Welcome to your match thread for tonight’s match-up between the Orlando Pride (10-6-5, 35 points) and the Seattle Reign (8-7-6, 30 points). This is the second of the two scheduled meetings between the two sides this season. The game was originally scheduled for this Saturday but due to concerns surrounding Hurricane Irma, it was moved up two days to ensure the teams would have plenty of time to vacate the area ahead of the storm.
This is a de facto playoff game for both teams. If Orlando wins, the Pride clinch an NWSL playoff berth as they would be eight points up on the Reign with two games remaining and could fare no worse than a tie with Sky Blue FC, over which they own the tie breaker. It’s also a match-up of the league’s two best offenses, combining for 80 goals this season. Orlando has scored 41 goals and Seattle is right behind, with 39.
Orlando is 1-1-1 against the Reign, with the two sides playing to a 1-1 draw on May 21 in Seattle. Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris sustained a quad injury on a goal kick 25 minutes into the match, and, with backup Aubrey Bledsoe sidelined with a concussion, emergency keeper Caroline Stanley was called into action. Bev Yanez beat Stanley just before halftime off a corner kick scramble to make it 1-0. But shortly after the restart, Camila’s hustle forced a turnover and Marta beat Haley Kopmeyer to level the match.
The home team won both meetings in the Pride’s inaugural year. The Reign came to Orlando on May 8, 2016 and left without any points in a 2-0 Pride victory at Camping World Stadium. Sarah Hagen and Lianne Sanderson provided the offense that day for Orlando. The Reign must not have liked that result because they took it out on the Pride in a 5-2 thrashing in Seattle on July 23. Jasmyne Spencer and Kristen Edmonds scored for the Pride. Kim Little (penalty), Jess Fishlock, Manon Melis, Kendall Fletcher, and a Toni Pressley own-goal gave Seattle plenty to celebrate.
The Pride are coming off a 4-2 win over the Boston Breakers last Saturday at home to kick off this current three-game home stand. Rookie Rachel Hill scored a brace and Marta and Chioma Ubogagu each found the net once. It was Orlando’s fifth straight win and the Pride are unbeaten in six (5-0-1).
The Reign won 1-0 in Houston on Sunday to snap a two-game losing streak. Merritt Mathias’ goal in the 50th minute was all the scoring as Seattle improved to a perfect 10-0-0 all-time against the Dash.
Seattle’s Megan Rapinoe is tied with Marta for second among all NWSL goal scorers, with 12 apiece. Nahomi Kawasumi has six goals and leads the league in assists (8). Kawasumi ranks third in chances created (39) behind only Marta (52) and Andressinha of the Houston Dash (42).
“This is a huge game for us and a huge game for Seattle, as well,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “We played Seattle six games into this season and were in ninth position with one win on the table. So it’s been a significant turnaround and the players have done magnificent to stick with it, keep chipping away and get better week-in and week-out. We’re really pleased to be in the position that we’re in. And we’ve done all of the hard work to get in this position. So the key thing now is for us to get out there and make sure we finish it.”
Orlando is fairly healthy with Spencer off the injury report this week but Edmonds is still out, although her status has changed from calf strain to excused absence. Seattle lists only Diana Matheson (ACL) as out.
Orlando Pride (4-3-3)
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, Jasmyne Spencer.
Seattle Reign (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Lydia Williams.
Defensive Midfielders: Rumi Utsugi, Christine Nairn.
Attacking Midfielders: Megan Rapinoe, Jess Fishlock, Bev Yanez.
Forward: Merritt Mathias.
Bench: Haley Kopmeyer, Madeline Bauer, Kiersten Dallstream, Katlyn Johnson, Elli Reed, Kristen McNabb, Naho Kawasumi.
Ref: Daniel Gutierrez
AR1: Brooke Mayo.
AR2: Jeremy Weed.
4th: Sam Gillispie.
How to Watch
Match Time: 8 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.).
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