Orlando Pride Adds Alex Morgan to Roster

Orlando Pride has added forward Alex Morgan to the Club’s 20-person roster. In order to meet league roster size requirements, the Pride have waived forward Christina Burkenroad.

Morgan was designated as a U.S. Women’s National Team Federation Player for the Pride, but was not on the 20-player roster while she was playing for French side Olympique Lyonnais. Morgan will continue rehabbing a hamstring injury before being cleared to play. She is expected to be available in two to three weeks.

“Alex is going to add another dimension of our attacking ability. I think we already have a great deal of mobility and attack, and, somebody like Alex coming back into the team will add to that further,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “Obviously, bringing someone like Alex back gives everybody a boost - the players, the team, the Club and the supporters. So there’s a whole range of positives with Alex coming back into the fold.”

Morgan, 27, appeared in 15 matches during Orlando’s 2016 season, all of them starts, and only missed time due to international duty with the U.S. WNT. The forward finished the year with four goals and one assist, including the Week 5 and Week 17 NWSL Goal of the Week.

Burkenroad, 23, was selected with the Pride’s third pick (No. 32 overall) in the 2016 NWSL College Draft out of Cal State Fullerton. The California native made eight appearances for Orlando, totaling 261 minutes.

“We’re sad to see Christina leave the Pride. She has been a dedicated professional and a wonderful contributor to our team, the Club and the community,” Sermanni added. “Knowing her playing time would likely have been limited with Alex’s return, we believed it would be in her best interest to provide her the opportunity to explore other options for her career. We wish Christina every success and look forward to seeing her continuing to grow both on and off the field.”

Coming off a 4-2 victory, the Pride return to Orlando City Stadium on Saturday afternoon, closing a back-to-back series against the Houston Dash at 3:30 p.m. ET. Tickets are available at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.

Orlando Pride Offense Explodes in 4-2 Win Over Houston Dash

Orlando Pride set a Club scoring record on Saturday night, racking up a 4-2 win over the Houston Dash at BBVA Compass Stadium. The four goals in the match marked the most goals ever scored in a single match for the Pride, while Marta set a single-game scoring record with four points on two goals and two assists, playing a role in each score.

“I’m obviously delighted with the win because we haven’t gotten very many wins on the road. It was a very important result for us and I think the best part of the result was how clinical our finishing was,” Orlando Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said.  “At four-nil, I don’t think that was necessarily a fair reflection on the play because Houston is a good side and they create chances and play some really great soccer. So, overall, I was just really pleased with the way we finished things.”

Though the Pride were outside 15-9 in the match, the visiting side were most efficient in their opportunities, putting in four of their six shots on goal.

Despite having been away for two weeks on international duty - and meeting back up with the team only a day prior in Houston - the Pride’s Brazilian contingent showed no hiccups in their game.

Sixteen minutes in, Camila put the Pride up 1-0 on a laser-focused shot from nearly 40 yards out. The former Dash player collected a pass from Marta, created some space for herself then blasted a shot into the upper-left corner beyond the best efforts of Houston goalkeeper Lydia Williams.

Orlando’s lead jumped to 2-0 shortly after when Marta capitalized on the counterattack. After goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe made back-to-back saves on Carli Lloyd at the other end of the field, Marta  collected a small push-pass from Camila at the midfield line and drove the length of the field for her fourth goal of the season.

On the previous set of plays, Bledsoe punched down a screamer on Lloyd’s dead-center set piece to deny the U.S. international in her first NWSL appearance this season. Just a minute after, off a corner kick, Lloyd had another go with a hard, left-footed volley but Bledsoe was up to the task. She denied the back-to-back FIFA World Player of the Year with a diving save to her left.

Bledsoe picked up her second consecutive win, making four saves in the outing.

Marta bolstered the Pride lead again in the 57th minute, from nearly the same spot as her first, after Jasmyne Spencer used her speed up the middle lane and picked out her teammate on the left hand side.

The Pride’s fourth goal came on Alanna Kennedy’s first in purple, with the Australian rising high above the Dash defense and heading in Marta’s corner kick service in the 68th minute.

Saturday’s win marked Orlando’s first road win since May 20, 2016, when the Pride earned three points in the same city, defeating the Dash 1-0 on a late goal from Kristen Edmonds.

The Pride and Dash will see a quick turnaround before their next meeting, wrapping up a back-to-back series next Saturday at Orlando City Stadium. Tabbed as the NWSL’s Lifetime Game of the Week, the match will kick off at 3:30 p.m. ET from Orlando. Tickets are available at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.

NWSL Match Report
Match: Houston Dash vs. Orlando Pride
Date: June 17, 2017
Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium
Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET
Attendance: 5,918
Weather: Clear

Scoring Summary

Goals                            1          2          F

Houston (2-7-0)          0          2          2

Orlando (3-3-3)           2          2          4

ORL - Camila (Marta) 16’
ORL - Marta 22’
ORL - Marta (Jasmyne Spencer) 57’
ORL - Alanna Kennedy (Marta)
HOU - Poliana (Andressinha) 89’
HOU - Nichelle Prince (Andressinha) 90+6’

Lineups:

Orlando Pride: Aubrey Bledsoe; Kristen Edmonds, Ali Krieger ©, Toni Pressley, Steph Catley; ; Rachel Hill, Monica, Marta (Jamia Fields 80’), Alanna Kennedy, Camila (Chioma Ubogagu 70’); Jasmyne Spencer (Danica Evans 84’)

Substitutes Not Used: Caroline Stanley; Laura Alleway; Maddy Evans, Dani Weatherholt

Houston Dash: Lydia Williams; Poliana, Cari Roccaro, Janine Van Wyk, Cami Levin; Amber Brooks, Janine Beckie, Morgan Brian (Denise O’Sullivan 83’); Rachel Daly (Andressinha 56’), Carli Lloyd (Nichelle Prince 73’), Kealia Ohai ©

Substitutes Not Used: Jane Campbell; Claire Falknor, Cami Privett; Sarah Hagen

Stats Summary: HOU / ORL
Possession: 48.8% / 51.2%
Shots: 15 / 9
Shots on Goal: 6 / 6
Saves: 2 / 4
Corner Kicks: 4 / 2
Fouls: 13 / 10
Offside: 6 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
HOU - 
Janine Beckie (Yellow Card) 65’
ORL - Camila (Yellow Card) 65’
HOU - Janine Van Wyk (Yellow Card) 80’

Officials:
Referee: Rebecca Pagan
Assistant Referee 1: Amanda Ross
Assistant Referee 2: Diego Blas
Fourth Official: Mike Arrington

New to Soccer? Join a Supporters Group

Maybe you are a new fan to soccer a whole, or maybe you’ve recently moved to the Orlando area. No matter your reasoning for becoming a fan of the Orlando Pride, there are many ways to show your excitement and support. One of the best ways to become involved in the Orlando Pride community is through supporter groups. Today, we take a look at the various benefits of joining a supporters group.

What is a Supporters Group?

The Orlando Pride, Orlando’s National Women’s Soccer League team, designated recognized supporters groups. These groups support the Orlando Pride family in a variety of ways: attending games, hosting social events, managing fundraisers, and more. Joining a supporters group means that you are joining a community of individuals with whom you can share your enthusiasm and passion for Orlando Pride.

What’s the Leading Orlando Pride Supporters Group?

In 2016, the Orlando Pride announced the very first recognized supporters club, The Crown. The group works to support and promote the Orlando Pride. Each game day, The Crown can be seen cheering and supporting the Orlando Pride family. You can identify members of The Crown by their membership scarf.

Why Should I Join?

Everyone has different reasons for joining supporter groups. First of all, it is an exciting way to show love towards your favorite team. Being surrounded by like-minded fans and participating in the Orlando Pride culture is exhilarating! The Crown also hosts social events, so this is especially beneficial if you are new to the area or are looking to meet some new people. If you are interested in joining, 2017 membership is still available in The Crown!

Are There Any Other Groups I Should Look At?

If you are also an Orlando City fan, the Iron Lion Firm and the Ruckus are both recognized supporter groups! Each has different benefits, so look into which group would fit you and your interests the best.

Supporter groups are excellent ways to get involved and show support for the Orlando Pride. We’d love to know which supporter group you are part of and why! Use the share button at the end of this blog to share this post along with a shout out to your favorite supporter group! Continue reading our blog for more helpful tips and insights.

Pride and Dash Begin Home-and-Home Series on Saturday Night

After a week off due to the FIFA International Window, the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season resumes this weekend with Orlando Pride traveling to face the Houston Dash Saturday at BBVA Compass Stadium. The 8:30 p.m. ET match will kickoff a home-and-home series with the Texas-based team, as the Dash venture into Orlando City Stadium next week on June 24.

“In this league, you can’t look past any opponent or expect to take three points from any game,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “Houston is a dangerous team and, though they are on the bottom of the table, they have to ability to beat any team on any day. I think we showed the standings mean nothing a few weeks ago, so we are going into Saturday knowing we’ll have to work hard to leave with points.”

Though the Dash sit at the bottom of the table, they may get a big boost to their lineup as midfielder Carli Lloyd is expected to be available for the match. Lloyd, the back-to-back FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, recently completed an offseason stint with Manchester City Women in England.

Both the Pride and Dash played their last match two weeks ago, with Orlando defeating Boston 2-0 and Houston falling 2-0 to the Washington Spirit. The Pride strung together perhaps its best team performance against Boston, with Sermanni rolling out a unique lineup that featured four center backs and rookie Rachel Hill in her first professional start.

The home team scored the only two goals it would need within the first 13 minutes, as Marta put in a penalty kick and Jasmyne Spencer finished a goal-mouth cross from Camila. Both Marta and Spencer are tied for the team lead with three goals apiece, while Camila leads the squad with three assists. The offensive performance was backed up by a stout defensive stand, leading to goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe’s first career win and first career shutout.

The tables were turned on the Dash last week when they were shutout by then last-place Washington. Goals by Cheyna Williams and Mallory Pugh proved to be the difference despite 17 shots from Houston. It was the first game the Dash played under new leadership after the club mutually parted ways with head coach Randy Waldrum and appointed Omar Morales as interim manager.

In addition to Lloyd, the Pride will have to keep an eye on forward Kealia Ohai and midfielders Morgan Brian and Andressinha, while facing Australia WNT goalkeeper Lydia Williams on the other end of the field.

Orlando had success against the Dash during its inaugural season, taking three wins out of four games in 2016.

With 77.84 percent passing accuracy, the Pride lead the league in the statistic and are currently ranked second in the NWSL with 53.9 percent possession. Living up to her playmaker reputation, Marta tops the league with 25 chances created in her seven games.

Forward Alex Morgan has returned from France and is back in Orlando, but will not be ready to join the Pride for another three to four weeks as she recovers from a hamstring injury suffered while playing with Olympique Lyonnais. Ashlyn Harris remains sidelined with a quadriceps injury.

Following Saturday’s game, the Pride return to Orlando City Stadium looking to defend their undefeated home record in the second leg of the home-and-home series with the Dash. The match will kickoff at 3:30 p.m. ET and will aired nationally on Lifetime.

Tickets are available at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.