Welcome to your match thread for tonight’s match-up between the Orlando Pride (8-6-5, 29 points) and FC Kansas City (6-8-5, 23 points). This is the third and final of three scheduled meetings between the two sides this season. The Pride are 1-2-1 in the all-time series but are 1-0-1 this season.
The Pride have won three straight games and are unbeaten in four (3-0-1) after last Saturday’s 2-1 win at Boston. FCKC is coming off an impressive 2-1 upset win at home over the Portland Thorns last weekend.
In the most recent meeting between the two teams, Orlando clobbered Kansas City at home, 4-1, to get its first victory in the series. Red-hot Alex Morgan, who has six goals in her last four games, Toni Pressley, Kristen Edmonds, and Alanna Kennedy provided the offense, while Maegen Kelly scored for FC Kansas City.
Orlando and FCKC drew 1-1 back on May 7. After Marta put Orlando up in the 74th minute, Erika Tymrak equalized in the 84th minute on a scramble off a free kick given for what appeared to be routine incidental contact off the ball.
FC Kansas City swept the two matches last season, outscoring the Pride, 4-1. In the first meeting, Orlando lost 2-0 at Swope Soccer Village on May 28 of last year without key regulars Morgan, Ashlyn Harris, Edmonds, and Laura Alleway. After a scoreless first half, Yael Averbuch scored on a free kick that deflected in off Lianne Sanderson and Tymrak added an insurance marker.
The Pride led the return leg 1-0 at the break in Orlando, but FCKC scored twice in the second half to steal all three points with a 2-1 win in what we thought was Becky Edwards’ last professional game (she’s now playing overseas). Jasmyne Spencer opened the scoring for the Pride with this tremendous strike:
The visitors leveled when an Ashlyn Harris save off Heather O’Reilly bundled in off of Tiffany McCarty. O’Reilly got the game winner on a penalty in the final 10 minutes.
The Pride are 3-4-3 on the road in 2017, while FCKC is 3-2-3 at home. Kansas City has won three straight matches. Sydney Leroux leads FCKC with five goals on the season and Kelly has four. Shea Groom is tied for sixth in the NWSL with four assists. Keeper Nicole Barnhart is fourth in the league in save percentage (74.8%), just ahead of Orlando’s Ashlyn Harris (74.3%) Kansas City’s defense boasts USWNT center back Becky Sauerbrunn, who may be the world’s best defender.
“We know Kansas City is coming into this match high on confidence after three straight wins, against quality opponents as well,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “[Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski] has kept a very stable team and they really seem to be clicking as of late. Like every match, we know to expect a battle on Saturday and will have to capitalize on our opportunities when we get them.”
The Pride enter the match fairly healthy with Rachel Hill returning from an ankle sprain last week — though she’s still listed as probable — however, Jasmyne Spencer is out with a hamstring strain she picked up at Boston. Kansas City will be without Amy Rodriguez after she unfortunately tore her ACL in FCKC’s season opener. Alex Arlitt (left knee patella tendinopathy), and Amanda Laddish (right hip surgery) are also out.
Pride fans can prep for this game by checking out our Ali Krieger interview on this week’s PawedCast:
Orlando Pride (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Ashlyn Harris.
Defenders: Steph Catley, Ali Krieger, Monica, Kristen Edmonds.
Defensive Midfielders: Dani Weatherholt, Alanna Kennedy.
Attacking Midfielders: Chioma Ubogagu, Camila, Marta.
Forward: Alex Morgan.
Bench: Aubrey Bledsoe, Toni Pressley, Jamia Fields, Rachel Hill, Danica Evans, Nickolette Driesse.
FC Kansas City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Nicole Barnhart.
Defenders: Becca Moros, Yael Averbuch, Becky Sauerbrunn, Brittany Taylor.
Defensive Midfielders: Christina Gibbons, Desiree Scott.
Attacking Midfielders: Katie Bowen, Lo’Eau Labonta, Shea Groom.
Forwards: Sydney Leroux.
Bench: Catherine Parkhill, Caroline Flynn, Maegan Kelly, Sydney Miramontez, Alexa Newfield, Erika Tymrak, Brittany Radcliffe.
Ref: Danielle Chesky.
AR1: Adrienne McDonald.
AR2: John Krill.
4th: Jack Feldman.
How to Watch
Match Time: 3:30 p.m. (ET).
Venue: Children’s Mercy Victory Field — Kansas City, MO.
Streaming: NWSLSoccer.com or the Lifetime app.
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