For the first time in their short existence, the Orlando Pride will not travel to Portland for the NWSL season opener. Instead, the Pride have been given a home match against Utah Royals FC.
While the full schedule is not yet released (that’s coming Tuesday), the Pride’s first few games have been identified. The season kicks off on March 24, when Orlando hosts Utah at 7:30 p.m. The following week on March 31, the Pride travel to the nation’s capital to play the NWSL Game of the Week against the Washington Spirit. The next week is a FIFA window featuring the USWNT vs. Mexico. And in NWSL recent tradition, the Pride will travel to Portland for the Thorns’ home opener on April 15 at 6 p.m. ET.
This year, the club is hosting a Pride Kickoff Week. Starting a week before the season opener, the club will host the inaugural Pride Brunch on March 18. Head Coach Tom Sermanni will be present for a Q&A session at Wall Street Plaza. There will also be Pride in the House the next day and Winning Women in Purple that Wednesday.
In 2017, the Pride had their best season to date, making the NWSL playoffs. The goal for 2018 is to win the title and the club has been making moves this off-season to put Sermanni in the best position to start the season strong.
The biggest move this year was bringing USWNT star Sydney Leroux and Aussie No. 10 Emily van Egmond to Orlando. The Pride now have an attacking front line of Leroux, Alex Morgan, and Marta, with Chioma Ubogagu re-signing and Rachel Hill in the form of her life in the W-League. The club also bolstered the back line by bringing in defenders Poliana from Houston and Shelina Zadorsky from the Washington Spirit.
Prior to its season, Orlando will play in three home matches against Florida State, Central Florida, and South Florida at the end of February and beginning of March.
Key Orlando Pride Dates
Sun., Feb. 18 — Preseason Medical Evaluations at Orlando Health
Mon., Feb. 19 — Preseason Begins
Friday, Feb. 23 — Single game tickets go on sale at 10 a.m.
Wed., Feb. 28 — Preseason Game at Florida State University at Seminole Soccer Complex, 6 p.m.
Sat., March 3 — Preseason Game at University of Central Florida at UCF Soccer and Track Complex (Closed match)
Thurs., March 8 — Preseason Game at University of South Florida at Corbett Soccer Stadium, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 24 — Season-opener against Utah Royals FC at Orlando City Stadium at 7:30 p.m.