The Pride made a road trip out to the Windy City to take on the Chicago Red Stars, a team they had never beaten. Well, never say never, Mr. Bond, because on Wednesday evening, Orlando was able to pull out a 2-0 win and bring home all three points. Despite a lightning delay, there was plenty of to take from the Pride’s second win of the season. Here are your five takeaways.
Feels like the First Time
They say you’ll never forget your first, and I’m sure the Pride will remember this one for a while. Going into the match, Chicago was in second place in the league and had never been shut out in Toyota Park during the regular season. Orlando not only got its first win against Chicago, it was able to do so on the road and kept a clean sheet doing it. Given how Orlando started the season, points are at a premium, and getting three points on the road against a quality opponent will help later in the season.
Chioma Ubogagu Again
Scoring goals is becoming a bit of a habit for Chi, and I’m all for her keeping it going. Ubogagu put the Pride up on a run started by herself near midfield. With Sydney Leroux on her left, Chi fed her the ball, but Leroux’s heavy first touch fed right back to Ubogagu, who made a nice shot into the right side of the net, giving Orlando the lead. This is Chi’s third goal on the season, and while her play hasn’t always been pretty, she works hard and has been effective when Orlando has needed her.
Van Egmond Impresses
Emily van Egmond may have made her debut last game, but she really made her presence known against Chicago. She showed exactly why she is one of the better midfielders in the world. She commanded the middle of the pitch, directed traffic, and created opportunities for the Pride. She seemed to be everywhere she was needed, whether that was back defending against Sam Kerr and the rest of the Red Stars or providing a beautiful through ball to Rachel Hill on the second goal. All in all, a very impressive performance from the Australian.
Hill 1, Kerr 0
Sam Kerr is a force on the field. She won the NWSL Golden Boot and MVP award in 2017. She also won the MVP award in the Australian W-League. I’m saying she’s good at this soccer thing. Fortunately, she was held scoreless in the game last night, though her Perth Glory teammate wasn’t. The Pride’s Rachel Hill had an outstanding season with Perth Glory, and kept up her scoring ways after she came on for Leroux in the 70th minute. A mere 11 minutes later, she put the game on ice with the Pride’s second goal.
Depth is Important
Tom Sermanni went out over the off-season and bolstered the depth of his squad. A game like this shows why that was so important. Alex Morgan was sidelined with a hyperextened knee injury, but was available if needed. Fortunately, the depth in all areas of the team, including the attack, meant that she was able to rest this week. Having players like Hill, or Carson Pickett, or Haley Kopmeyer to bring in will serve the team well as the season grinds on.
That’s going to do it for my five takeaways, but did I miss something important? Let us know what you think in the comments below.