Welcome to your match thread as the Orlando Pride take on the Washington Spirit at Audi Field in the nation’s capital. This is the second of three meetings between the teams this season. The Pride and Spirit played on opening weekend in a 1-1 match. The final match-up is scheduled for Aug. 22 in Washington, D.C.
The all-time series between the two teams is tied 5-5-3 (W-L-D) in all competitive matches, with the Spirit holding a 5-4-3 edge in regular-season play. The teams last played on May 16. It was a fairly even match, and a draw seems a good result for both teams. Ashley Hatch scored for the Spirit, and Alex Morgan tied things up for the Pride in a 1-1 final.
The Pride won the meeting before that, 1-0 in the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup on April 21, thanks to an Ashlyn Harris penalty kick save (along with eight other saves). Washington was the better team for much of the game. Orlando was on the back foot and under immense pressure. However, Sydney Leroux scored in the 10th minute after a great takeaway and through ball from Alex Morgan. Orlando did enough defensively to then keep the shutout.
Orlando held the slight advantage in 2019 before back-to-back wins from the Spirit. The Pride lost 3-0 on Oct. 5, 2019. Current Orlando Pride forward Crystal Thomas was with Washington for that match, scoring a goal and recording an assist. Marc Skinner talked about “individual errors” costing the Pride the game after that match.
The Pride fell 2-1, due in part to an Ashlyn Harris howler, on Aug. 24, 2019. 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 of the 2019 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 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 that season was on Mar. 31. 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. 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 scored 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 — the second-highest home attendance for the Pride in team history.
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 as the Pride won 3-0. Morgan, Camila, and Marta all found the back of the net and Bledsoe earned a shutout for Orlando.
The Orlando Pride come into this match as the best team in the league. Orlando is in first place in the NWSL and the only team unbeaten, but Washington is just behind, entering the weekend in second place. Morgan has scored in each game so far and has the most goals in the league. But more than Morgan’s scoring input, the Pride’s defense has been stellar.
However, the Spirit are the only team so far this season to take points from Orlando. Both teams had chances to win. Washington has a powerful attack with many players that have the ability to find the back of the net at any moment.
“[Washington are] a great team with good, forward-thinking organization,” Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner said. “It will be a very difficult game and we’re going to (be) their home opener so it will be a real tough one. We expect it to be tough but we also expect to have the opportunity to go and continue [being] who we are, continue to develop what we’ve been doing, and continue to progress and challenge ourselves against a very good opponent in their backyard. We’ve been away, we’ve had difficult games and now we need to go and have another one. I don’t think there’s any easy games in this league so we’ve just got to do what we do, continue to progress and try to work hard at it.”
Hatch is a player to keep an eye on for the Spirit. She has five goals in 10 matches against the Pride, including one in the seasoner opener. She has two goals this season, which is a team high. Trinity Rodman is another player to watch for. She had a breakout performance in the Challenge Cup and continues to be a focal point in Washington’s attack.
Orlando will still be without Jade Moore (left knee). Leroux also joins the injury report this week. She is questionable with a left thigh injury. Backup goalkeeper Erin McLeod is out on international duty. The Pride signed Kaylie Collins as a National Team Replacement player, but expect Brittany Wilson to sit the bench.
Averie Collins (ACL), Bayley Feist (ACL), and Paige Nielsen (right thigh) are out for the Spirit. Sydney Schneider (JAM) and Saori Takarada (JPN) will also miss the match because of international call-ups.
Orlando Pride (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Ashlyn Harris.
Defenders: Courtney Petersen, Phoebe McClernon, Ali Krieger, Ali Riley.
Defensive Midfielders: Meggie Dougherty Howard, Gunny Jónsdóttir.
Midfielders: Taylor Kornieck, Marisa Viggiano, Marta.
Forward: Alex Morgan.
Bench: Brittany Wilson, Toni Pressley, Chelsee Washington, Ally Haran, Abi Kim, Konya Plummer, Crystal Thomas, Erika Tymrak.
Washington Spirit (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Aubrey Bledsoe.
Defenders: Tori Huster, Kelley O’Hara, Emily Sonnett, Sam Staab.
Midfielders: Andi Sullivan, Julia Roddar, Tara McKeown.
Forwards: Ashley Sanchez, Ashley Hatch, Trinity Rodman.
Bench: Anna Heilferty, Devon Kerr, Kumi Yokoyama, Jordan DiBiasi, Tara McKeown, Dorian Bailey, Mariana Speckmaier, Camryn Biegalski.
Ref: Adorae Monroy.
AR1: Ben Pilgrim.
AR2: Max Smith.
4th: Nickrod Fateh.
How to Watch
Match Time: 2 p.m. ET.
Venue: Audi Field — Washington, D.C.
Streaming: Paramount+ (U.S.), Twitch (International).
Enjoy the match. Go Pride!