The Orlando Pride saw their five-game unbeaten run snapped at home to the unbeaten North Carolina Courage in a 4-3 loss that should serve as a litmus test to show Tom Sermanni just how far removed from the top of the league his team is. Not too far, as it turns out.
While the Pride started the match a bit flat after a long layoff against an in-form North Carolina that has been mowing through the NWSL this year, the second half showed that Orlando can stand toe to toe with the league leaders.
The Courage were wasteful with their excellent scoring chances in the early going, while the Pride were out of sorts. However, that balanced out in the end, as the Pride practically gifted them three goals that were needlessly conceded in the second period — which was a shame, given the quality of the goals scored by Alanna Kennedy and Rachel Hill and the service on those strikes provided by Christine Nairn and Marta, respectively.
While the Pride were without first-choice defender Monica (knee), midfielder Camila (ACL surgery), and striker Sydney Leroux (illness), the Courage played without NWSL star Lynn Williams (hamstring). Orlando recovered nicely in the second half but three bewilderingly poor moments allowed the visitors to leave with all the points while the Pride are left with nothing after what could have been anything from a lopsided loss to a signature win on the season.
Hopefully the team will learn from this and figure out a way to get Alex Morgan more involved moving forward.
Meanwhile, we hope you enjoy these images from a crazy match at Orlando City Stadium between two teams that will see each other again during the regular season and could meet in the playoffs as well.