Welcome to your match thread for tonight’s match as the Orlando Pride (4-11-2, 14 points) take on the Washington Spirit (6-7-4, 22 points). This is the second of three meetings this season between the two teams. The final meeting will be next week, when the teams both travel south to Orlando.
Tonight marks the 10th time that Orlando and Washington will face each other, and the all-time series could not be much closer. Heading into the season, the series was tied. Then, on July 6, 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. Orlando now leads the all-time series, 4-3-2.
The Pride won two of the three games in 2018. The first match of last season was on Mar. 31, 2018. Ashley Hatch record 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 into 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 Jul. 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.
With about six weeks left in the season, both the Pride and Spirit are both unlikely to make the playoffs. Orlando, thanks to a midweek win over the Chicago Red Stars, moved up to eighth place. Washington is one spot ahead of the Pride in seventh. The two teams have a combined 36 points on the season, just three points more than the Portland Thorns.
Orlando will be given a boost coming into this match with Marta’s expected return after serving a two-match suspension for a red card against the Houston Dash. In the Brazilian’s absence, the Pride went 1-1, losing to the Utah Royals, 2-0, and then beating Chicago on Wednesday. However, Alex Morgan (concussion protocol), Alanna Kennedy (red card suspension), and Chioma Ubogagu (excused absence) will all be unavailable tonight.
The Pride were sloppy in the back against Chicago, but the Red Stars were unable to capitalize. Orlando took full advantage, and Rachel Hill netted her second goal of the season. The goal came off a fantastic one-touch cross from Chioma Ubogagu, and the Pride went up 1-0 in the 33rd minute. In the 61st minute, it was Hill’s turn to assist Ubogagu to double the Pride’s lead.
“I expect a very tough team [in Washington] that will be very organized and probably have one of the best playing out abilities in the league, so we have to be vigilant, and we have to make sure that we get our detail right,” Marc Skinner said. “If we do that, then we’ll have a good chance to take a result.”
The Spirit are coming off a goalless draw against Utah on Wednesday. Washington put up 18 shots, but only two found the target. Hatch finished with five shots, one on target, and will be the player to watch for the Pride.
Hatch is tied with Jordan Dibasi for the most goals for Washington with four. She has started in all of Washington’s 17 games and has proven to be the most dangerous attacking weapon for the Spirit.
Washington started off the season pretty well but fell down the table as the season wore on. The Spirit have just one win in the last 10 matches and have only found the back of the net eight times. It has been the opposite story for Orlando. The Pride failed to win the first nine games of the season but have won four of their past eight matches.
Both teams have players out tonight. Orlando’s injury report is loaded with seven players out. In addition to those named above, the Pride will be without Sydney Leroux (maternity), Toni Pressley (45-day DL), Emily van Egmond (left ankle surgery), and Julie King (left ankle).
Washington will be without Mallory Eubanks (maternity), Tegan McGrady (left thigh), Mallory Pugh (right hip), Rose Lavelle (head), and Ellise Kellond-Knight (left thigh).
Orlando Pride (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Ashlyn Harris.
Midfielders: Marisa Viggiano, Dani Weatherholt, Joanna Boyles.
Forwards: Rachel Hill, Marta, Kristen Edmonds,
Bench: Haley Kopmeyer, Camila, Bridget Callahan, Abby Elinsky, Morgan Reid, Danica Evans, Claire Emslie.
Washington Spirit (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Aubrey Bledsoe.
Defenders: Dorian Bailey, Sam Staab, Paige Neilsen, Tori Huster.
Midfielders: Chloe Logarzo, Andi Sullivan, Meggie Dougherty Howard.
Forwards: Crystal Thomas, Jordan DiBiasi, Ashley Hatch.
Bench: Shae Yanez, Arielle Ship, Amy Harrison, Cheyna Matthews, Bayley Feist, McKenzi Berryhill, Megan Crosson.
Ref: Matt Franz.
AR1: Adrienne McDonald.
AR2: Kaili Terry.
4th: Alla Stepanov.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. ET.
Venue: Audi Field — Washington, D.C.
Streaming: Yahoo! Sports app (U.S.), NWSLsoccer.com, NWSL app (international).
Match Thread Rules
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Enjoy the match! Go Pride!