As we count down to the new year of 2019 – which will be Orlando City SC’s fifth in MLS and Orlando Pride’s fourth in the NWSL – and say goodbye to 2018, it’s time to look back at the club’s 10 best moments of the year.
Before this season, the Chicago Red Stars had dominated the all-time series against the Pride. Orlando had only earned one point through five previous games and held a dismal record of 0-4-1 against Chicago. That all changed back in May at Toyota Park.
With Alex Morgan sidelined due to a hyperextended left knee, Tom Sermanni opted to go with Sydney Leroux, Marta, and Chioma Ubogagu up top. Leroux and Chi combined in the 28th minute, and the Pride took the lead.
Ubogagu was in the right place at the right time, and a poor pass deflected off her. It fell to Leroux and the two combined down the field. Leroux’s assist looked like a bad touch, but Ubogagu jumped on it, and her shot from the top of the box found the side netting.
.@ChiAlreadyKnow strikes again! The @ORLPride take the lead in Toyota Park.#CHIvORL | #NWSL | @go90Sports pic.twitter.com/65UBJmT56O— NWSL (@NWSL) May 3, 2018
It was not the best played game, was a little sloppy, and the Pride was continually on the back foot. Chicago was threatening most of the game but Orlando’s defense held strong. That was probably the best part of the game for Orlando. Led by Shelina Zadorsky, the Pride’s back line prevented the Red Stars from getting many good looks at goal. Sam Kerr finished with four shots, failing to hit the target each time.
When it was looking like Chicago was going to get back into it, Sermanni made a substitution that changed the game. Rachel Hill came on for Leroux, and the game started to fall in favor of the Pride.
Hill doubled the Pride’s lead in the 81st minute and sealed the victory. Leading up to the goal was an Ali Krieger steal at midfield, terrific ball movement for the Pride, and a great run from Hill.
Rachel Hill puts this one away for @ORLPride!#CHIvORL | #NWSL pic.twitter.com/3D7reY8W1Q— NWSL (@NWSL) May 3, 2018
Orlando followed this win up with a 5-2 dismantling the next time they met. Overall, the Pride won the season series 2-1-0. After five straight games without a win, this was a fabulous night for Orlando and an end to two years of frustrating results against Chicago.
Come back through New Year’s Eve as we count down the remainder of Orlando City’s top 10 moments of 2018.
Previous Top 10 Moments of 2018
10. OCSC hires Oguchi Onyewu as OCB’s new technical director.
9. Orlando City bolsters defense with Carlos Ascues and Shane O’Neill in the summer window.
8. Orlando City B re-launched as a USL League One side for 2019.