Coming off a disappointing result up in New Jersey, the Pride found themselves back to their winning ways, securing a 2-0 victory over the Boston Breakers at home.
Marta’s penalty in the eighth minute and Jasmyne Spencer’s tap-in in the 13th minute sealed all three points as the Pride (2-3-3, 9 points) get their second win at home this year, improving to 2-0-1 at Orlando City Stadium. Boston (2-4-2, 8 points) continue their rough form as of late, having gone winless in their last five games, including tonight.
The win meant the Pride move up in the standings to seventh, while the Breakers fall to eighth.
“I was really delighted with the way we started the game tonight,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said after the match. “We started it and showed real intent and were rewarded for that by the two early goals. It was great to have a clean sheet. Can’t remember exactly when we had one of those before. It’s been some time. And our first ever penalty after 28 games in the league. Things are looking up.”
The Pride came out with a different lineup. Kristen Edmonds lined up as a fullback, Monica and Alanna Kennedy moved into the midfield, and Rachel Hill got her first start as a pro.
Your Starting XI tonight against the @BostonBreakers. Kickoff at 7:30pm ET on @go90Zone. pic.twitter.com/ACBYRVI2do— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) June 3, 2017
Throughout most of the match and especially in the first 20 minutes, Orlando dominated the game. As the rain began to come down, Orlando pushed forward and got some good chances on the counter attack.
In the eighth minute, Orlando struck off a counter. Boston’s Tiffany Weimer passed the ball right to Spencer, who took it from midfield on the break. With Marta running with her, Spencer threaded a pass between the last two Breakers defenders and Marta was able to get on the ball, before getting taken down by Boston keeper Abby Smith, for the first penalty in Orlando Pride history. Marta then slotted it past Smith for her first goal at home and her third this season.
8' Marta converts the penalty with a left-footed shot for her 3rd goal of the season and @ORLPride's 1st goal tonight. #ORLvBOS pic.twitter.com/7LiTHJzYv8— NWSL (@NWSL) June 3, 2017
Just five minutes later, the Pride struck again. After Camila got free on the left wing, she drove forward into the attack, crossing a low ball into the box. Spencer was right in the six waiting for it and and calmly tapped it into the goal for the 2-0 lead. That marked Spencer’s third goal on the season and Camila’s third assist.
13' @Jas_it_Up with a left-footed shot from the right side of the six-yard box, puts the @ORLPride up 2-0. #ORLvBOS pic.twitter.com/s32jcfW0Wz— NWSL (@NWSL) June 3, 2017
“Camila’s a great player, and she has great vision,” Spencer said on her goal. “So every time she gets on the ball, I just try and get in position because I always know that she’s going straight for goal, either for herself or looking for me or anybody else. So, yeah, I was just like, ‘Get there. Get there.’”
Orlando continued to press the attack, as the rain began to pour down harder. Hill had a chance in the 32nd minute to get her first pro goal, but Smith stonewalled her right in front of the net.
32' | What a sequence. Kennedy with the sauce, Catley with the service, and Hill almost with the plating!— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) June 4, 2017
2-0 | #ORLvBOS pic.twitter.com/J1QKlv0Lo5
Orlando had a few good possessions just before halftime, as the teams went to the locker room under torrential rain. The Pride had a 7-2 shot advantage and a 62% possession advantage after the first 45 minutes, thoroughly dominating the game.
The second half saw about as much Pride dominance as the first. Another chance for the rookie Hill came in the 56th, when she was denied again at the doorstep.
56' | The Rook is starving for a goal. We just feel it coming.— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) June 4, 2017
2-0 | #ORLvBOS pic.twitter.com/WZNsbl3itW
Keeper Aubrey Bledsoe, in her second start of the season, was occasionally tested in the match, but the defense for the Pride held firm, only allowing three shots on goal. This grab from her was probably the toughest save that she had to make all night.
75' | Easy collection for Bledsoe. Not even a little care for the Breaker forwards intentions.— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) June 4, 2017
2-0 | #ORLvBOS pic.twitter.com/g7xZCfqtLf
Through the rest of the second half, Orlando continued to press forward and attack, getting into spaces and earning corners. This set piece from Alanna Kennedy was the closest they got to scoring, with three shots on goal through the game.
82' | Corners on Corners. Kennedy might be hungry for one too from the looks of it.— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) June 4, 2017
2-0 | #ORLvBOS pic.twitter.com/QKjD8tULp5
The Pride kept their cool defensively and held on for their first shutout of the season. Orlando finished with a 55% possession edge on Boston and out-shot the Breakers on the evening, 17-8.
Up Next: Orlando will go back on the road to Houston to face the Dash on Saturday, June 17.