It was a tale of two halves as the Orlando Pride (4-3-4, 16 points) and Seattle Reign could not find the back of the net and play to a scoreless draw at Memorial Stadium in Seattle. The Reign (5-2-3, 18 points) dominated the first half and Orlando controlled the second as this is now the fourth consecutive draw in the all-time series (1-1-4).
With the draw, the Pride are now undefeated in their last five road matches, and hold the second best away record, behind still undefeated North Carolina. Orlando is 3-0-2 on the road in that span with two wins against Chicago, one against Portland, and draws at Utah and Seattle.
With Alex Morgan and Ashlyn Harris away on international duty, as well as Marta, Rachel Hill, and Ali Krieger all injured, Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni came out with a different lineup. The most notable change was Haley Kopmeyer, as expected, getting the start in goal and she went on to have a performance that matches any of Harris’, finishing the match with five saves and a shutout in her first game for the Pride against her old team.
It only took four minutes for Seattle to get its first chance of the game. Some good buildup play led to a Beverly Yanez header but it went inches wide of the post. Minutes later, Jodie Taylor closed in on goal and Monica grabbed hold of her to stop the attack, not realizing Shelina Zadorsky was closing from behind. Then, in the 13th minute, Alanna Kennedy turned the ball over and Seattle was in on net but Kopmeyer beat Taylor to the ball and kicked it clear of danger.
Five minutes later, Seattle again went on the attack. Nahomi Kawasumi had time and space in the box but Kopmeyer was able to get a hand on it and make the save.
The best chance of the match for Orlando came in the 22nd minute. Carson Pickett put a perfect ball into the box off a set piece. Kennedy got her head on the end of it but the ball went off the crossbar. Sydney Leroux was in the perfect position to put the Pride up, and be the first team to score in the first half against the Reign, but she somehow missed the net completely. Anything on target would have most likely resulted in a goal.
From that moment on it was mostly all Seattle in the first half. Orlando struggled to hold on to the ball which led to an atrocious 60% passing accuracy in the first 45 and the Reign had a plethora of chances. Kiersten Dallstream had time and space in the 26th minute but her shot went right into the hands of Kopmeyer. Taylor went one-on-one with Kopmeyer minutes later but was called offside. Rumi Utsugi’s shot from distance in the 38th minute went just wide of the post.
Seattle outshot (10-3) and out-possessed (55%) the Pride in the first half and controlled the match. Kopmeyer kept Orlando in it with three saves. Sermanni obviously was not happy with his team’s first-half performance as the second half it was Seattle that was on the back foot.
Less than five minutes after the break, Chioma Ubogagu found some space on the right hand side and put a beautiful cross in the box but Kristen Edmonds looked like she was not expecting it and her poor attempt of a shot went over the bar. A minute later, Orlando kept the pressure up and Chi and Leroux combined to win a corner. Pickett’s ball in was bouncing around in the box but nobody could get a good shot off. Seattle immediately went on the counter attack and it ended with Kopmeyer making a diving one handed, save of the week candidate.
Orlando then responded by putting more pressure on Seattle. Leroux tried a volley in the 55th minute that went over the bar. Two minutes later, Poliana found some space and dribbled to the middle of the field but her shot was blocked. In the 64th minute, Dani Weatherholt got in on the action. She made a defensive stop and then looked to play a through ball to Leroux but the striker had a bad first touch. Weatherholt looked for Leroux again a minute later but her ball was hit just a bit too hard.
In the 74th minute, Orlando once again failed to capitalize on a golden opportunity. Emily van Egmond took a shot right in front of the net but Lydia Williams somehow managed to stop it and keep her shutout.
Both teams had a few chances at the end of the game but the best chance of the night for Seattle came in the dying moments. In the 92nd minute, former Pride player Jasmyne Spencer put a perfect cross into the box but no Seattle attacker was able to get on the end of it.
The game ended pretty evenly statistically. Seattle had the slight edge in shots (15-12) and shots on goal (5-2) but Orlando’s strong second half brought the possession battle back to 53%-47%, in favor of the home team. The biggest stat that jumps out is 56% passing accuracy for Orlando.
With the result, Orlando moved into sole possession of third place, behind North Carolina and the Reign, and one point ahead of Portland.
The Pride are back in action after the international break on Saturday, June 16, as they host bottom of the table Sky Blue FC.