Welcome to your match thread as the Orlando Pride (2-2-2, 8 points) head back out on the road to face the Houston Dash (2-1-2, 8 points). It’s the first of two games between the teams this season, with the return game at Exploria Stadium scheduled for July 8.
Here’s all you need to know about tonight’s game.
The Pride and Dash have played 16 times since the Pride joined the NWSL in 2016. They’ve played 14 times in the NWSL regular season, with Orlando going 5-7-2 and 2-4-1 in Houston. They also played a pair of games during the 2020 Fall Series, with Houston taking both games.
The two teams played twice last season, once in each city. The first meeting was on June 26 in Houston. Maria Sanchez and Veronica Latsko gave the Dash a 2-0 lead with goals in the 18th and 26th minutes, respectively. Gunny Jonsdottir got one back for the Pride in the 49th minute, however, it wasn’t enough as the Dash won 2-1.
The teams met again on Sept. 5 at Exploria Stadium. Rachel Daly gave the Dash an early 10th-minute lead and the visitors held onto the advantage for 69 minutes. But Taylor Kornieck equalized in the 79th minute, allowing the Pride to come away with a 1-1 draw.
The Pride withdrew from the 2020 Challenge Cup due to a COVID outbreak in the team. But the two teams were matched up in the Fall Series, playing twice. On Sept. 26 in Houston, Nichelle Prince gave the Dash a 27th-minute lead before Marisa Viggiano responded in first-half injury time. Sophie Schmidt and Shea Groom put the game out of reach in the second half as the Dash won 3-1.
The return game was on Oct. 9 at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee — the only game the Pride have played at the venue. Groom scored again in this game, giving the Dash a 13th-minute lead. Latsko made it 2-0 in the 29th minute before Sydney Leroux answered in the 47th minute. The Pride were unable to find an equalizer as Houston won 2-1.
The teams met three times during the 2019 season with the Pride going 0-2-1. The first game was on May 5 in Houston. The Pride only got a single shot on target but Houston could only muster one goal from Kealia Ohai, whose seventh-minute strike lifted the hosts to a 1-0 win. The second game was also in Houston on June 15 and resulted in a 2-2 draw. Joanna Boyles scored her first professional goal to give the Pride an early lead, but the Dash scored two unanswered goals to flip the scoreline. Fortunately, Danica Evans equalized in the 71st minute.
The final meeting in 2019 was on Aug. 10 in Orlando and resulted in the Pride finishing with nine players. Julie King was the first sent off in the 61st minute, reducing the Pride to 10. Marta was then sent off with a straight red card in the 85th minute. Daly converted an 87th-minute penalty and the Dash came away with a 1-0 win.
The first 2018 meeting between the two teams came on April 22 in Orlando. Chioma Ubogagu’s 65th-minute goal was the difference as the Pride won 1-0. In Orlando on June 27, Alex Morgan gave the Pride a 22nd-minute lead and the Pride took that advantage into halftime. But goals by Ohai in the 79th minute and Sofia Huerta in the 83rd minute saw the Dash claim a 2-1 win. The third and final game between the teams that year was on July 11 in Houston. A Daly brace led the Dash to a 3-1 win.
The teams only played twice in 2017 with the visiting team taking both games. The first was on June 17 in Houston. A Marta brace and goals by Camila and Alanna Kennedy put the Pride up 4-0. The Dash attempted a comeback with goals by Poliana and Prince, but the Pride won 4-2. A week later, the Dash got their revenge in Orlando as Carli Lloyd and Daly lifted Houston to a 2-0 win.
The Pride’s inaugural 2016 season saw them play every team twice, except Houston, and the two teams played four times that season. The first-ever meeting between the teams was Orlando’s first regular-season home game on April 23. The first goal was an Andressa own goal just after halftime. Lianne Sanderson and Morgan then made it 3-0 before Andressa got one back to make it a 3-1 Pride win. The first meeting in Houston was on May 20. Kristen Edmonds scored the lone goal in the 81st minute as the Pride won 1-0.
On June 23, the teams met for the second time in Orlando. It appeared to be headed for a scoreless draw until Jasmyne Spencer scored a minute into second-half injury time to lift the Pride to a 1-0 win. The final meeting that year occurred on Sept. 3 in Houston. The Dash took a commanding 3-0 lead with goals by Janine Beckie, Polina, and Ohai. Morgan and Edmonds got two back to make it a one-goal game before Ohai scored her second to complete a 4-2 Dash win.
The Pride enter this game after a late comeback against the Washington Spirit last weekend. Goals by Trinity Rodman and Ashley Hatch put the Spirit up 2-0 after 66 minutes, but the home team made a furious comeback late. Mikayla Cluff scored five minutes into second-half injury time and Darian Jenkins equalized three minutes later, resulting in a 2-2 draw. While the team has shown resilience by not giving up, the Pride are still looking for consistency in putting full 90-minute games together.
The Dash come into this game on a four-game undefeated streak (2-0-2), which includes wins against the Kansas City Current and Portland Thorns and draws against Racing Louisville and the North Carolina Courage. However, Houston is winless at home this year (0-1-1), losing to San Diego Wave FC and drawing the Courage last weekend.
The Dash have been led offensively by Rachel Daly — who has three goals and an assist — and Nichelle Prince — who has scored once and assisted the last two Daly goals. The other goal scorers for Houston this season include Bri Vaselli and Sophie Schmidt.
“(Houston is a) very confident group. They’ve gotten some results recently and just seem to be playing very unified,” Pride Head Coach Amanda Cromwell said about tonight’s opponent. “Against the last two teams they played a different formation, but we’re trying to see if that’s because the team they played against had a two front. We have some question marks just based on what system they might be playing. But, in the end, we know where their threats are. We know Daly and Prince have been playing very well with (Shea) Groom underneath them. They defend well, they’re scrappy, and above all else right now, they’re very confident.”
Orlando is shorthanded again. In addition to Marta (knee), and Caitlin Cosme (D45) continuing to be out, the Pride will be without Carrie Lawrence (ribs) and Meggie Dougherty Howard (COVID protocol), while Erika Tymrak (left foot) and Celia (illness) are questionable. Houston will be without Cali Farquharson (right leg), Lindsey Harris (left elbow), Kelcie Hedge (right knee), and Annika Schmidt (SEI - right knee).
Orlando Pride (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Erin McLeod.
Defenders: Gunny Jonsdottir, Megan Montefusco, Toni Pressley, Kerry Abello.
Midfielders: Mikayla Cluff, Viviana Villacorta, Jordyn Listro.
Forwards: Sydney Leroux, Leah Pruitt, Darian Jenkins.
Bench: Anna Moorhouse, Kylie Strom, Julie Doyle, Parker Roberts, Angharad James, Chelsee Washington, Courtney Petersen, Kaylie Collins.
Houston Dash (3-4-3)
Goalkeeper: Jane Campbell.
Defenders: Allysha Chapman, Katie Naughton, Ally Prisock.
Midfielders: Maria Sanchez, Marisa Viggiano, Sophie Schmidt, Haley Hanson.
Forwards: Rachel Daly, Shea Groom, Nichelle Prince.
Bench: Michaela Abam, Michelle Alozie, Joelle Anderson, Julia Ashley, Ella Dederick, Elizabeth Eddy, Ryan Gareis, Emily Ogle, Bri Visalli.
REF: Luis Guardia.
AR1: Francisco Bermudez.
AR2: Zach McWhorter.
4TH: Estefania Estrada Sanabria.
How to Watch
Match Time: 8:30 p.m.
Venue: PNC Stadium — Houston, TX.
Streaming: Paramount+ (U.S.), Twitch (International).
Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, following along at @TheManeLand and the Orlando Pride’s official Twitter feed (@ORLPride).
Enjoy the match. Go Pride!