Welcome to your match thread for tonight’s match-up between the Orlando Pride (6-6-5, 23 points) and Sky Blue FC (7-8-2, 23 points). This is the third and final of three scheduled meetings between the two sides this season. The teams have split the first two games of the season set — both in New Jersey.
Orlando is 1-2-1 against Sky Blue FC in the all-time series, falling 2-1 on May 27 in the first trip to New Jersey. Jasmyne Spencer gave the Pride an early lead, but Sam Kerr and Maya Hayes brought Sky Blue back to claim all three points. The Pride came from behind to win the second meeting, 3-2, on June 28. Chioma Ubogagu had given the Pride the early lead, only to see Kelley O’Hara equalize at the death of the first half on a penalty. Sam Kerr then scored a jaw-dropping goal in the first minute after the break for Sky Blue, but Marta and Rachel Hill brought Orlando back to score their first ever win in the series.
Last year, the two clubs played 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 on Sept. 7, 2016. Alex Morgan scored 22 minutes in and Ashlyn Harris defended the net heroically but 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 Hayes — there are those names again — beat Harris to fuel the comeback.
The Pride is coming off a 3-0 win over the Washington Spirit on Tuesday, powered by goals from Marta, Camila, and Alex Morgan. Sky Blue has been off since Friday, Aug. 4, when the same Spirit team won at New Jersey, 4-1. Sky Blue was without league MVP favorite Kerr in that match.
The two teams entered the weekend tied on 23 points for fifth place, just one point behind Seattle Reign FC in the final NWSL playoff position. The Reign host the first-place North Carolina Courage on Sunday.
Sky Blue is led by Kerr, who is having a phenomenal year both for club and country. Her 11 goals is second in the league to Seattle’s Megan Rapinoe, and the Australian international has added three assists on the season, while Sky Blue teammate Sarah Killion is tied for fifth in the league with five goals.
“[Sam Kerr] has been absolutely on fire this year and almost unplayable at times,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “She’s the key [for Sky Blue]. If we can keep her quiet then I think the quality that we have in this squad is one that will score goals and create chances. If I look over the last few games, I think we’re starting to get a much better level of consistency and continuity so hopefully we’re getting things together at the right time.”
Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris should finally be available for Orlando, coming off the injured list this week, however, rookie forward Rachel Hill (ankle) is out. Sky Blue FC lists Leah Galton (back strain), Kelley O’Hara (adductor strain), and Erin Simon (foot fracture) as out; Mandy Freeman (ankle sprain) and Kerr (hip contusion) as questionable; and Kailen Sheridan (ankle sprain) as probable.
Tonight’s match will be Maddy Evans’ final game with Orlando Pride, as the midfielder announced her retirement yesterday to pursue a job opportunity in Pennsylvania.
Orlando Pride (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Ashlyn Harris.
Defenders: Steph Catley, Ali Krieger, Monica, Kristen Edmonds.
Defensive Midfielders: Alanna Kennedy, Dani Weatherholt.
Attacking Midfielders: Marta, Camila, Jasmyne Spencer.
Forwards: Alex Morgan.
Bench: Aubrey Bledsoe, Maddy Evans, Toni Pressley, Danica Evans, Nickolette Driesse, Jamia Fields, Chioma Ubogagu.
Sky Blue FC (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Kailen Sheridan.
Defenders: Nikki Stanton, Christie Pearce, Mandy Freeman, Erica Skroski.
Midfielders: Sarah Killion, Madison Tiernan, Raquel Rodriguez.
Forwards: McKenzie Meehan, Samantha Kerr, Taylor Lytle.
Bench: Caroline Casey, Natasha Kai, Kayla Mills, Dominique Richardson, Daphne Corboz, Maya Hayes.
Ref: Elvis Osmanovic.
AR1: Benjamin Wooten.
AR2: Ian McKay.
4th: Erika Barahona.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 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.).
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).
Match Thread Rules
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