The Orlando Pride (1-2-1, 4 points) are coming off of their first win of the season. It was a sloppy 1-0 affair and an altogether poor performance, but the Pride were able to scrape by with three points. Orlando knows, however, that it must improve if the Pride are going to beat the Seattle Reign (2-1-0, 6 points).
Megan Rapinoe will miss the game with a hamstring injury but don’t be fooled into thinking Seattle will not be able to score. Last season, these were the two highest scoring teams in the NWSL and both have a good shot at winning the championship.
The series between Orlando and Seattle is a tight deadlock at 1-1-2 apiece. The teams split the series in 2016 and last year both matches ended in draws. The most dramatic finish to a game in Orlando’s short history was most likely the last time Seattle and the Pride played. In front of 4,341 fans in Orlando City Stadium, the game was destined for a goalless draw until Alex Morgan’s left foot gave the Pride the lead in the 92nd minute. Orlando celebrated prematurely because just before the final whistle Nahomi Kawasumi put a perfect cross in and Jessica Fishlock got a head on it to tie the game at one.
For the Pride, no two players found the back of the net multiple times against the Reign. Sarah Hagen and Morgan each have a goal and an assist, but no other player has more.
Not only is Orlando coming off of its first win of the season but the Pride also have a complete roster — minus Camila — for the first time this season. Momentum will be huge coming into tonight’s game, and the power of the international stars is huge.
The Pride get a huge bonus with Rapinoe out but their defense will still have its work cut out for them. Particularly, Jodie Taylor and Kawasumi must be watched closely.
This game will see many familiar faces on different sides of the field. After trades in the off-season, two of Orlando’s original players were moved to the opposite coast and this will be the first time that Jasmyne Spencer and Steph Catley will play against their former team. The two combined for 76 games played, eight goals, and seven assists in two years, and both played in Orlando’s lone playoff game. Christine Nairn, Carson Pickett, and Haley Kopmeyer also will be up against their former team as well. Kopmeyer will likely not get any minutes — if she does, it means Ashlyn Harris got injured or a red card — but Nairn and Pickett have started in all four of Orlando’s games this season. Sydney Leroux also played for Seattle back in 2014.
Although still early, the winner of this match will jump up the table. Orlando could go as high as third, while Seattle can move up to second.
Orlando Pride (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Ashlyn Harris.
Attacking Midfielders: Chioma Ubogagu, Marta, Sydney Leroux.
Forward: Alex Morgan.
Bench: Haley Kopmeyer, Kristen Edmonds, Danica Evans, Carson Pickett, Rachel Hill, Dani Weatherholt, Emily van Egmond.
Seattle Reign (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Michelle Betos,
Defenders: Steph Catley, Kristen McNabb, Megan Oyster, Christen Westphal.
Midfielders: Rumi Utsugi, Allie Long, Jessica Fishlock.
Forwards: Beverly Yanez, Jodie Taylor, Nahomi Kawasumi.
Bench: Lydia Williams, Morgan Andrews, Elizabeth Addo, Lauren Barnes, Madeline Bauer, Jasmyne Spencer. Theresa Nielsen.
REF: Javier Santos Escobar.
AR1: John Krill.
AR2: Matthew Osterhouse.
4th: Madzid Coric.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. (ET).
Venue: Orlando City Stadium — Orlando, Florida
Streaming: NWSLSoccer.com or the NWSL app (outside the U.S.), go90.
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