Welcome to your match thread for tonight’s match-up between the Orlando Pride (8-6-5, 29 points) and Sky Blue FC (0-13-3, 3 points). This is the second time these teams will see each other this season, with the final meeting coming up in the season finale on Sept. 8.
Orlando is 3-2-1 against Sky Blue FC in the all-time series, thanks to a 3-2 win on June 16 of this season. Rachel Hill scored the game winner after coming on in the 60th minute and Sydney Leroux recorded a first-half brace. Leroux got the game off early with a goal just 92 seconds into the match but the New Jersey team stayed in it. Sky Blue tied it up twice but Tom Sermanni brought in Marta in the 73rd minute and the Brazilian took control of the game and did all the buildup for the game-winner by herself.
The teams met three times last season. The Pride fell 2-1 in the first trip to New Jersey in 2017. Jasmyne Spencer scored early, but Sam Kerr and Maya Hayes each scored to give Sky Blue the win. A month later, the Pride came from behind to win the second meeting, 3-2. The final meeting was no contest as the Pride broke their goal record in a 5-0 rout, as Alex Morgan and Marta each recorded a brace and an assist and Dani Weatherholt also got on the board in what was Maddy Evans’ final appearance.
In 2016, the two clubs played twice. The Pride earned their first-ever draw in a 1-1 deadlock on the road on Sept. 7, 2016. Morgan scored 22 minutes in and Ashlyn Harris defended the net heroically but Kerr equalized less than 10 minutes from the whistle. Three days later, Sky Blue captured a 2-1 comeback win at Camping World Stadium in the rematch. Kristen Edmonds scored first but Kerr and Hayes beat Harris to fuel the comeback.
It seems like Orlando is in the same situation every week now and this is yet another must-win game. The Pride dropped to fourth place in the NWSL standings and are just one point ahead of Chicago, who have a game in hand. Orlando cannot take Sky Blue lightly, even though the club has yet to win a game. Orlando needs to pick up six points from the two more games remaining against the New Jersey side this season.
“With such a tight table, we’ve reached the point in the season where every game and every point is vital, so we are taking the final five matches one game at a time,” said Sermanni. “We know [Sky Blue is] not any less or any easier than any other team in the league. It is really about our players having a professional attitude to go out and be keyed up as much as if we were playing North Carolina or Portland.”
Because of the international break, both teams have gotten a two-week break from league play. Sky Blue was supposed to play against the Red Stars last week but the game had to be postponed to September because Sky Blue’s flight got cancelled.
Both teams had players play in the Tournament of Nations and this will likely alter some personnel decisions for the coaches, with Orlando being affected more. Carli Lloyd got limited playing time so she could start for the visitors but Sermanni is likely to continue to use his depth.
Sydney Leroux (illness) and Sky Blue’s Domi Richardson (left foot sprain) are the only players on the injury report and both are listed as questionable.
Also important to note is that NWSL games are no longer being streamed on go90 after the streaming service was shut down at the end of July. Games can now be seen online via the NWSL website.
Orlando Pride (3-5-2)
Goalkeeper: Ashlyn Harris.
Midfielders: Chioma Ubogagu, Christine Nairn, Dani Weatherholt, Emily van Egmond, Kristen Edmonds.
Forwards: Marta, Rachel Hill.
Bench: Haley Kopmeyer, Monica, Carson Pickett, Shelina Zadorsky, Camila, Danica Evans, Alex Morgan.
Sky Blue FC (4-4-2)
Goalkeeper: Kailen Sheridan.
Defenders: Amanda Frisbie, Erica Skroski, Mandy Freeman, Christina Gibbons.
Midfielders: Imani Dorsey, Sarah Killion, Raquel Rodriguez, Madison Tiernan.
Forwards: Shea Groom, Savannah McCaskill.
Bench: Caroline Casey, Mckenzie Meehan, Carli Lloyd, Jen Hoy, Rebekah Stott, Katie Johnson, Amandine Pierre-Louis.
REF: Luis Guardia.
AR1: Diego Blas.
AR2: Francesco Terranova.
4TH: Madzic Coric.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. (ET).
Venue: Orlando City Stadium — Orlando, FL.
Streaming: NWSLSoccer.com or the NWSL app (outside the U.S.).
Match Thread Rules
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Enjoy the match! Go Pride!