Welcome to your match thread for the Orlando Pride’s final match of the 2019 National Women’s Soccer League season. The Pride look to beat Reign FC for the first time since 2016 with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. at Exploria Stadium.
The Reign lead the draw-filled all-time series, 2-1-6. That slim lead is thanks to a 3-1 Reign win back on Sep. 8. The Pride were down 3-0 after just 17 minutes and were unable to fight back.
Before that match in Washington, the teams played to six straight draws. Earlier in the year, Marc Skinner earned his first point in the NWSL with a 1-1 draw against the Reign. On April 21, Alanna Kennedy got the scoring started with a bicycle kick in the sixth minute. Bethany Balcer leveled it in the 21st minute and the match ended in a sixth-straight draw.
The 2018 season ended with the teams having three draws in three meetings. Marta and Allie Long both scored on April 28 of last year, as the match ended 1-1. A little over a month later, the teams played to a goalless draw in front of 5,251 fans in Seattle. The final meeting last season ended 1-1. Toni Pressley scored for Orlando in the first half and Jodie Taylor leveled it in the second.
The 2017 season saw a pair of 1-1 draws, and last season there were two 1-1 draws in Orlando and a scoreless draw in Washington. Each team won its home game in the 2016 series. On May 8, 2016, Sarah Hagen and Lianne Sanderson both scored as Orlando won 2-0. A few months later, on July 23, 2016, the Reign evened the series with a 5-2 win.
The Orlando Pride’s 2019 dismal season is nearly complete. Even with a win tonight, the Pride will finish the year with the league’s worst record, the team’s worst NWSL record, and the most losses in team history.
The Pride face a Reign team that has locked up a playoff spot and is now fighting for third place. The Reign are in fourth, two points behind Portland.
“I think [the players] know there’s a lot on the line and I think they’ve known for a while. It’s not only that, it’s a really important night to raise awareness and continue to raise awareness and to continue to support a wonderful charity,” Skinner said. “I’m expecting an excellent team [in the Reign] who will try to hit us hard early. If they get the points on Saturday and Portland don’t, they go above Portland in the table. That’s a really important thing for them, so they’re going to try to hit us hard. We’ve got to stop the wave, stop their confidence and if we do that, then we’ll have the opportunity to win the game.”
Even though the team has already locked up last place, Skinner has mentioned that there is much to play for. The coach plans to bring in many new faces next year, so this is the last chance for Pride players to show they want to be on the team. After the season, expect for there to be one of the highest turnover in Orlando history.
The Pride will be without Alex Morgan and Ali Krieger — both with right knee injuries. However, Marta will be back and should lead the Pride’s attack. The Brazilian leads the team in goals and always has the potential to change the game. Orlando will also be without Emily van Egmond (left ankle surgery) while Dani Weatherholt (right ankle) and Shelina Zadorsky (left thigh) are both questionable. Defender Toni Pressley is expected to play in her return from breast cancer treatment and tonight’s game is the club’s first ever Breast Cancer Awareness match.
The Reign will be without Taylor Smith (right knee), Jasmyne Spencer (left knee), Michelle Betos (right achilles), Jaycie Johnson (right knee), Scout Watson (concussion), Jessica Fishlock (left knee), Rebecca Quinn (right hamstring) and Megan Oyster (left knee).
Megan Rapinoe is the star on the Reign, but the USWNT winger has only played in four NWSL games this season, with no goals or assists. Instead, the Tacoma side has been led by rookie forward Balcer. The 22-year-old has a team-high six goals and the second-most assists for the Reign (two). She has played in all 23 of the Reign’s games this season, starting in 18.
Orlando Pride (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Ashlyn Harris.
Defenders: Carson Pickett, Julie King, Alanna Kennedy, Kristen Edmonds.
Midfielders: Joanna Boyles, Marta, Marisa Viggiano,
Forwards: Camila, Rachel Hill, Claire Emslie.
Bench: Haley Kopmeyer, Erin Greening, Abby Elinsky, Danica Evans, Sydney Leroux, Toni Pressley, Morgan Reid.
Reign FC (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Casey Murphy.
Defenders: Steph Catley, Lauren Barnes, Rumi Utsugi, Theresa Nielsen.
Midfielders: Kristen McNabb, Bethany Balcer, Allie Long.
Forward: Megan Rapinoe, Jodie Taylor, Darian Jenkins.
Bench: Lydia Williams, Stephanie Cox, Ifeoma Onumonu, Morgan Andrews, Shea Groom, Rosie White, Celia Jiménez.
Ref: Kevin Broadley.
AR1: Jennifer Garner.
AR2: Tiffini Turpin.
4th: Jamie Willis.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. ET.
Venue: Exploria Stadium — Orlando, FL.
Streaming: Yahoo! Sports app (U.S.), NWSLsoccer.com, TSN (Canada), ESPN Player (Europe), WatchESPN (Brazil, Latin America).
Match Thread Rules
This is your live thread for posting comments on the match. So use our comments section below to talk about the game in real time with other supporters. If you’re new, welcome to our happy home! While you’re here, please observe a few basic rules:
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Enjoy the match! Go Pride!