Welcome to your match thread as the Orlando Pride (4-5-6, 18 points) take on NJ/NY Gotham FC (4-10-0, 12 points) at Subaru Park in Chester, PA. This is the fourth time these two teams will play this season and the second in the NWSL regular season.
Here’s all you need to know about tonight’s game.
The Pride have faced Gotham since 2016, back when the New York area club was called Sky Blue FC. They’ve played each season except 2020, when the regular season was canceled due to the global pandemic. In all competitions, the teams have met 18 times, with the Pride going 6-7-5. However, the Pride are 6-5-4 against Gotham in league games and 3-2-2 in league meetings on the road.
The most recent game between the Pride and Gotham was the first game of the regular season on May 1 at Exploria Stadium. This game was all Gotham as McCall Zerboni, Midge Purce, and Kristie Mewis lifted the visitors to a commanding 3-0 victory.
The two teams were also matched up in the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup, playing twice before the regular season began. The first game was on March 30 at Exploria Stadium. The game appeared to be headed for a draw, but Ellie Jean sent Purce through in the 87th minute, resulting in the game’s only goal. They met again at Red Bull Arena on April 23 to end the Challenge Cup. The Pride took an early lead through Gunny Jonsdottir, but Mewis answered just before halftime as the teams drew 1-1.
The two teams also played four times last year, with three coming in the regular season. The first meeting in 2021 was in the Challenge Cup on April 20 in Orlando. Paige Monaghan scored the only goal in the 79th minute as Gotham took all three points.
The two teams faced off in the 2021 regular season on June 20 in Orlando. Caprice Dydasco gave the visitors the lead just before halftime but Courtney Petersen answered in the 90th minute, resulting in a 1-1 draw. They met again on Aug. 29 at Red Bull Arena. Erika Tymrak’s 49th-minute strike from long distance was the only goal in this game as the Pride won 1-0. The final meeting in 2021 was on Oct. 9 in Orlando. Gotham took a 3-0 lead with a goal by Purce and a brace by Gaetane Thiney. The Pride tried to come back late with goals by Tymrak and a Marta penalty inside the last 10 minutes, but it wasn’t enough as Gotham won 3-2.
The two teams played three times in 2019, the last season the Pride faced the club known as Sky Blue FC. They first met on June 22 in New Jersey. Chioma Ubogagu gave the Pride a 1-0 lead with a 32nd-minute penalty conversion but Sarah Killion answered in the 32nd minute. The difference in the game was a 81st-minute own goal by Gina Lewandowski as the Pride won 2-1 away. They met again nearly a month later on July 20 in Orlando. Marisa Viggiano scored the only goal in that one as the Pride won 1-0. The final game was on Sept. 29 in New Jersey. Shelina Zadorsky gave the Pride the early lead in the 18th minute, but Carli Lloyd scored in the 88th minute to pull out a 1-1 draw.
The Pride and Sky Blue FC played three times in 2018. The first meeting was on June 16 in Orlando. Sydney Leroux scored a brace but it was Rachel Hill’s 83rd-minute goal that was the difference as the Pride won 3-2. They met again in Orlando on Aug. 5. Three goals were scored in eight minutes after halftime, but two were by Sky Blue. Fortunately, Dani Weatherholt scored an equalizer in the 73rd minute and the teams drew 2-2. The two teams ended the 2018 regular season against each other on Sept. 8 in New Jersey. Carli Lloyd scored the game’s only goal in the 74th minute as the hosts won 1-0.
The first of three 2017 meetings between the two teams came on May 27 in New Jersey. The Pride took the lead in the 18th minute through Jasmyne Spencer, but Sam Kerr and Maya Hayes responded to beat the Pride 2-1. They played again on June 28 in New Jersey. The Pride took an early lead again when Ubogagu struck in the 11th minute. Kelley O’Hara and Kerr then struck on either side of halftime to give the hosts the lead. But this time, the Pride came back with late goals by Marta and Hill to win 3-2. The final meeting in 2017 was on Aug. 12 in Orlando. This one was all Pride as braces by Alex Morgan and Marta lifted the Pride to a 5-0 win.
The first year that the two teams played was in 2016 — the Pride’s inaugural season. The games were back-to-back and within three days of each other. On Sept. 7 in New Jersey, Morgan gave the Pride the lead in the 23rd minute but Sam Kerr equalized 10 minutes from time and the teams drew 1-1. The return game was on Sept. 10 in Orlando and again the Pride led, but this time through Kristen Edmonds. However, Sky Blue FC scored twice in the second half to win 2-1.
The Pride come into this game playing their best soccer of the year. The team is currently on a six-game unbeaten run (2-0-4) dating back to the team’s 2-2 draw against Racing Louisville in Daytona on July 3. The most recent game for the Pride saw the team end a three-game run of draws by defeating San Diego Wave FC 1-0. The difference was a 23rd-minute penalty conversion by Meggie Dougherty Howard following a handball in the box.
Despite the recent success, the Pride are still in the middle of a significant rebuild, resulting in several veterans departing the club. The lack of players coming in has been a sore spot among the fan base, but General Manager Ian Fleming signed two new players this week in Ally Watt from OL Reign and Haley Hanson from the Houston Dash, with both deals seeing Allocation Money going the other way.
Tonight, the Pride face a Gotham team that has struggled this season. After trading for former Pride leaders Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger in the off-season, the team was expected to be a contender. But Gotham has lost five-straight games, resulting in the team sitting near the bottom of the NWSL standings.
To be fair to tonight’s opponent, four of the five losses have come away from home, including the last three. This game begins a four-game homestand for Gotham (although the match is in Chester, PA) as the hosts look to get their season back on track against a young Pride team.
Gotham is led by Purce, who has three goals and two assists in the regular season. The other players scoring multiple goals are those you would expect, including Monaghan, Taylor Smith, and Zerboni, all with three goals. The team also features the dangerous Mewis, but she missed some games this year while with the U.S. Women’s National Team.
It’s been a tough season by all accounts for Gotham. The team has scored a league-low 11 goals this season and conceded a league-high 30 goals — tied with the Pride. They’ve given up 17 of those 30 goals in their last five games.
“(Gotham FC) are a good team. They have some good players and we have to be aware of that,” Pride Interim Head Coach Seb Hines said about tonight’s opponent. “Every week there are so many problems that teams can cause us and we have to prepare as best as we can to get a performance away from home.”
This game will have a different setting, as the teams will face off at Subaru Park in Chester, PA, home of the Philadelphia Union of MLS. Gotham played a game there last year as a send-off for Carli Lloyd, who grew up in the Philadelphia area. This is the only NWSL game scheduled to be played at Subaru Park this season.
While Marta (knee) and Parker Roberts (foot) remain out of action, Carrie Lawrence and Abi Kim are off the injury report for tonight’s game. However, Darian Jenkins (knee) and Anna Moorhouse (hand) are both out against Gotham.
Gotham’s injury list remains unchanged. Only Allie Long (maternity leave) and Domi Richardson (knee) are listed as out for tonight.
Orlando Pride (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Erin McLeod.
Defenders: Celia, Megan Montefusco, Toni Pressley, Kylie Strom.
Midfielders: Viviana Villacorta, Jordyn Listro, Meggie Dougherty Howard.
Forwards: Kerry Abello, Julie Doyle, Erika Tymrak.
Bench: Kaylie Collins, Gunny Jonsdottir, Ally Watt, Courtney Petersen, Mikayla Cluff, Haley Hanson, Carrie Lawrence, Leah Pruitt, Thais Reiss.
NJ/NY Gotham FC (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Michelle Betos.
Defenders: Imani Dorsey, Estelle Johnson, Mandy Freeman, Ellie Jean.
Defensive Midfielders: Ali Krieger, McCall Zerboni.
Midfielders: Paige Monaghan, Taylor Smith, Nicole Baxter.
Forwards: Ifeoma Onumonu.
Bench: Cameron Tucker, Jennifer Cudjoe, Taryn Torres, Nahomi Kawasumi, Kumi Yokoyama, Sabrina Flores, Kristie Mewis, Jenna Bike, Hensley Hancuff.
REF: Katja Koroleva.
AR1: Jessica Carnevale.
AR2: Ben Pilgrim.
4TH: Stephanie MacFarland.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7 p.m.
Venue: Subaru Park — Chester, PA.
Streaming: Paramount+ (USA), Twitch (International).
Enjoy the game. Go Pride!