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Orlando Pride vs. Washington Spirit: Final Score 2-0 as Pride Drop First Road Match

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Orlando was missing seven key players and it showed.

Caitlin Buckley/Black and Red United

The Orlando Pride fought hard without Alex Morgan, Marta, and five others but Mallory Pugh’s late heroics led Washington to a 2-0 win at Maryland SoccerPlex. Orlando is now winless in its first two games, dropping to 0-1-1 (1 point).

With seven total players injured or on international duty — eight counting Camila, who hurt her knee late last year — Orlando Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni had some choices to make with his starting XI. Up top was easy, as Chioma Ubogagu and Rachel Hill slotted in up top for Alex Morgan and Marta. The rest of the lineup looked like this:

The first half was a stalemate as the Pride got out-possessed but both teams had their chances. Sydney Leroux missed a half volley over the crossbar in the 15th minute. Washington then had numerous chances but Francisca Ordega and Ashley Hatch could not keep their shots down either. The best opportunity of the first half came in the 31st minute. With three defenders closing in on her, Hill found some space and took a left footed crack but her shot smacked off the bar.

The Pride had one more chance before halftime. Dani Weatherholt had a big stop and Chi picked up the ball. Ubogagu dribbled down the field a little before making a great pass to Hill but the second-year forward could not keep the ball down and the half ended scoreless.

The Pride started the second half with a lot of urgency. Chi took a shot that went over the bar. A few moments later, former Pride goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe easily saved Leroux’s near-post shot. Orlando won a corner but was called dead on a foul on the second ball in.

The game started to even out again about 10 minutes into the half and not much happened. Both teams had a few opportunities but play was largely in the middle third of the field. Then, in the 80th minute, Pugh broke the deadlock. Dribbling about 35 yards down the left side, she got into the box and her left footed shot went between the legs of Ashlyn Harris to give the Spirit a 1-0 lead.

Orlando tried to gain back some momentum but Hatch doubled Washington’s lead in the 88th minute. Pugh’s ball in started the attack and Hatch hit it first time to end any hope of an Orlando comeback.

Orlando finished with more shots on goal (4-3), corners (7-2), passes (475-439), and possession (52-48) but the Pride were too sloppy with the ball in the final third.

The Pride are back in action again in Portland on April 15.