Welcome to your match thread as the Orlando Pride (0-1-1, 1 point) return home to face NJ/NY Gotham FC (0-1-1, 1 point). The Pride are coming off a 1-0 loss in North Carolina and have yet to score in the team’s first two Challenge Cup games. Tonight, the Pride welcome back two important figures in the club’s history as they look to get their first win.
The Pride have been facing Gotham FC since 2016, back when tonight’s opponent was known as Sky Blue FC. The teams have met 15 times, with the Pride leading the all-time series, 6-5-4 in all competitions, and Gotham won the only Challenge Cup match-up last year in Orlando. Additionally, the Pride are 3-2-2 at home against Gotham.
The most recent match-up between the two teams came on Oct. 9, 2021 at Exploria Stadium. The visitors took a commanding 3-0 lead in the 50th minute, with Gaetane Thiney netting a brace. The Pride attempted to come back with an 84th-minute goal by Erika Tymrak and an 85th-minute penalty by Marta. But it wasn’t enough as the Pride fell 3-2.
The Pride played Gotham three other times in 2021. On Aug. 29 at Red Bull Arena, Tymrak’s long-range strike was the difference as the Pride took home a 1-0 result. The first 2021 regular-season match-up between the teams was on June 20, when a late first-half goal by Caprice Dydasco was equalized by Courtney Petersen in the 90th minute.
The only non-regular season meeting between the two came in last year’s NWSL Challenge Cup at Exploria Stadium. Paige Monaghan scored the game’s only goal in the 79th minute, handing the Pride their only loss of the Challenge Cup.
Since the two teams didn’t meet in 2020 due to the pandemic, the last meeting prior to last year was in 2019. The first game was on June 22 in New Jersey. Chioma Ubogagu gave the Pride a first-half lead from the spot, but Sarah Killion equalized in the 67th minute. It looked to be headed for a draw, but a Gina Lewandowski own goal in the 81st minute ended the Pride’s 15-game winless streak.
The two teams met again on July 20, 2019 in Orlando where Marisa Viggiano scored her debut goal in a 1-0 Pride win. The final meeting in 2019 was on Sept. 29 in New Jersey. Shelina Zadorsky gave the Pride an 18th-minute lead, but Carli Lloyd equalized late to pull out a 1-1 draw.
The Pride and Sky Blue played three games in 2018. On June 16, a Sydney Leroux brace and a late Rachel Hill winner lifted the Pride to a 3-2 win. They met again in Orlando on Aug. 5, where Marta and Dani Weatherholt goals helped the Pride claim a 2-2 draw. After nine goals in two games, the Sept. 8, 2018 meeting was a low-scoring affair as Lloyd’s 74th-minute goal was the difference in a 1-0 Sky Blue win.
The teams met three times in 2017. The first game on May 27, 2017 ended in a 2-1 Sky Blue win. The Pride responded well to that loss, taking the final two meetings of the season with scores of 3-2 in New Jersey and 5-0 in Orlando.
The first time the two teams played was in 2016, the Pride’s inaugural season. The two games came three days apart, occurring on Sept. 7 and Sept. 10. After a 1-1 draw in the first meeting in New Jersey, Sky Blue got the better of the Pride in Orlando, claiming a 2-1 win.
This the third of six games for the Pride in the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup. The opening game was a scoreless draw against the defending NWSL champion Washington Spirit. They backed that up with another strong defensive showing in North Carolina, only conceding a penalty on a controversial handball by Gunny Jonsdottir.
The problem for the Pride this year has been on the offensive end. In the first game, the Spirit dominated the first 30 minutes of both halves. Only late in each period did the Pride create chances. It was worse in the second game in North Carolina, where the Courage dominated all 90 minutes of play.
Making matters worse for the Pride was a first-half injury to Marta on Saturday. The Pride captain tried to play off the injury but couldn’t continue. Later it was revealed that the Brazilian star will need surgery, leaving her unavailable for the foreseeable future.
Gotham has had a similar start to the Pride. However, tonight’s opponent hasn’t been as strong defensively. The New Jersey-based club lost 2-0 in its first game in North Carolina and responded with a 1-1 draw away to the Washington Spirit.
“We both want to win, we both want a result,” Pride Head Coach Amanda Cromwell said about the upcoming game. “I think that’s the stage for that game, is two teams that really want to get on the scoreboard and get a good result. I think the positive is that we haven’t given up a goal in the run of play. Our team defense has been very good. We’ve worked very hard on that in transition moments, counter pressing. So I think if we keep that up and look to get one or two (goals), we’ll be in good shape.”
After losing star striker Lloyd to retirement, Gotham went big this off-season. On Dec. 6, the Pride traded captain Ashlyn Harris and defender Ali Krieger to Gotham for two draft picks and allocation money. This will be the first time that the goalkeeper and center back will face the Pride since the trade.
The only player added to the Pride’s list of those out is Marta after suffering a left knee injury in North Carolina. She joins a list that includes Abi Kim (left thigh), Caitlin Cosme (D45), Julie Doyle (right ankle), and Viviana Villacorta (right knee). Additionally, Carrie Lawrence (left thigh) and Erin McLeod (right knee) are listed as questionable. Gotham will be without Sabrina Flores (right knee) and Allie Long (excused absence).
Orlando Pride (4-4-2)
Goalkeeper: Anna Moorhouse.
Defenders: Courtney Petersen, Amy Turner, Toni Pressley, Kylie Strom.
Midfielders: Meggie Dougherty Howard, Gunny Jonsdottir, Mikayla Cluff, Mikayla Cluff.
Forwards: Erika Tymrak, Sydney Leroux.
Bench: Kaylie Collins, Megan Montefusco, Chelsee Washington, Leah Pruitt, Darian Jenkins, Kerry Abello, Parker Roberts, Celia.
NJ/NY Gotham FC (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Ashlyn Harris.
Defenders: Imani Dorsey, Mandy Freeman, Ali Krieger, Caprice Dydasco.
Midfielders: Nahomi Kawasumi, Kristie Mewis, McCall Zerboni.
Forwards: Ifeoma Onumonu, Paige Monaghan, Midge Purce.
Bench: Michelle Betos, Cameron Tucker, Nicole Baxter, Taryn Torres, Gina Lewandowski, Kumi Yokoyama, Domi Richardson, Ellie Jean, Estelle Johnson.
REF: Anya Voigt.
AR1: Tiffini Turpin.
AR2: Shane Kennard.
4TH: Emma Richards.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7 p.m.
Venue: Exploria Stadium — Orlando.
Streaming: Paramount+ (U.S.), Twitch (International).
Enjoy the match. Go Pride!