Welcome to your match thread as the Orlando Pride (5-5-6, 21 points) take on NJ/NY Gotham FC (5-4-6, 21 points) at Red Bull Arena. This will be the second of three meetings between the two teams in the 2021 NWSL regular season. Gotham will return to Exploria Stadium on Oct. 9.
The Pride and Gotham FC, formerly known as Sky Blue FC, have played every year since 2016, except 2020. It’s been a pretty even series between the two teams, with the Pride leading 5-4-4 overall and 5-3-4 in NWSL regular-season games.
The most recent game between the two teams came on June 20 at Exploria Stadium. It appeared as though a late first-half goal by Caprice Dydasco would give the visitors all three points. However, Marta set up Courtney Petersen in second-half injury time, allowing the Pride to come away with a 1-1 draw.
While the draw was the first time the two teams played during the regular season in 2021, it was their second match-up of the year. The two teams also played on April 14 in the NWSL Challenge Cup. The Pride dominated the game statistically, including shots and shots on target, but were unable to convert. Gotham took advantage of the Pride’s lack of finishing, scoring the winning goal in the 79th minute, with Paige Monaghan lifting Gotham to a 1-0 win.
The global pandemic and the Pride’s withdrawal from the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup meant that the most recent game prior to 2021 came during the 2019 regular season. The teams first met that year on June 22, 2019. Two penalties and an own goal accounted for the scoring as the Pride ended a 15-game winless streak with a 2-1 win.
The teams met again on June 20, 2019. Marisa Viggiano netted her first professional goal in a 1-0 Pride victory. The third and final meeting of 2019 was on Sept. 29. Shelina Zadorsky gave the Pride the 18th-minute lead, but Carli Lloyd equalized in the 88th minute, allowing Sky Blue to avoid the season sweep.
The Pride and Sky Blue FC met three times for the second consecutive year in 2018. A Sydney Leroux brace and Rachel Hill winner lifted the Pride to a 3-2 win in the first game. The second game saw three goals in nine minutes, as the teams drew 2-2. The final meeting in 2018 was the final game of the season, as Lloyd’s 74th-minute goal gave Sky Blue a 1-0 win.
The 2017 season was the first time the teams met three times in a season, with the Pride taking two of the three games. Sky Blue took the first game 2-1 on May 27, with Sam Kerr and Maya Hayes leading the hosts back after Jasmyne Spencer had put Orlando ahead, but the Pride took the remaining games, winning 3-2 away and 5-0 at home.
The Pride come into this game sitting in sixth place in the NWSL — the final playoff spot. However, only one point separates the sixth-place team from the third position in the standings.
The most recent game was a disappointing 2-1 loss to the Washington Spirit last weekend. Ashley Sanchez’s 89th-minute strike was the difference at Audi Field, handing interim head coach Becky Burleigh her first loss with the Pride.
Gotham come into this game sitting in fifth place, just ahead of the Pride. However, they’re on a five-game winless streak and a two-game losing streak. Their most recent game was a 2-1 loss to the Portland Thorns last weekend.
This will be the last game that Gotham plays with head coach Freya Coombe, who accepted the job as Angel City FC’s first head coach last week.
“I bet they want to send (Freya Coombe) out on a good note,” Burleigh said ahead of the game. “So I think that just adds a little more drama to this game. But I really respect this Gotham team. I love the way they play. I think they have a very solid team.”
A major difference from the last time these two teams met is that it will feature Lloyd, who missed the last meeting.
“(Lloyd) poses a huge offensive threat for us, for sure,” Burleigh said. “She’s someone we need to be very aware of. And I really admire Allie Long’s ability to run the midfield for them. I think she’s a player that is just so consistent. From top to bottom, they’re a very good team.”
The Pride enter this game as short-handed as they’ve been in quite a while. Courtney Petersen (right foot) and Crystal Thomas (excused absence) join an injury list that already featured Carrie Lawrence (right ankle), Jade Moore (left knee), Viviana Villacorta (SEI), and Alex Morgan (left calf) — all are out. Additionally, Amy Turner (right leg) is listed as questionable for this game.
While Gotham has fewer injuries than the Pride, it will still be missing some key players. Mandy Freeman (left knee), Monaghan (left hamstring), and Midge Purce (left quad) are all listed as out for the game.
Orlando Pride (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Ashlyn Harris.
Defenders: Ali Riley, Toni Pressley, Ali Krieger, Phoebe McClernon.
Midfielders: Meggie Dougherty Howard, Erika Tymrak, Gunny Jonsdottir.
Forwards: Marta, Jodie Taylor, Sydney Leroux.
Bench: Erin McLeod, Ally Haran, Kylie Strom, Taylor Kornieck, Parker Roberts, Chelsee Washington, Marisa Viggiano, Abi Kim.
NJ/NY Gotham FC (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Kailen Sheridan.
Defenders: Imani Dorsey, Estelle Johnson, Gina Lewandowski, Caprice Dydasco.
Midfielders: Allie Long, Sodam Lee, McCall Zerboni.
Forwards: Nahomi Kawasumi, Carli Lloyd, Ifeoma Onumonu.
Bench: DiDi Haracic, Brianna Pinto, Jennifer Cudjoe, Sabrina Flores, Domi Richardson, Delanie Sheehan, Elizabeth Eddy, Evelyne Viens, Gaetane Thiney.
REF: Kevin Broadley.
AR1: Justen Lopez.
AR2: Alex Focea.
4TH: Christain Centeno.
How to Watch
Match Time: 5:30 p.m. ET.
Venue: Red Bull Arena — Harrison, NJ.
Streaming: Paramount+ (U.S.), Twitch (International).
Enjoy the match. Go Pride!