A smart touch from Marta in the 74th minute appeared to provide a much-needed three points for Orlando Pride. But an equalizer 10 minutes later from a set piece drew FC Kansas City even after Erika Tymrak found the back of the net following two saves from Orlando goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris. That late goal erased two of those three points as the teams drew 1-1 Sunday at Swope Park in Kansas City.
The Pride (0-2-2, 2 points) were unable to snap a three-game winless streak to start the season despite the Brazilian’s first goal of the season. Orlando is winless in 12 games now, dating back to last July 10, when the Pride beat the Boston Breakers at home, 2-1. The draw was Orlando’s first point against FC Kansas City (1-2-1, 4 points), after dropping both meetings last year.
In the first half, Orlando maintained the position of using Marta to attack from the right side. Pressuring from midfield allowed the Pride to maintain much of the possession during the latter half of the first, stifling any attack attempted by FCKC.
LaBonta provided an offense spark early in the first half for FC Kansas City taking a shot right at goal, only to see the ball go just wide at the 10-minute mark.
Marta attempted an answer in the 15th minute, maneuvering through a pair of FCKC defenders, but her attempted cross was deflected out by Yael Averbuch. The Brazilian had another attempt in the 20th minute, but Barnhart collapsed on the attempt.
FC Kansas City had a pair of strong attempts as Leroux had the best attempt at the 22-minute mark but failed to make a turn to put a strong shot on goal. In the 27th minute, Christina Gibbons tried to connect with Shea Groom, but the pass sailed wide and out of bounds.
Pressley had a look in the box in the 37th minute, but failed to put any strength on the attempt, leaving an easy pick-up for Barnhart.
Orlando controlled possession for most of the second half — 54% to 46% — and had some early chances at goal in the half, including an attempt from Toni Pressley — making her first start of the season — who took a back-heel approach to a glancing header that was easily scooped up by Nicole Barnhart at in the 55th minute.
Groom was forced to make a diving header to place a Marta ball out of bounds a minute later as the Pride maintained their offensive pressure.
56' @sheabayy2 with a diving header on defense for @FCKansasCity. #KCvORL 0-0 pic.twitter.com/AlsesBxcKZ— NWSL (@NWSL) May 7, 2017
Marta and Kreiger had chances in the 59th minute. Marta took a cross but overplayed the ball, but Kreiger was there and powered a shot just over the top bar. Spencer took a side-foot pass from Krieger across to Dani Weatherholt who sailed an attempt wide of goal.
59' | Kriegs giving the ball the boot but just over the bar.— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) May 7, 2017
0-0 | #KCvORL pic.twitter.com/v8ECbMzKUq
Harris was tested minutes later, pushing away back-to-back shots from Sydney Leroux and Lo’Eau LaBonta in the 67th minute.
67' @Ashlyn_Harris with a double-save for the @ORLPride. Save(s) of the Week, perhaps? #KCvORL 0-0 pic.twitter.com/4omp3va8kz— NWSL (@NWSL) May 7, 2017
Marta finally found the breakthrough in the 74th, off a brief touch from substitute Jasmyne Spencer, following a steal at midfield from Kristen Edmonds.
Gotta love this. #FilledWithPride pic.twitter.com/a0pNygSRaE— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) May 7, 2017
Referee Marco Vegaar spotted some kind of infraction and awarded the free kick that led to the equalizer for FCKC. See if you can spot the foul, which was given outside the box:
Here is the "foul" that led to the FCKC freekick and eventual goal. It must be for something with Leroux based on the spot. #KCvORL pic.twitter.com/1gKycRGPtO— Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) May 8, 2017
Following the equalizer, the Pride controlled the bulk of play but couldn’t find a winning goal over the last six minutes, plus five more minutes of injury time.
Next up, the Pride will return home on Sunday, May 14, when they will host league-leading North Carolina Courage. The Courage (4-0-0, 12 points) topped Boston on the road, 1-0 Sunday and already own a 3-1 win over the Pride this season.