Welcome to your match thread as the Orlando Pride (0-1-0, 0 points) travel to California for the first time to face Angel City FC (1-0-0, 3 points). This will be the first-ever meeting and the first of two games this year between the two teams. The return game will take place at Exploria Stadium on Aug. 7.
Angel City, along with San Diego Wave FC, is one of two new teams to join the NWSL in 2022. As such, this is the first time that the two teams will meet. However, while the teams have yet to play each other, there is some history with multiple players. Former Pride players Ali Riley, Jasmyne Spencer, and Dani Weatherholt have joined the Los Angeles-based team for its inaugural season.
It’s been a tough start to the 2022 season for the Pride as they remain winless after seven competitive games. The team went 0-4-2 in the Challenge Cup to begin the campaign, failing to score in their first three games. When they were finally able to create some offense, the team’s defense fell apart. After conceding just two goals in the opening three games, the Pride conceded eight goals in the following two matches.
It didn’t get much better for the Pride in the team’s first NWSL regular season game against NJ/NY Gotham FC at Exploria Stadium. Despite a decent start, the team conceded three times in the final 15 minutes of the first half. The Pride dominated possession the second 45 minutes, but that was largely because Gotham FC was simply trying to see out the 3-0 win.
There are some positives to take from the team’s loss in the season opener. The team lost several key players to injury during the Challenge Cup, but some are starting to return. Goalkeeper Erin McLeod returned from injury and Sydney Leroux played the final 45 minutes. As a result, it’s expected that both are ready to rejoin the starting lineup as the season continues.
Angel City joins the NWSL as one of the most anticipated teams in league history. In addition to being in the country’s second-largest market, owners include Hollywood stars and several former U.S. internationals. The team made more headlines when they acquired U.S. star and Los Angeles native Christen Press.
Despite the hype, Angel City has struggled as most expansion teams do. They started the Challenge Cup 0-4-1 before getting their first-ever competitive win in the final game against the Portland Thorns. They followed up that performance by winning their NWSL regular-season debut with a 2-1 win over the North Carolina Courage at Banc of California Stadium last weekend.
On the attacking end, Angel City was led by Press in the Challenge Cup. The 33-year-old forward led the team with two tournament goals. But the regular-season opener was the Jun Endo show. The Japanese international assisted Vanessa Gilles’ third-minute goal that provided an early lead and then got one of her own 10 minutes later.
“We’re focusing on competing hard this week,” Pride Head Coach Amanda Cromwell said. “I think (Angel City) are similar to us in ways of having to figure things out. We had a lot of changes. They are a new team. We’ve had injuries as well. They have a player like Christen Press that has the international experience and the ability to change the game in a second with her speed and finishing ability, so we have to always be aware of that. And they’ve added some quality with a player like Jun Endo, who had a great game, and [Savannah] McCaskill in the midfield. She works hard and can really be a playmaker for them and sets the tempo.”
The Pride still have several starters missing heading into this game. The team was already without Marta (SEI), but center back Amy Turner (right ankle) is now listed as out and Angharad James (right ankle) will miss the game after going down last weekend. Other players missing tonight include Caitlin Cosme (D45), Parker Roberts (right ankle), and Meggie Dougherty Howard (right hip), while Viviana Villacorta (right quad) is questionable.
Angel City is also without some key players going into this game. Notable absences include Sarah Gorden (right knee), Ali Riley (COVID protocol), and M.A. Vignola (right hip). Additionally, Katie Cousins (right hip), Paige Nielsen (illness), and Simone Charley (right knee) are listed as questionable.
Orlando Pride (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Erin McLeod.
Defenders: Carrie Lawrence, Toni Pressley, Megan Montefusco, Celia.
Defensive Midfielders: Courtney Petersen, Mikayla Cluff.
Midfielders: Darian Jenkins, Sydney Leroux. Gunny Jonsdottir.
Forwards: Leah Pruitt.
Bench: Kaylie Collins, Abi Kim, Julie Doyle, Viviana Villacorta, Kerry Abello, Erika Tymrak, Kylie Strom, Chelsee Washington, Jordyn Listro.
Angel City FC (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: DiDi Haracic.
Defenders: Madison Hammond, Vanessa Gilles, Megan Reid, Jasmyne Spencer.
Midfielders: Cari Roccaro, Dani Weatherholt, Savannah McCaskill.
Forwards: Jun Endo, Christen Press, Tyler Lussi.
Bench: Hope Breslin, Simone Charley, Stefany Ferrer, Brittany Isenhour, Lily Nabet, Maia Perez, Allyson Swaby. Miri Taylor.
REF: Adorae Monroy.
AR1: Salma Perez.
AR2: Alicia Messer.
4TH: Michael Radchuk.
How to Watch
Match Time: 8 p.m. ET.
Venue: Banc of California Stadium — Los Angeles.
Streaming: Paramount+ (U.S.), Twitch (International).
Enjoy the match. Go Pride!