Welcome to your match thread as the Orlando Pride (3-5-3, 12 points) go back on the road to face the Washington Spirit (1-5-6, 9 points) at Audi Field. This is the second and final time that the two teams will face off during the 2022 NWSL regular season.
Here’s all you need to know about today’s game.
The Pride and Spirit have faced off 18 times since the Pride joined the NWSL in 2016. Orlando has a record of 5-7-6 (W-L-D) in all competitions against Washington. This includes a 4-6-5 record in regular-season play and a 1-4-2 regular-season record in Washington.
The most recent meeting came on May 27 at Exploria Stadium. Trinity Rodman gave the Spirit the lead in the 19th minute and Ashley Hatch doubled the lead in the 66th minute. As the game entered second-half injury time, it appeared as though the Pride would fall for the second straight time, but a pair of late goals by Mikayla Cluff and Darian Jenkins stunned Washington with a 2-2 draw.
Prior to the draw in May, the Pride and Spirit played two games in the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup. The first was on March 19 in Orlando. The Pride had less possession and fewer shots, but a strong defensive effort allowed them to come away with a scoreless draw. The second Challenge Cup meeting came on April 3 at Audi Field. Gunny Jonsdottir got the Pride on the board with a 54th-minute goal, scoring the team’s first goal in four games. However, the Spirit already had a 3-0 lead. Rodman scored a late goal to put the game away as the Pride fell 4-1.
The two teams played four times during 2021. The first was on April 21 in the Challenge Cup. Sydney Leroux’s 11th-minute goal was the only scoring as the Pride won 1-0 for their first win of the year. Just two games later, the Pride opened their regular season by hosting the Spirit on May 16. Hatch gave Washington the lead in the 76th minute, but Alex Morgan equalized eight minute later to claim a 1-1 draw. The second regular-season meeting last year was on June 6 in Washington. Hatch opened the scoring, but Taylor Kornieck equalized minutes later, resulting in a 1-1 draw. The final meeting of 2021 came Aug. 22 at Audi Field. Marta gave the Pride the lead in the 68th minute but Hatch equalized just two minutes later. It looked like it would be a third straight 1-1 draw but Ashley Sanchez won it for Washington late.
Due to the pandemic, the Pride and Spirit didn’t play in 2020 but faced off three times in 2019. The first was on July 6 in Orlando. Marta scored a brace in the second half, leading the Pride to a 4-3 win. They played again on Aug. 24 in Washington. Crystal Thomas gave the hosts a ninth-minute lead and Marta equalized. But Hatch’s 59th-minute goal lifted the Spirit to a 2-1 win. The final game was supposed to be the following weekend, but was postponed due to Hurricane Dorian. Instead, the game was played Oct. 9 in Orlando. The Spirit dominated the rubber match, beating the Pride 3-0.
The first of two meetings in 2018 was on March 31 at the Maryland SoccerPlex. Hatch scored a goal and added an assist in a 2-0 win for the Spirit. The Pride got their revenge in the second game in the same location. Alanna Kennedy’s 11th-minute goal was the difference as the Pride won 1-0. The final meeting that year was on July 7 in Orlando. Hatch gave the Spirit the lead in the 26th minute, but Leroux scored just before halftime and Marta gave Orlando the win in the 86th minute.
The 2017 season was the first time the teams played three times in a year. Their April 22 meeting was the Pride’s first home game that year. Line Sigvardsen-Jensen gave the visitors the lead in the 60th minute, but Danica Evans answered in the 86th minute, as the teams drew 1-1. They met for the second time that year in Maryland on July 8 when Marta and Mallory Pugh both scored braces in a 2-2 draw. The final game in 2018 was on Aug. 8 in Orlando. Marta, Camila, and Morgan all scored as the Pride ran away with a 3-0 win.
The teams played for the first time during the 2016 NWSL season. The first game was on June 18 in Maryland. Estefania Banini and Francisca Ordega scored first-half goals as the Spirit won 2-0. The second game that year occurred on Aug. 26 at Camping World Stadium. Sarah Hagen scored for the Pride, but Cheyna Williams and Christine Nairn had already given the Spirit the lead, resulting in a 2-1 Washington win.
The Pride have claimed four points from their last two games — the first time they’ve avoided losses in consecutive games since mid-May. On July 3, second-half goals by Kylie Strom and Darian Jenkins saw the Pride come back from a two-goal deficit to draw Racing Louisville 2-2 at Daytona International Speedway. Last weekend, it was a late own goal by Ally Prisock that helped the Pride beat the Houston Dash 1-0 for their first win since May 18 and their first home victory of the year.
The Pride have recently lost Jonsdottir to Euro 2022 and traded Leroux to Angel City FC, though the former USWNT forward hadn’t appeared for the team since June 3. Since the Pride have a young team, they are more intact than most NWSL teams that have lost players to the Euros and the Concacaf W Championship.
The Pride are catching the Spirit at the right time. The defending NWSL champions are missing seven starters to international duty. Since all seven players are with the United States Women’s National Team, none will be available for the Spirit because the USWNT is still competing in the Concacaf W Championship.
Without these key players, the Spirit have lost three of their last four games and haven’t won since May 1 — their lone win of the season. The hosts have lost their last two games, including a 2-1 loss to San Diego Wave FC away and a 1-0 loss to the Kansas City Current at home.
“They’ve got a good squad,” Pride Interim Head Coach Seb Hines said about the Spirit. “They’ve obviously planned for it (losing players) because they have key players going away with the U.S. National Team and they need to fill them spaces with quality players as well. And they’ve got a point to prove towards their coach. That they deserve to play. So listen, we have to focus on ourselves. We have to build momentum from our last two results, and we want to go there to Audi Field and get three points.”
The Pride’s availability list only has one addition this week in Carrie Lawrence (COVID protocol) being listed as out. The players still out from last week include Marta (SEI, right knee), Parker Roberts (ankle), Leah Pruitt (knee), and Angharad James (excused absence). Additionally, as previously mentioned, Jonsdottir (Iceland) is away on international duty at Euro 2022.
The Spirit have a long list of absences. Tori Huster (left lower leg) and Julia Roddar (knee) are out injured. Hatch hurt her leg while on international duty, but would’ve missed the game anyway as she had been with the USWNT. The other six players away on international duty with the USWNT, including Aubrey Kingsbury, Kelley O’Hara, Rodman, Sanchez, Emily Sonnett, and Andi Sullivan.
Orlando Pride (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Erin McLeod.
Defenders: Kylie Strom, Megan Montefusco, Toni Pressley, Celia.
Defensive Midfielders: Jordyn Listro, Meggie Dougherty Howard.
Midfielders: Viviana Villacorta, Erika Tymrak, Kerry Abello.
Forwards: Darian Jenkins.
Bench: Anna Moorhouse, Thais Reiss, Julie Doyle, Courtney Peteresen, Mikayla Cluff, Chelsee Washington, Caitlin Cosme, Abi Kim, Kaylie Collins.
Washington Spirit (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Devon Kerr.
Defenders: Cam Biegalski, Sam Staab, Amber Brooks, Anna Heilferty.
Defensive Midfielders: Taylor Aylmer, Dorian Bailey.
Midfielders: Marissa Sheva, Bayley Feist, Jordan Baggett.
Forwards: Tara McKeown.
Bench: Karina Rodriguez, Averie Collins, Tinaya Alexander, Gaby Vincent, Alla Martin, Audrey Harding, Nicole Barnhart, Jamia Fields, Katie Murray.
REF: Alyssa Nichols.
AR1: Joe Suchoski.
AR2: Chris Canales.
4TH: Joshua Encarnacion.
How to Watch
Match Time: 5 p.m.
Venue: Audi Field — Washington, D.C.
Streaming: Paramount+ (USA), Twitch (International).
Enjoy the match. Go Pride!