s Monica (bone bruise) is out for today’s match. For North Carolina, Liz Eddy (hamstring), and Darian Jenkins (ankle) are out. Defender Jaelene Hinkle (hip flexor) is probable.
Orlando Pride (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Ashlyn Harris.
Midfielders: Camila, Dani Weatherholt, Kristen Edmonds.
Forwards: Marta, Jamia Fields, Chioma Ubogagu.
Bench: Aubrey Bledsoe, Laura Alleway, Christina Burkenroad, Maddy Evans, Jasmyne Spencer, Danica Evans, Nickolette Driesse.
North Carolina Courage (3-5-2)
Goalkeeper: Sabrina D’Angelo.
Midfielders: Sam Witteman, Debinha, Samantha Mewis, McCall Zerboni, Makenzy Doniak.
Forwards: Lynn Williams, Jessica McDonald.
Bench: Katelyn Rowland, Rosana, Taylor Smith, Ashley Hatch, Courtney Niemiec, Kristen Hamilton, Meredith Speck.
Ref: Jon Freemon.
AR1: TJ Zablocki.
AR2: Natalie Simon.
4th: Sam Gillispie.
How to Watch
Match Time: 5 p.m. (ET).
Venue: Orlando City Stadium — Orlando, FL.
Streaming: go90.com, go90 iOS and Android app (in the U.S.), NWSLSoccer.com or the NWSL app (outside the U.S.).
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