Welcome to your match thread as the Orlando Pride (7-5-7, 28 points) travel to Washington to take on OL Reign (10-7-2, 32 points). This is the second and final time the two teams will face off during the 2021 NWSL regular season.
The Pride and Reign have met 11 times since 2016, with the Pride having a record of 1-3-7 against tonight’s opponent. The only Pride win came in the first meeting between the teams at Camping World Stadium.
The most recent meeting between the two teams came on July 24 in Orlando. The Pride entered the game with a three-game losing streak and it was the last game before Becky Burleigh took over as interim head coach. Jess Fishlock gave the visitors the lead within 10 minutes, taking advantage of a disorganized Pride defense.
It appeared as though the Pride had equalized in the 39th minute, but Sydney Leroux was wrongfully called offside. The Reign took advantage of the officiating mistake, doubling their lead in the 51st minute through Tziarra King. Ashlyn Harris kept the Pride in the game with a penalty save on Fishlock in the 62nd minute, but it wasn’t enough as the Pride were unable to convert on the other end, losing 2-0.
Due to the global pandemic and the Pride’s withdrawal from the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup, the Pride and Reign hadn’t met since 2019 prior to this season. The two foes met three times that year, with the Pride going 0-1-2. On April 21, 2019, Alanna Kennedy gave the Pride the early lead in Tacoma. However, Allie Long set up Bethany Balcer in the 21st minute for the equalizer, resulting in a 1-1 draw.
The second meeting occurred on Sept. 7, 2019, again in Tacoma. The Reign had a fast start, scoring three goals in the first 17 minutes. Darian Jenkins scored a 12-minute brace and Beverly Yanez also scored inside 20 minutes. Camila pulled one back for the Pride with a 79th-minute penalty conversion, but the Pride fell 3-1. On Oct. 21, the teams ended the season against each other in Orlando. Rachel Hill gave the Pride the lead in the 24th minute before the Reign scored two unanswered through Jenkins in the 34th minute and current Pride forward Jodie Taylor in the 41st. However, Marta pulled out a late 86th-minute goal, allowing the Pride to come away with a season-ending 2-2 draw.
The 2018 season saw the Pride and Reign even with three draws. On Apr. 28, 2018, Allie Long’s 33rd-minute strike was equaled by Marta’s 61st-minute equalizer as the teams drew 1-1 in Orlando. The second meeting came on June 3 at Seattle Center, with the teams drawing 0-0. The final game between the teams that season was on July 21, 2018 in Orlando. Toni Pressley gave the Pride the 21st-minute lead, but Taylor equalized in the 70th minute, resulting in a 1-1 draw.
The Pride and Reign only faced off twice in 2017, drawing both games. On May 21, 2017, Yanez gave the Reign the lead at home in the 40th minute. Brazilians Camila and Marta connected in the 52nd minute, with the latter scoring the equalizer and pulling out a 1-1 draw. The second meeting came on Sept. 7, 2017 in Orlando. It appeared as though the teams would play their first scoreless draw before Morgan scored two minutes into injury time. However, the celebrations were cut short as Fishlock equalized two minutes later and the teams left with an unlikely 1-1 result.
The first meeting between the two teams came during the 2016 season, the Pride’s first in existence. The team’s second-ever home game came against the Reign at Camping World Stadium on May 8, 2016. Alex Morgan set up Sarah Hagen in the 11th minute and Lianne Sanderson doubled the lead in the 87th as the Pride won 2-0. The return game came on July 23, 2016 in Seattle. The Reign took a commanding three-goal lead in 47 minutes with goals by Kim Little, Fishlock, and Manon Melis. Jasmyne Spencer got one back for the Pride in the 52nd minute, but Kendall Fletcher quickly responded in the 56th. A late own goal by Pressley and a Kristen Edmonds strike ended the game with a 5-2 Pride loss.
After struggling for the better part of two months, the Pride have played well lately, claiming points in each of the last three games. A wonderstrike by Erika Tymrak gave the Pride a 1-0 win over Gotham FC on Aug. 29. A week later, it was Taylor Kornieck with a late goal to cancel out an early Rachel Daly goal in a 1-1 draw with Houston.
The Pride took advantage of some poor Louisville finishing and timely strikes in the team’s last outing on Sept. 11. Goals by Leroux, Marta, and Morgan lifted the Pride to an important 3-1 win. The victory pushed the Pride up to fourth after they had slid down the standings. They now sit just one point behind the North Carolina Courage for third, and four points behind the Reign for second.
Similar to the Pride, the Reign come into this game on a good run of form. After losing to Kansas City 1-0 on Aug. 14, the Reign have claimed points in five straight games. A three-game winning streak was ended by Louisville on Sept. 4. They were looking to bounce back on Sept. 12 against the Washington Spirit, but the game was called a forfeit for the Reign due to the Spirit breaking COVID protocols. As a result, the Reign were handed a 3-0 win.
While the Reign are coming into this game on a good run of form, they haven’t played a game in three weeks.
“It’s never easy when you’re making that (cross-country) trip but we expect there’s going to be great competition there and I think everyone is excited about playing against that (Reign) roster. It’s a very talented roster,” Burleigh said about the upcoming match. “They just have a lot of talent, especially in their front six. That’s a group that can do things that other teams can’t and then you back that up with a solid defense, and they’re a pretty complete team. We have to all be committed to being on the same page in what we do defensively as a team.”
The Pride attack is as strong as it’s been in months, with Marta, Leroux, Morgan, and Taylor all available. However, success in this game will depend on the defense. As Burleigh mentioned this week, the Reign have a front six full of international talent, including Rose Lavelle (United States), Quinn (Canada), Eugenie Le Sommer (France), and Megan Rapinoe (United States), when healthy.
The Reign have an extensive injury list this week. While Amber Brooks and Machaela George are currently under the league’s COVID protocol, Kelcie Hedge (excused absence), Rapinoe (right thigh), and Rosie White (illness) are also listed as out.
The big news for the Pride this weekend is the return of Harris. The star goalkeeper rejoins the starting lineup after being injured against the Houston Dash on Sept. 5. While Harris returns to the lineup, backup goalkeeper Erin McLeod (right knee) joins Jade Moore (left knee) and Viviana Villacorta (SEI) on the injured list.
Orlando Pride (3-4-3)
Goalkeeper: Ashlyn Harris.
Defenders: Amy Turner, Ali Krieger, Ali Riley.
Midfielders: Courtney Petersen, Meggie Dougherty Howard, Gunny Jonsdottir, Jodie Taylor.
Forwards: Alex Morgan, Taylor Kornieck, Sydney Leroux.
Bench: Brittany Wilson, Phoebe McClernon, Toni Pressley, Kylie Strom, Parker Roberts, Erika Tymrak, Marisa Viggiano, Abi Kim, Marta.
OL Reign (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Sarah Bouhaddi.
Defenders: Kristen McNabb, Alanna Cook, Lauren Barnes, Sofia Huerta.
Midfielders: Rose Lavelle, Quinn, Jess Fishlock.
Forwards: Eugenie Le Sommer, Dzsenifer Marozsan, Bethany Balcer.
Bench: Angelina, Celia, Steph Cox, Shirley Cruz, Sam Hiatt, Tziarra King, Leah Pruitt, Phallon Tullis-Joyce, Dani Weatherholt.
REF: Malik Badawi.
AR1: Katarzyna Wasiak.
AR2: Melissa Beck.
4TH: Adorae Monroy.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7 p.m. ET.
Venue: Cheney Stadium — Tacoma, WA.
Streaming: Twitch (Global).
Twitter: For live updates, follow along at the Orlando Pride’s official Twitter feed (@ORLPride) and on The Mane Land’s Twitter (@TheManeLand).
Enjoy the match. Go Pride!