The offensive production the Orlando Pride received on Sunday was a much-needed step in the right direction as the club has struggled with finishing in the opening part of the season.
Chioma Ubogagu, Jasmyne Spencer, and Camila all found the back of the net in the Pride’s 3-1 victory over the North Carolina Courage. It was the first goal of the season for Ubogagu and Spencer, who have both had trouble finding the net in the early going. They combined for 20 shots coming into Sunday’s match, but none had found the back of the net.
Camila probably wasn’t anyone’s pick as the Pride’s leading scorer, yet the season is five matches in and she has been a pleasant surprise thus far. She gets herself involved in the play and offers another option going forward. Additionally, she is a clinical finisher as she showed on Sunday with this wonderful breakaway finish.
Bottom line, the runs were there to open up the Courage defense and get in behind for goals. This was a great showing and a real stepping stone for a club that appeared to be headed towards another disappointing season. The Courage had won their first four matches and defeated the Pride 3-1 in Week 3, but the Pride rose to the occasion and were able to compete and finish the chances they were given.
However, the team will need to win away from Orlando if they want to make a real challenge in the NWSL. Home matches were where a bulk of the points came from for the Pride in 2016, but this season they will need to take more points on the road if they hope to have a shot at reaching the playoffs. With two away matches on the horizon, they will have a chance to duplicate the offensive production we witnessed against the Courage.
Both the Seattle Reign and Sky Blue FC are beatable clubs. By breaking apart one of the best defenses in the league and defeating the best club in the National Women’s Soccer League, the Pride have now shown they can play with the best. However, the question remains if they can do it consistently and away from home?