Welcome to your match thread for tonight’s match-up between the Orlando Pride (1-2-3, 6 points) and Sky Blue FC (3-3-1, 10 points). This is the first of three scheduled meetings between the two sides this season. The Pride return to New Jersey on Wednesday, June 28 at 7 p.m. Sky Blue visits Orlando City Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 12 at 4 p.m.
The Pride is coming off a 1-1 draw at Seattle Reign FC last Sunday night, making it three straight games without a loss (1-0-2). Now, Orlando gets the league’s third-place team (entering the weekend) at their place in the fifth of seven matches so far this season away from Orlando City Stadium. Thanks again, schedule makers.
Orlando is 0-1-1 against Sky Blue FC, playing a home-and-home series three days apart last season. The Pride earned their first ever draw in a 1-1 deadlock on the road in this fixture last year on Sept. 7, 2016. Alex Morgan scored 22 minutes in and Ashlyn Harris defended the net heroically but Samantha Kerr equalized less than 10 minutes from the whistle.
On Sept. 10, Sky Blue captured a 2-1 comeback win at Camping World Stadium in the rematch. Just before the half, Kristen Edmonds broke the scoreless draw with a gorgeous free kick goal. But the Pride couldn’t find a second goal, and Kerr and Maya Hayes beat Harris to fuel the comeback.
Sky Blue is coming off a 2-0 loss Wednesday night at North Carolina and it could have been worse if not for Kailen Sheridan’s team record 11 saves. With two games during the week, Sky Blue Head Coach Christy Holly attempted to rotate the squad a bit, starting top players like Kerr and Raquel Rodriguez on the bench. Both subbed on after halftime but they should be fresh and ready to go tonight.
Orlando’s Monica (bone bruise) is cleared to play in tonight’s match. The NWSL injury report lists Chioma Ubogagu (hamstring) as doubtful and Alanna Kennedy (hip flexor) as questionable. Sky Blue FC lists Tasha Kai (off-season ankle surgery) and Kelley O’Hara (gluteus medius strain) as out on the injury report.
Aubrey Bledsoe has recovered from her concussion and either she or Caroline Stanley will be in net against their old team. Stanley started in 11 games for Sky Blue last season, and Bledsoe was selected from the club in the NWSL Expansion Draft.
“Sky Blue is a young, quick team with talented attackers like Sam Kerr, Raquel Rodriguez and Sarah Killion but are also anchored by a strong, veteran defender in the back in Christie Pearce,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “It’s been a busy start of the season with our travel, but we’re heading into Saturday looking to close out the game and come home with all three points.”
Orlando Pride (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Aubrey Bledsoe.
Midfielders: Camila, Dani Weatherholt, Kristen Edmonds.
Forwards: Jasmyne Spencer, Jamia Fields, Marta.
Bench: Caroline Stanley, Laura Alleway, Christina Burkenroad, Maddy Evans, Danica Evans, Monica, Nickolette Driesse.
Sky Blue FC (4-4-2)
Goalkeeper: Kailen Sheridan.
Defenders: Erin Simon, Mandy Freeman, Christie Pearce, Erica Skroski.
Midfielders: Madison Tiernan, Sarah Killion, Raquel Rodriguez, Samantha Kerr.
Forwards: Maya Hayes, Daphne Corboz.
Bench: Caroline Casey, Kayla Mills, McKenzie Meehan, Nikki Stanton, Taylor Lytle, Leah Galton, Dominique Richardson.
Ref: Robi Hullner.
AR1: John Krill.
AR2: Ben Pilgrim.
4th: Amber O'Connor.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7 p.m. (ET).
Venue: Yurcak Field — Piscataway, NJ.
Streaming: go90.com, go90 iOS and Android app (in the U.S.), NWSLSoccer.com or the NWSL app (outside the U.S.).
Twitter: For live updates, follow along at the Orlando Pride’s official Twitter feed (@ORLPride) and despite the busy triple game night we’ll try to provide some updates on The Mane Land’s Twitter (@TheManeLand).
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