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Orlando Pride vs. North Carolina Courage: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, Match Thread, and More

The Pride wrap up their 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup home schedule as they welcome the North Carolina Courage to Exploria Stadium.

SOCCER: JUL 04 NWSL - NC Courage at Orlando Pride Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Welcome to your match thread as the Orlando Pride (0-3-1, 1 point) host the North Carolina Courage (2-0-2, 8 points) in the club’s final home game of the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup. While the Pride have already been eliminated from the tournament, the Courage currently lead the East Division.

Here’s what you need to know ahead of tonight’s game.

History

The Pride and Courage have played 16 times since the Courage relocated from Rochester, NY, to Cary, NC, in 2017. In that time, the Pride are 3-9-4 (3-8-1 in the NWSL regular season, 0-0-2 in the Fall Series, and 0-1-1 in the NWSL Challenge Cup). North Carolina has won seven of the last 12 meetings and has outscored the Pride, 37-15.

This is the second meeting between the two teams this year. The first came on March 26 in North Carolina. The difference was a 61st-minute penalty conversion by Merritt Mathias after Gunny Jonsdottir was called for a handball. While the Courage won 1-0, the bigger moment came early in the game when Marta went down injured. She tried to continue playing but it was later revealed that the Pride captain suffered a torn ACL and will be out for the 2022 season.

Prior to the most recent meeting, the teams played three times last season. The first came on May 22 in North Carolina. Sydney Leroux gave the Pride the lead in the 36th minute and Alex Morgan doubled the advantage in the 79th minute. Jessica McDonald got a consolation goal for the hosts in the 88th minute but the Pride came away with a 2-1 win.

They then met on July 4 in Orlando. Debinha gave the Courage the lead just three minutes into the game and Havana Solaun doubled the visitors’ advantage in the 66th minute. The Pride were unable to respond as they fell 2-0. The rubber match was on July 31 in Cary. Leroux gave the Pride the lead in the 50th minute. But Brittany Ratcliffe equalized for the Courage two minutes later, securing a 1-1 draw.

The three meetings prior to the 2021 regular season were all tournament games and all draws. In the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup, the teams played to a scoreless draw in North Carolina. They also met twice during the 2020 Fall Series. The first was another scoreless draw in Cary. The second saw the Pride come back from a 3-0 deficit at halftime to draw 3-3 with goals by Marisa Viggiano, Kristen Edmonds, and Ally Haran.

The three match-ups between the Pride and Courage in 2019 were one-sided for the North Carolina-based side. A 5-0 demolishing in North Carolina on Apr. 17 was followed by a 3-0 drubbing on June 1 in Orlando. The Pride did score a goal in the final match-up that year through Rachel Hill, but were still thoroughly outplayed in a 6-1 defeat.

Like 2019, the Pride lost all three games against the Courage in 2018. However, those games were closer. The first was a wild 4-3 affair on May 23, 2018. The Courage took a 3-1 lead before Alanna Kennedy and Hill pulled even. But McDonald netted the winner for the Courage in the 90th minute. North Carolina dominated the next two games with 3-0 wins.

The first season that the Pride and Courage met was in 2017. The first-ever meeting was on Apr. 29, 2017, which the Courage won 3-1. The second game saw the Pride snap a 12-game losing streak, winning 3-1. The final meeting that year came in the last game of the season. Goals by Edmonds, Marta, and Kennedy bested a Lynn Williams brace as the Pride won 3-2.

Overview

Tonight, the Pride will play their final home game of the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup. It’s been a rough tournament for the Orlando-based side. After holding the defending NWSL champion Washington Spirit to a scoreless draw in the opener, the Pride have dropped three straight and have scored just one goal.

While the team has had three straight losses, only the most recent game has been out of hand. The first loss was the March 26 1-0 loss to North Carolina. The Pride played much better in the following game at home against NJ/NY Gotham FC, ending with more possession, shots, and passes. However, Midge Purce’s 86th-minute goal gave the visitors a 1-0 win.

The most recent game was the toughest one for the Pride. After holding the Spirit scoreless in the first game, Washington dominated the Pride at Audi Field. Ashley Sanchez and Andi Sullivan gave the Spirit a 2-0 lead just before halftime and Ashley Hatch made it 3-0 four minutes into the second half. Gunny Jonsdottir got one back for the Pride but it ended 4-1 to the Spirit.

The Pride now welcome the team that sits atop the East Division in the 2022 Challenge Cup. The Courage started their tournament strong, coming away with a 2-0 win over Gotham FC and a 1-0 win over the Pride — both at home. They followed those games with a 2-2 draw in Washington and a scoreless draw in New Jersey.

The Courage are led offensively by their Brazilian star, Debinha. The 30-year-old forward has scored two of the team’s six goals in just three games. Only half of the Courage’s goals this year have been assisted and two of those assists have come from former Pride defender Carson Pickett.

“We expect a lot of the same (from the last match). They’re a team that doesn’t change much from their tactics with a box midfield and their two-front,” Pride Head Coach Amanda Cromwell said of the Courage. “They’re a challenge because nobody really plays with that system, so we’re watching a lot of video in preparation of their last couple games and especially our game. I know we can do a lot better from the last result in terms of how we can play better and get more of the ball.”

The Pride have suffered several injuries during this tournament, which will give some of the younger players a chance at significant minutes. Players out for this game include Caitlin Cosme (D45), Viviana Villacorta (right knee), Marta (knee), Erin McLeod (right knee), Leroux (left achilles), and Parker Roberts (right ankle). Additionally, Angharad James is on international duty with Wales.


Official Lineups

Orlando Pride (4-4-2)

Goalkeeper: Anna Moorhouse.

Defenders: Courtney Petersen, Toni Pressley, Megan Montefusco, Kylie Strom.

Midfielders: Erika Tymrak, Celia, Meggie Dougherty Howard, Mikayla Cluff.

Forwards: Darian Jenkins, Leah Pruitt.

Bench: Kaylie Collins, Abi Kim, Julie Doyle, Chelsee Washington, Carrie Lawrence, Gunny Jonsdottir, Kerry Abello, Amy Turner.

North Carolina Courage (4-3-3)

Goalkeeper: Katelyn Rowland.

Defenders: Carson Pickett, Abby Erceg, Kaleigh Kurtz, Merritt Mathias.

Midfielders: Debinha, Denise O’Sullivan, Meredith Speck.

Forwards: Jaelene Daniels, Kiki Pickett, Taylor Smith.

Bench: Rylee Baisden, Jorian Baucom, Marisa Bova, Katie Bowen, Emily Gray, Kerolin Nicoli, Diana Ordonez, Brianna Pinto, Ryan Williams.

Referees

REF: Alyssa Nichols.

AR1: Melissa Gonzalez.

AR2: Ben Rigel.

4TH: Melinda Sopka.


How to Watch

Match Time: 7 p.m.

Venue: Exploria Stadium — Orlando.

TV: None.

Streaming: Paramount+ (U.S.), Twitch (International).

Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, follow along @ManeLandSean and the Orlando Pride’s official Twitter feed (@ORLPride).


Enjoy the match. Go Pride!