Welcome to your match thread as the Orlando Pride (4-15-2, 14 points) take on Sky Blue FC (5-13-4, 19) at Red Bull Arena. This is the third and final meeting between these teams this season. Regardless of the outcome, the Pride will remain in last place and Sky Blue will stay in eighth.
The Pride hold the all-time advantage in the series, 5-3-2. This is helped by Orlando winning both of the meetings this season. On June 22, Orlando entered the game riding a 15-match winless streak that dated back to 2018. Two penalty kicks and an own goal decided this match, and the Pride finally won, 2-1.
A month later the teams met again. In the third-biggest attendance at a home Pride game and the largest since the 2017 home opener, Orlando beat Sky Blue, 1-0. Marisa Viggiano, who created the game-winning own goal in the previous match against Sky Blue, got her first professional goal with the game-winner.
The Pride only beat Sky Blue once in 2018. That win came on June 16, when Orlando edged out the New Jersey side, 3-2. Sydney Leroux recorded a first-half brace, and Rachel Hill scored the late game-winner.
The teams played to a 2-2 draw on Aug. 5, last year as well. After a scoreless first half, Marta put away a rebound after Dani Weatherholt’s shot hit the post at the beginning of the second half. Two minutes later, Imani Dorsey tied the game and six minutes after that, Shea Groom gave Sky Blue its first lead of the season in any match. In the 73rd minute, Camila drew a foul during a run into the box. The referee played advantage when Weatherholt ended up with the ball, and she put the ball in the back of the net. Marta missed what would have been the game-winning penalty in stoppage time.
Orlando had the edge in 2017. The Pride lost the first meeting, but then followed that up by winning the next two matches by a combined score of 8-2. In Orlando’s inaugural season the teams played in back-to-back games, and Orlando failed to win either. The teams drew 1-1 on Sept. 7, 2016 — the first draw in Pride history— and then Sky Blue won 2-1 three days later.
Neither team has much to play for in terms of the standings. Both teams will not be in the playoffs and their seasons are virtually over at this point. However, it was a similar situation last season. The difference was that the New Jersey side was winless, and fought hard to earn its only win of the year. Now it is the Pride’s turn to end a poor season with a strong showing.
With three games remaining — against Sky Blue, Washington, and the Reign — Marc Skinner will be looking to see which players he will be keeping for the next season. So, while the team has nothing to play for, each player on the Pride is fighting for a spot in next season’s team.
“They play a diamond shape and they’re very aggressive. We have to exploit that and make sure that the more we’re in possession, the less they can counter-attack and we need to stop that counter-attack, shore it up and make sure that we are effective with the ball,” Marc Skinner said.“Then we’ll have the best chance, regardless of the individuals that they put in. They have a very organized backline, a very good, young goalkeeper so it’ll be tough but we’re looking forward for our players to show exactly who they are and take on the opportunity.”
Sky Blue is led by USWNT star Carli Lloyd. The American has six goals and an assist in 12 matches this season. Rocky Rodriquez is also a player that the Pride will need to keep an eye on. The 25-year-old has started in all but two matches for Sky Blue. Rodriguez has three goals and two assists on the season.
Good news for the Pride is that both Toni Pressley and Sydney Leroux are off of the injury report. Pressley was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year, and Leroux was on maternity leave. Orlando only will be missing Alex Morgan (right knee) and Emily van Egmond (left ankle), while Dani Weatherholt (right ankle) is listed as questionable. The visitors have three players out — Gina Lewandowski (left foot), Mandy Freeman (right achilles), and Madison Tiernan (left knee).
Orlando Pride (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Ashlyn Harris.
Midfielders: Joanna Boyles, Marisa Viggiano, Alanna Kennedy.
Forwards: Marta, Rachel Hill, Claire Emslie.
Bench: Haley Kopmeyer, Erin Greening, Danica Evans, Bridget Callahan, Abby Elinsky, Camila, Sydney Leroux.
Sky Blue FC (4-4-2)
Goalkeeper: Kailen Sheridan.
Defenders: Imani Dorsey, Estelle Johnson, Erica Skroski, Caprice Dydasco.
Midfielders: Raquel Rodriguez, Carli Lloyd, Sarah Killion, Elizabeth Eddy.
Forwards: Jennifer Hoy, Paige Monaghan.
Bench: Didi Haracic, Megan Hinz, Julie James, Nahomi Kawasumi, Amandine Pierre-Louis, Dominique Richardson, Kenie Wright.
Ref: Karen Callado.
AR1: Salma Perez.
AR2: Laura Waliski.
4th: Adorae Whitesel.
How to Watch
Match Time: 11 a.m. (ET).
Venue: Red Bull Arena — Harrison, NJ.
Streaming: Yahoo! Sports app (U.S.), NWSLsoccer.com, NWSL app (international).
Match Thread Rules
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Enjoy the match! Go Pride!