Welcome to your match thread for tonight’s match-up between the Orlando Pride (9-6-5, 32 points) and the Boston Breakers (3-10-7, 16 points) at Orlando City Stadium. This is the third of three scheduled meetings between the two sides this season, with the Pride looking for a three-game sweep as they kick off a three-match home stand that will include critical games against the Seattle Reign and Portland Thorns.
Orlando is 3-1-0 against the Breakers, capturing the first meeting of 2017, 2-0 on June 3 at Orlando City Stadium. Marta and Jasmyne Spencer both scored within the game’s first quarter of an hour to provide all the game’s offense. Aubrey Bledsoe made three saves for the shutout, as Orlando out-shot the Breakers, 18-8 (6-3 on target). The Pride won 2-1 at Boston just two weeks ago behind Alex Morgan’s brace. Amanda DaCosta’s penalty in the 98th minute spoiled Ashlyn Harris’ shutout bid.
The teams split the season series last year, with the Pride winning the first meeting at home, 2-1, on July 10, 2016. Kristen Edmonds’ brace erased a 1-0 deficit in the closing minutes of the match to lift the Pride. Mollie Pathman scored Boston’s goal. The Breakers avenged that loss with a 1-0 home win on July 31 of last year. Natasha Dowie scored the game’s only goal.
Orlando is coming off a 2-1 win at FC Kansas City on a late goal by Alex Morgan, the NWSL Player of the Month for August. The Pride are 5-2-2 at home in 2017 and are on a 3-0-1 run of results at home. Orlando has won four straight and is unbeaten in five (4-0-1) overall. Boston is 0-6-4 on the road this season and the Breakers have lost three consecutive matches and are on an eight-match winless skid (0-4-4). With Seattle coming up next in a pivotal match in the NWSL playoff race, this is the proverbial trap game that the Pride must avoid.
“Because of the run of form we are in and because of the players we have, we’re becoming the team that other teams might not want to play against. And they get really keyed up to play against us because they know that, with Marta in the form she is in and Alex [Morgan] in the form she is in and our other players, they really need to be on their game,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “So we’re having to raise our game even higher and teams are taking much more tactical care when they play against us. When we played Boston last week they played five in the back so they [kept] things really tight. Teams are putting in extra preparation to play against us and nullify us.”
Adriana Leon leads the Breakers with five goals on the season, good for a seventh-place tie in the NWSL. She’s also ninth in the league in assists, with four. Natasha Dowie is right behind Leon, with four goals. Midfielder Rosie White leads the NWSL in fouls committed (42) and yellow cards (7), breaking up play in the midfield for Boston.
Orlando lists Jasmyne Spencer as out, though earlier this week she was reportedly close to returning from a hamstring issue. Kristen Edmonds (calf strain) is listed as out, as is newly signed Jordan O’Brien (excused absence). Boston is fairly healthy. Christen Westphal (right foot nerve damage) is out, while Rose Lavelle (hamstring) returned to the 18 last weekend and Allysha Chapman (groin) started. Morgan Andrews has an excused absence.
Orlando Pride (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Ashlyn Harris.
Defenders: Steph Catley, Ali Krieger, Monica, Camila.
Midfielders: Alanna Kennedy, Marta, Dani Weatherholt.
Forwards: Chioma Ubogagu, Alex Morgan, Rachel Hill.
Bench: Aubrey Bledsoe, Toni Pressley, Danica Evans, Jocelyn Blankenship, Nickolette Driesse, Jamia Fields.
Boston Breakers (4-4-2)
Goalkeeper: Abby Smith.
Defenders: Allysha Chapman, Julie King, Megan Oyster, Margaret Purce.
Midfielders: Brooke Elby, Adriana Leon, Angela Salem, Rosie White
Forwards: Amanda Frisbie, Katie Stengel.
Bench: Sammy Jo Prudhomme, Natasha Dowie, Tiffany Weimer, Rose Lavelle, Hayley Dowd, Ifeoma Onumonu.
Ref: Kevin Broadley.
AR1: Shane Kennard.
AR2: Jeffrey Skinker.
4th: Janessa Gunn.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. (ET).
Venue: Orlando City Stadium — Orlando, FL
Streaming: NWSLSoccer.com or the go90 app.
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