Welcome to your match thread as the Orlando Pride (6-5-7, 25 points) host Racing Louisville FC (4-8-5, 17 points) at Exploria Stadium. It’s the third time the Pride will face Louisville this season, the second time in the NWSL regular season. The two teams will meet a final time this year on Oct. 16 in Louisville.
The Pride have only faced Louisville twice in team history, as this is the latter’s inaugural season. The first meeting came on April 10 in the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup in Louisville. An early goal by Cece Kizer was equalized by Taylor Kornieck just before the half. Abi Kim appeared to win it for the Pride in the 88th minute, but poor marking by Toni Pressley allowed Brooke Hendrix to equalize three minutes into second-half injury time, resulting in a 2-2 draw.
The teams met for the first time in regular season play on July 9 at Exploria Stadium. The visitors took the lead in the 21st minute when Kizer played a long ball for Ebony Salmon. The striker’s long run beat Pressley, shielded Ali Krieger, and put the ball past Ashlyn Harris inside the far post.
While Louisville stole a point in the first meeting, it was the Pride that equalized late in the second. In the fourth minute of injury time, Harris played a desperate ball forward into the box. The ball traveled through multiple players, just clearing the head of Kornieck, and meeting Sydney Leroux near the back post. The former U.S. international’s first-touch half-volley was to the far corner, allowing the Pride to claim a 1-1 draw.
The Pride enter tonight’s game in fourth in the NWSL. While they currently sit two points ahead of the Washington Spirit for the final playoff spot, Washington has played two fewer games. The Pride are coming off a 1-1 draw with the Houston Dash on Sunday. It was the third draw with Becky Burleigh (2-1-3) as interim head coach.
Racing Louisville enters this game in ninth place in the 10-team league. The visitors are six points behind Washington for the final playoff spot with seven games remaining in their inaugural NWSL season. Louisville is coming off a 1-1 draw with OL Reign last Saturday, breaking a two-game losing streak. Tonight’s opponent hasn’t won a game since beating fellow newbies Kansas City on Aug. 8.
“I feel like a broken record when I say this, but when I look at rosters and see all these amazing players on every roster, there’s no one that you can take for granted and (Racing Louisville) is no different,” Burleigh said about tonight’s opponent. “They’re very, very talented. Some of these players I know quite well from having (coached) against them in college. Some of them are internationals with tons of experience. In the end, I think we have to focus on what we need to get better at and we need to continue to see an upward rise in our play.”
The biggest absence for the Pride this weekend will be Harris (neck) who left last week’s game after a scramble in the box. That means that Erin McLeod, who played the last 23 minutes Sunday, will get her fourth start of the season. So far this year, the Canadian international has conceded two goals and made nine saves in 203 minutes of play.
A positive for the Pride is that Alex Morgan, who was injured in the bronze medal game against Australia, is off the injured list for the first time since returning from the Olympics. While Morgan is unlikely to start and it’s unknown how much she’ll play, it’s a big addition for a Pride team that has only scored multiple goals in one game since the Olympians left for Tokyo in late June.
In addition to the loss of Harris, the Pride will remain without Jade Moore (left knee) and Viviana Villacorta (knee). Courtney Petersen (right foot) and Carrie Lawrence (right ankle) will both be available for selection. Petersen has been out since Aug. 22 and Lawrence’s last appearance for the Pride was on July 9.
Louisville will play tonight’s game without Julia Ashley (right foot) and Addisyn Merrick (left ankle). Additionally, Emina Ekic (right leg) and Sinclaire Miramontez (right leg) are listed as questionable.
Orlando Pride (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Erin McLeod.
Defenders: Ali Riley, Amy Turner, Ali Krieger, Phoebe McClernon.
Midfielders: Meggie Dougherty Howard, Taylor Kornieck, Gunny Jonsdottir.
Forwards: Marta, Jodie Taylor, Sydney Leroux.
Bench: Brittany Wilson, Ally Haran, Courtney Petersen, Toni Pressley, Kylie Strom, Parker Roberts, Erika Tymrak, Marisa Viggiano, Alex Morgan.
Racing Louisville FC (4-4-2)
Goalkeeper: Michelle Betos.
Defenders: Emily Fox, Kaleigh Riehl, Gemma Bonner, Nealy Martin.
Midfielders: Freja Olofsson, Lauren Milliet, Savannah McCaskill, Cece Kizer.
Forwards: Jorian Baucom, Nadia Nadim.
Bench: Katie Lund, Erin Simon, Brooke Hendrix, Sinclaire Miramontez, Ebony Salmon, Cheyna Matthews, Yuki Nagasato, Katie McClure.
REF: Elton Garcia.
AR1: Tyler Wyrostek.
AR2: Tiffini Turpin.
4TH: Adam Brzozowiec.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7 p.m. ET.
Venue: Exploria Stadium — Orlando.
Streaming: Paramount+ (U.S.), Twitch (International).
Enjoy the Match. Go Pride!