The Orlando Pride (4-13-2, 14 points) fell to Reign FC (9-6-4, 30 points) 3-1 at Cheney Stadium in front of a crowd of 6,700. A Carson Pickett error led to the Reign’s first goal, and it got worse from there. A weather delay was the only thing that gave any respite to a Pride club that was down 3-0 within 17 minutes.
Darian Jenkins scored an early brace and Bev Yanez added a goal before a lengthy weather delay and Camila prevented a shutout late after the match had resumed.
With no Marta, Alex Morgan, or Ali Krieger, Marc Skinner made a few changes to his starting XI. Pickett, Shelina Zadorsky, Alanna Kennedy, and Erin Greening started on the back line. Dani Weatherholt, Joanna Boyles, and Kristen Edmonds were in the midfield. Claire Emslie, Rachel Hill, and Camila started up top.
The match did not start out well for the Pride. It took all of three minutes for Reign FC’s Jenkins to score off a giveaway by Carson Pickett.
The Pride were on the back foot consistently and then in the 12th minute Jenkins decided to simply take the ball up the left side, and score a brace to put Reign FC up 2-0.
Orlando actually got forward following that goal, but the Pride were not able to make anything happen, and the Reign attacked again. Ashlyn Harris nearly lost a save coming off her line in the 14th minute, but somehow the ball bounced out and was cleared.
In the 17th minute Yanez added a goal to put Reign FC up 3-0.
In the 22nd minute, former Pride defender Steph Catley sent in a free kick, but it was headed wide, and the Reign were unable to make it four. In the 23rd minute, the lights went out in the stadium, and evidently Mother Nature had seen enough, because a weather delay was called due to lightning in the area. The teams were sent to the lockers.
After about an hour and a half delay, the match restarted at the 21:45 mark. Despite it being way past the Pride’s bedtime, the team was able to put together some possession after the restart. In the 27th minute Camila drew a foul and Pickett played the ball short. The Pride earned a corner following the free kick, but Casey Murphy easily grabbed the ensuing kick.
Emslie took a long distance shot in the 30th minute, but the ball sailed high. It was the Pride’s best shot to that point.
In the 31st minute, Reign FC made a quick transition down the field, but Harris was able to to get big and make the save on Theresa Nielsen’s chance. On the other end, the Pride earned another free kick in the 35th minute. Emslie crossed the ball in, but despite a good effort by Camila, the Pride were not able to get a shot off. After clearing the ball, Reign FC showed how quickly they can attack when Bethany Balcer took another shot for Reign FC in the 35th minute, but put the ball wide right. Pickett took a long distance try as well, but the ball went high again. The Pride definitely looked better following the weather delay, but still went into the half trailing 3-0.
At the half, Reign FC had nine shots with five on target compared to four shots with zero on target for the Pride. Reign FC also led with 57% of the possession to the Pride’s 43%.
The second half started at approximately 1:15 AM Eastern time. Once again, the Pride started the second half much like they did after the weather delay, creating a bit more difficulty than Reign FC had in the first 17 minutes of the first half. The Pride defense was up for the challenge in the 58th minute when Reign FC created some chances, but Harris was able to collect the ball.
In the 61st minute Emslie stole the ball at midfield, and earned a foul from Lauren Barnes just outside the area. Emslie took the kick, but sent it well over the crossbar. In the 69th minute Marisa Viggiano came on for Dani Weatherholt, as Marc Skinner looked to get more chances to get back in the match. Reign FC countered by bringing on Megan Rapinoe. It was the first time Rapinoe had really been in an NWSL match in nearly a year. Rapinoe made an immediate impact, with a shot on goal, followed by a corner kick that Harris was able to punch away.
In the 77th minute Camila brought the ball into the area, and Danica Evans earned a penalty kick when she was tripped from behind. Camila stepped up and gave the Pride their first goal of the match, and her first goal of the season, in the 79th minute.
In the 83rd minute Abby Elinski came on for Hill, as the Pride tried to bring the score closer. Emslie took the free kick in the 87th minute, but Murphy made the easy save. One minute later, Pickett took another long distance shot, but this one barely missed the upper right corner. Orlando continued to press with Evans missing high in the 90th minute from inside the area.
Despite two minutes of stoppage time, the Pride were unable to add to their goal total, falling 3-1 to Reign FC. The Pride ended with 12 shots, four on target to Reign FC’s 12 shots, and 6 on target. The Pride were only able to earn 42% possession to Reign FC’s 58%.
If not for a horrible first 17 minutes, the Pride were in the match. Unfortunately, the time before the weather delay counted. Despite the score, the Pride played a full 90 minutes and endured a 90-minute weather delay, making for a late night on the road.
Orlando has a quick turnaround, hosting the Chicago Red Stars Wednesday at 7 p.m.