Welcome to your match thread for the Orlando Pride’s penultimate match of the 2019 season. The Pride (4-15-3, 15 points) face off against the Washington Spirit (8-8-6, 30 points) in Exploria Stadium at 5 p.m. ET this afternoon.
The all-time series between Orlando and Washington is tied at 4-4-2. Orlando held the slight advantage before the previous match, but the Pride fell 2-1 thanks, in part, by an Ashlyn Harris howler. Overall, Washington was the better team and deserved to win. The Spirit dominated with 59% possession and finished with more shots and shots on target.
In the first meeting this season, the Pride had an offensive explosion and won 4-3. In that match, Rachel Hill opened her 2019 scoring account, Marta netted a brace, and Chioma Ubogagu got her third goal in as many games. That was the last match that Ubogagu played for the Pride before being waived so she could pursue an opportunity in Europe.
The Pride won two of the three meetings with the Spirit in 2018. The first match of last season was on Mar. 31, 2018. Ashley Hatch recorded a goal and an assist as the Spirit went on to win 2-0 at the Maryland SoccerPlex. Three months later, the teams met again. This time, the Pride were on the winning end of things, 1-0, via an 11th-minute Alanna Kennedy goal. In the final meeting of 2018, Hatch once again found the back of the net. She soared above everyone on a corner, and the ball slowly trickled in at the back post. Sydney Leroux leveled the game in stoppage time of the first half after an incredible cutback move and beat former Pride goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe at the near post. Marta got the game-winner in the 86th minute, off an assist from Leroux as Orlando won 2-1.
Orlando went undefeated against the Spirit in 2017. In the first-ever Pride game at what is now known as Exploria Stadium, Orlando needed to fight back after falling behind to earn a point in the 1-1 game. Line Sigvardsen-Jensen scored in the 60th minute, but Danica Evans used some nifty footwork to get by the defense and find the equalizer late in front of 14,452 fans. That is the second-biggest home attendance for the Pride in team history. The biggest home crowd was the 2016 home opener against the Houston Dash.
On July 8, the teams again played to a draw — this time 2-2. Mallory Pugh netted a brace for the Spirit, and Marta recorded a brace for the Pride. Exactly a month later, the teams met again. This time it was all Orlando, and the Pride won 3-0. Alex Morgan, Camila, and Marta all found the back of the net and Bledsoe earned a shutout for Orlando.
Both Washington and the Pride have two matches remaining. Orlando has just 15 points and no chance of making the post season and the Spirit have 30 points, while Reign FC sit in fourth place with 37, so Washington cannot make the playoffs either. Regardless, Head Coach Marc Skinner knows it will be a tough match.
“I think Washington are a very good team. Their last result was they beat North Carolina 2-1 so you can tell what quality they have. I think it’ll be a different team based on the fact that they don’t have their American international players,” Marc Skinner said in a club press release. “It’ll be a slightly different ream, different variable, but we’ll be a totally different team so I think it will be who can master their matchups a little bit better. I think it’ll be a good game, I think it’ll be exciting and we’re looking forward to it.”
The Pride are coming off a 1-1 draw with Sky Blue FC. Shelina Zadorsky scored her first professional goal in the 18th minute off a free kick. The Pride led most of the match but Carli Lloyd’s 88th-minute equalizer meant the Pride dropped two points. Sydney Leroux made her season debut in that match, just three months after giving birth.
Washington beat North Carolina last week, 2-1. Lynn Williams scored in stoppage time of the first half to open the scoring. The Spirit scored two goals in nine minutes late in the second half to come away with the victory.
Both teams will be without many players due to the international break. Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris, Alanna Kennedy, Marta, and Shelina Zadorsky are out for the Pride. Additionally, Emily van Egmond (left ankle surgery) and Alex Morgan (right knee) are out injured.
Mallory Pugh, Rose Lavelle, Andi Sullivan, Chloe Logarzo, Amy Harrison, Elise Kellond-Knight, and Cheyna Matthews are out on international duty for the Spirit. Mallory Eubanks (maternity leave) is out, while Tegan McGrady (left thigh) is listed as questionable.
Orlando Pride (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Lainey Burdett.
Defenders: Carson Pickett, Joanna Boyles, Morgan Reid, Kristen Edmonds.
Midfielders: Bridget Callahan, Marisa Viggiano, Dani Weatherholt.
Forwards: Danica Evans, Rachel Hill, Claire Emslie.
Bench: Haley Kopmeyer, Erin Greening, Abby Elinsky, Caitlin Farrell, Sydney Leroux, Julie King, Camila.
Washington Spirit (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Aubrey Bledsoe.
Defenders: Dorian Bailey, Sam Staab, Paige Neilsen, Tori Huster.
Midfielders: Bayley Feist, Jordan DiBiasi, Meggie Dougherty Howard.
Forwards: Ashley Hatch, Crystal Thomas, Arielle Ship.
Bench: Shae Yanez, McKenzie Berryhill, Megan Crosson, Cali Farquharson, Tegan McGrady, Tiffany McCarty.
Ref: Tori Penso.
AR1: Maggie Short.
AR2: Ashlee Varnson.
4th: Anya Voigt.
How to Watch
Match Time: 5 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
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Enjoy the match! Go Pride!