As we count down to the new year of 2020 — which will be Orlando City’s sixth in MLS, OCB’s second in USL League One, and the Orlando Pride’s fifth in the NWSL — and say goodbye to 2019, it’s time to look back at the club’s 10 best moments of the year.
Let’s face it, there weren’t a lot of high points in the 2019 Orlando Pride season. The team finished last in the league and had its worst season ever, allowing the most goals in league history. Orlando went just 4-16-4 on the year. But one thing that the Pride have been able to do in recent years is to go on the road against the Chicago Red Stars and get results. And the Red Stars — second in the NWSL at the time — probably weren’t too concerned about the Pride on Aug. 21 when teams met at SeatGeek Stadium.
But the Pride surprised everyone with a solid road performance. It wasn’t perfect, but the team went into Chicago (ish) and took all three points in a 2-1 win over the Red Stars. It was the third consecutive time the Pride beat Chicago on the road.
Things looked bleak early when Alex Morgan went down after contact just six minutes into the game and had to leave the match to enter concussion protocol. But Orlando was just lulling the Red Stars into a false sense of security.
Despite playing a somewhat sloppy game and giving up too many chances to the hosts, it was the Pride jumping on top first. Chioma Ubogagu threw the ball in from the sideline and took a return pass from Marisa Viggiano. She then lofted a perfect cross toward the top of the six-yard box. Rachel Hill made a run, beat the defense and flicked the ball just inside the back post and out of goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher’s reach to make it 1-0 in the 33rd minute.
The Ubogagu-Hill connection worked in reverse in the 61st minute. Ubogagu played a ball to Hill, then blazed past Casey Short, took a return pass, and slotted home with her left foot to make it 2-0.
Ashlyn Harris made some big saves throughout the game, including a crucial 1-v-1 stop on Sam Kerr to help protect the Pride’s lead. Orlando held on and came within seconds of a shutout but Tierna Davidson spoiled the clean sheet in the waning seconds.
It was a great road result for the Pride in a dismal season and little did we know at the time that it was going to be Orlando’s last win of the year. The Pride went 0-5-2 down the stretch after that win against Chicago. For giving us a memorable performance (in a good way, this time), the Pride locked down our No. 8 moment of 2019.
Come back through New Year’s Eve as we count down the remainder of Orlando City’s top 10 moments of 2019.
Previous Top 10 Moments of 2019
9. OCB returns to play as part of the inaugural USL League One season.