The Orlando Pride entered Saturday evening looking for consecutive wins for the first time since May 26 and 30 of last year. The Pride went on the road and got a win over Angel City and had the Kansas City Current coming to Exploria Stadium. The Current had yet to win or even score a goal in the regular season and Orlando got two wins in the season series a year ago, so the Pride had to feel good about their chances.
The Pride played well for the game’s first hour and took a 1-0 lead on a Gunny Jonsdottir goal. But, much like the game at Angel City, Orlando wasted a number of good scoring opportunities. Unlike the game at Angel City, this time it cost the Pride points in an eventual 2-2 draw.
The best of those opportunities came when Leah Pruitt found herself in all alone on Adrianna Franch. The keeper came off her line and Pruitt rounded her to the outside. With perhaps more space and time than she knew she had, Pruitt hurried a shot on target rather than cutting back toward goal to improve her angle. The shot slammed off the woodwork and stayed out, letting Kansas City off the hook.
The Current got hold of the game in the second half and the Pride began to look a bit panicked, failing time after time to break out of their own end. Credit to Kansas City for keeping the pressure on and creating chances out of it, but Orlando could have handled it better. Things started to slip away. The Current got a goal from Elyse Bennett to tie things up with 12 minutes still to play. Erin McLeod made some huge saves down the stretch but couldn’t stop Kristen Hamilton from giving Kansas City the lead in the 91st minute.
Just as it seemed all was lost, the Pride responded. Kylie Strom sent a spinning shot on target that required a good save from Franch to keep it out. Moments later, Strom was first to the ball. Desiree Scott came from behind Strom and reached a toe around to get a piece of the ball but the challenge from behind was too strong and she bundled Strom dangerously into another player. The referee initially signaled for a Pride free kick but the foul clearly took place inside the area. The referee conferred with the other officials and awarded the penalty.
Toni Pressley slammed the spot kick under the bar to tie the match and that’s how it ended.
We hope you enjoy these images from a hard-fought draw at Exploria Stadium. While it wasn’t a Pride victory, Orlando picked up points in back-to-back matches and had the better of the play for longer than in the Angel City match. It’s something on which Pride Head Coach Amanda Cromwell can build.
Images: Dan MacDonald
Words: Michael Citro