Welcome to your match thread as the Orlando Pride (4-3-4, 16 points) host OL Reign (3-6-1, 10 points). The Pride will be looking to rebound after a tough loss in Portland as they face the Reign for the first time since 2019. This is the first of two scheduled meetings between the teams this season, with the Pride making the return trip to Washington state on Sept. 26.
The Pride and Reign have been playing since the NWSL came to Orlando in 2016. The two didn’t meet in 2020 after the Pride were forced to withdraw from the NWSL Challenge Cup and they were in separate groups for the Fall Series.
The 10 meetings between the two teams have been very even, with the Pride going 1-2-7 against the Reign (1-0-4 at home).
Oct. 12, 2019 was the last time the teams have played. Rachel Hill gave the Pride the lead, but Darian Jenkins and Jodie Taylor, who is now with the Pride, gave the visitors the lead before halftime. Marta’s 86th-minute equalizer gave the Pride a point in the last game that season. For the first time since 2016, a match-up between the two teams had a winner on Sept. 7, 2019 when a Jenkins brace lifted the Reign to a 3-1 win. On April 21, 2019 at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, the teams played their sixth straight draw and fifth 1-1 draw in six games. Alanna Kennedy gave the Pride a very early sixth-minute lead before the Reign equalized in the 21st minute through Bethany Balcer.
The Pride and Reign played three games against each other for the first time in 2018. The first meeting was on April 28 in Orlando and ended in another 1-1 draw. Allie Long opened the scoring in the 33rd minute and Marta equalized in the 61st minute. On June 3 the two teams were held scoreless but had yet another 1-1 draw on July 21. This time, the Pride took the lead in the 21st minute through Toni Pressley and the Reign equalized in the 70th with a Taylor goal.
The first meeting in 2017 occurred on May 21 in Seattle. Beverly Yanez gave the hosts the lead in the 40th minute and Marta equalized in the 52nd. The return game was on Sept. 7 at Orlando City Stadium. Once again, it finished as a 1-1 draw, but in unique circumstances. Alex Morgan appeared to have given the Pride the late win, scoring two minutes into injury time. However, the Reign quickly answered as Jessica Fishlock equalized two minutes later.
In 2016, the Pride and Reign met twice, back when the latter was known as the Seattle Reign. The Pride won that initial game 2-0, with goals by Sarah Hagen and Lianne Sanderson. On July 23, the rematch occurred in Seattle. This time, the Reign won 5-2. The hosts took a commanding 3-0 lead with goals by Kim Little, Jessica Fishlock, and Manon Melis before the Pride finally scored through Jasmyne Spencer. A fourth goal by Kendall Fletcher and an own goal by Pressley finished the job for the Reign, with Kristen Edmonds getting the Pride a late consolation goal.
The Pride started the season with a seven-game unbeaten streak but have struggled since the team’s Olympians have started departing. After claiming 15 points in seven games, the team has only gained one point in its last four games (0-3-1). The last game was a 2-1 loss to the Portland Thorns on Sunday night.
The last Reign game also occurred last Sunday. After taking the early lead, the Reign scored two own goals, giving the Chicago Red Stars the 2-1 advantage. Mallory Pugh scored a third for Chicago in the 64th minute, securing all three points.
The three losses for the Pride this season have been against three of the top six teams in the league. Tonight, the fifth place Pride will face a Reign team that currently sits in ninth of the 10-team NWSL.
With the women’s soccer tournament of the Summer Olympics fully underway, both teams will be missing key players. Regular starters Morgan (United States), Marta (Brazil), Ali Riley (New Zealand), and backup goalkeeper Erin McLeod (Canada) are absent from the Pride. The Reign have five players playing in Japan, including Nicole Momiki (Japan), Angelina (Brazil), Rose LaVelle (United States), Quinn (Canada), and Megan Rapinoe (United States).
The Pride have an added challenge with yesterday’s resignation of head coach Marc Skinner. His immediate departure leaves a vacancy in the position, which will be filled tonight by assistant Carl Green. However, Green also resigned, so this appears to be his last day on the Pride coaching staff.
“The Reign have some wonderful players and are obviously a very good team, so I’m looking forward to facing that challenge with our team,” Green said of tonight’s opponent. “My approach [to coaching] is very much based off Marc’s approach. I’ve worked with him for six years, so there’s not a lot of change in my opinion on strategy, on the game plan, etcetera.”
A positive for the Pride is that everyone except the Olympians will be available for selection. The only players on the injury report are those missing because of international duty.
The Reign will be missing Ally Watt to a knee injury and Rosie White due to illness. Additionally, starting striker Balcer is listed as questionable with a left ankle injury.
Orlando Pride (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Ashlyn Harris.
Defenders: Kylie Strom, Amy Turner, Phoebe McClernon, Ali Krieger.
Midfielders: Courtney Petersen, Marisa Viggiano, Gunny Jonsdottir.
Forwards: Sydney Leroux, Jodie Taylor, Taylor Kornieck.
Bench: Brittany Wilson, Ally Haran, Konya Plummer, Toni Pressley, Meggie Dougherty Howard, Erika Tymrak, Chelsee Washington, Abi Kim, Crystal Thomas.
OL Reign (4-2-1-3)
Goalkeeper: Sarah Bouhaddi.
Defenders: Lauren Barnes, Sam Hiatt, Alana Cook, Madison Hammond.
Defensive Midfielders: Dani Weatherholt, Jessica Fishlock.
Midfielders: Dzsenifer Marozsan.
Forwards: Tziarra King, Eugenie Le Sommer, Sofia Huerta.
Bench: Ella Dederick, Machaela George, Amber Brooks, Shirley Cruz, Bethany Balcer, Celia Delgado, Kelcie Hedge, Jimena Lopez, Kristen McNabb.
REF: John Matto.
AR1: Alicia Messer.
AR2: Cassie Anderson.
4TH: Anya Voigt.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7 p.m.
Venue: Exploria Stadium — Orlando.
Enjoy the match. Go Pride!