QueensCast: Episode 59 - ALERT: LOST IN ORLANDO — ISO: A Winning Spirit — As Laura Takes Her Last Waive Into Shore

We’ve all been there, even with our GPS barking orders — you’re lost. It’s OK, because if QueensCast has learned anything it’s that adversity brings out the best in all of us! Now is the time that we rally together and support the women of the Orlando Pride. We’re halfway through the season and it’s time to take a snapshot of what we’ve learned. Let’s look forward to great things as Marta, Alex and Steph lace up for a bulldozer push to the playoffs!

Press’ Penalty Kick Gives Red Stars 1-0 Win in Rain-Delayed Match

Orlando Pride returned to Orlando City Stadium on Saturday night and were held scoreless by the second-seeded Chicago Red Stars, falling 1-0 after a Christen Press penalty kick. The match, which was originally slated to kickoff at 5 p.m. ET saw an hour delay due to inclement weather, eventually getting underway at 6 p.m. ET.

“[I’m] a little bit disappointed, a little bit frustrated. We knew it was going to be a tight game when we talked at halftime. I think we had enough possession to win the game. Whether we created enough with that possession, I’m not too sure,” Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “[I] can’t fault the effort of the players, we had enough chances to win the game, had enough possession to win the game but one moment of indecision or discipline, whatever you want to call it, ended up costing us the game. I would like to say it hasn’t happened often this season, but unfortunately it has.”

For the second-straight match, the Pride’s opponent was awarded a penalty kick, this time after a late tackle in the box on Casey Short. U.S. Women’s National Team forward Press stepped to the spot, sending goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe to the right and the kick to the left to put the visitors up 1-0 in the 68th minute.

Moments before the penalty, Jasmyne Spencer came inches away from her second goal of the season, turning quick on a shot outside of the box that was denied by the upper corner of the goalpost.

Pushing for the equalizer late, the Pride had a flurry of chances after Camila took a stoppage time corner kick. The second-half substitute drove the ball to the far post and Bledsoe - who pushed up to load the penalty area - put the ball on net only to have Chicago midfielder Danielle Colaprico clear it off the line. The ball scattered around the box before defender Ali Krieger had a go, blasting her left-footed volley off of the crossbar.

Coming off the bench for the first time this season, Camila provided an injection of energy to the Pride lineup after her introduction in the 56th minute. With 15 minutes left to play, the Brazilian intercepted a long ball from Chicago goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and used a burst of speed to claim space, but her shot from the top of the box whistles just wide to the left. Despite playing just 34 minutes, Camila led the Pride offense with four total shots.

Forward Alex Morgan made her first appearance of the 2017 season for the Pride, entering the match in the 65th minute and bringing the home crowd to their feet. Morgan nearly setup Alanna Kennedy’s second goal of the season, heading on a cross to the mouth of the goal but the center back’s aerial win against Naeher sailed over the bar.

The 1-0 scoreline has been a common theme throughout the two teams’ history, as the Red Stars have taken all three meetings by the same result. Saturday’s match also marked the first doubleheader in Orlando City Stadium history, as Orlando City B faced FC Cincinnati in United Soccer League play immediately following the Pride match.

The Pride will return to national television next weekend as Orlando travels to the Washington Spirit for Krieger’s first match against her former team. The match will kickoff at 3:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on Lifetime.

Orlando hosts its next home match on July 15, welcoming two-time NWSL champion FC Kansas City for a 5 p.m. ET kick. Tickets are available at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.

NWSL Match Report
Match: Orlando Pride vs. Chicago Red Stars
Date: July 1, 2017
Venue: Orlando City Stadium
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET
Attendance: 5,476
Weather: Rainy

Scoring Summary

Goals                           1          2          F

Orlando (4-5-3)          0          0          0

Chicago (7-3-2)           0          1          1

CHI - Christen Press (PK) 68’

Orlando Pride: Aubrey Bledsoe; Kristen Edmonds, Ali Krieger ©, Toni Pressley, Steph Catley; Maddy Evans (Camila 56’), Monica, Alanna Kennedy; Rachel Hill (Alex Morgan 65’), Marta, Jasmyne Spencer (Chioma Ubogagu 79’)

Substitutes Not Used: Caroline Stanley; Nickolette Driesse, Dani Weatherholt; Jamia Fields, Chioma Ubogagu

Chicago: Alyssa Naeher; Sarah Gorden (Casey Short 66’), Sam Johnson, Katie Naughton, Taylor Comeau; Danielle Colaprico, Alyssa Mautz (Arin Gilliland 89’), Vanessa DiBernardo (Morgan Proffitt 86’), Julie Ertz; Sofia Huerta, Christen Press ©

Substitutes Not Used: Michelle Dalton; Jen Hoy, Lauren Kaskie; Stephanie McCaffrey

Stats Summary: ORL / CHI
Possession: 62.0% / 38.0%
Shots: 20 / 15
Shots on Goal: 5 / 6
Saves: 5 / 4
Corner Kicks: 9 / 2
Fouls: 8 / 7
Offside: 0 / 6

Misconduct Summary:
ORL - Ali Krieger (Yellow Card) 52’

Referee: Guido Gonzales Jr.
Assistant Referee 1: Brooke Mayo
Assistant Referee 2: Natalie Simon
Fourth Official: Francesco Terranova

Forward Alex Morgan Expected to Make 2017 Debut in Front of Home Fans

Photo credit: FourFourTwo.com

Photo credit: FourFourTwo.com

Coming off a thrilling come-from-behind victory on Wednesday night, Orlando Pride wraps up a three-game week when it hosts second-seeded Chicago Red Stars at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday evening. Forward Alex Morgan, who has been medically cleared following a hamstring injury, will be available for the match and is expected to see her first minutes with the Pride this season.

The first meeting of 2017 between the two teams can be watched live on NWSLsoccer.comgo90.com or on the go90 app.

Saturday’s match will mark the first-ever doubleheader at Orlando City Stadium, with the Pride match preceding United Soccer League side Orlando City B against FC Cincinnati at 8:30 p.m. ET.

“It’s always hard at the end of a week with three games, but [Chicago is] very well organized and a very tough team. They are not a team that I would say plays a lot of build-up soccer; they’ve got a bit of pace up front with Christen Press, Jen Hoy and whoever else they play up [front],” Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “They get it forward early, they pressure the ball well and physically they’re very strong. And the other thing I think Chicago has is that their team is virtually a carbon copy from last year. They’ve built up a great deal of continuity and consistency in the squad and that certainly is a big advantage.”

Orlando traveled to face Sky Blue FC for its first midweek match of the season. The Pride jumped out to a 1-0 lead on the foot of Chioma Ubogagu, but the home side struck just before the halftime whistle and one minute into the second half to take a 2-1 lead. However, the Pride fought for the equalizer, eventually finding it on Marta’s sixth goal of the season. Rookie Rachel Hill then provided late-game heroics, coming off the bench and scoring a decisive header in the 86th minute to give the Pride a 3-2 win. It was the second of three games in a week for the Pride. Orlando previously hosted the Houston Dash exactly a week ago, falling 2-0 on June 24.

Chicago faced a similar week’s slate, first hosting Sky Blue FC on June 24 before traveling to the Pacific Northwest to face Seattle Reign FC in its midweek match. Alyssa Mautz scored in the 41st minute to give the Red Stars a lead on the road, but Seattle’s Megan Rapinoe capitalized on two penalty kicks as Seattle rallied for the 2-1 win.

Led by U.S. Women’s National Team forward Press up top and defender Julie Ertz [formerly Johnston] and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, the Red Stars have picked up points in seven of their last eight matches.

In addition to Marta, Camila and the Pride’s five additional goalscorers, Morgan will have the opportunity to make her mark on the 2017 edition of the Pride. After leading Olympique Lyonnais to the UEFA Women’s Champions League title in June, the forward will be in the Orlando 18-player lineup for the first time this season. Morgan finished the 2016 season with four goals and two assists. She previously partnered with Marta during her rookie campaign in 2011 as a member of the former Western New York Flash - which would go on to win the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) championship. Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, who remains sidelined with a quadriceps injury, was also a member of that team.

“If you look, [Alex] probably hasn’t played a full game in about seven weeks now so it will just be great to get her back out onto the field,” Sermanni added. “What you want to do is get to a stage where you have a very strong starting XI but you also have a strong bench. From an attacking perspective, with Alex coming back, we’ve certainly got that now.”

Saturday’s match will mark the third-ever meeting between the two sides after Chicago took both 2016 matches by 1-0 scorelines.

Tickets are available at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY. Fans who purchase a ticket to the Pride match will also receive free entry to the OCB game that same night.

QueensCast: Episode 58 - LAST WOMAN STANDING BATTLE ROYALE! 3 Games! 8 Days! Only warriors need apply!

Can you dig it!?! Do you think you know blood, sweat, and tears? Well we've been body-checked by the Dash, we did a “pile-driver” on Sky Blue, and now we head back into the Arena for the final Battle Royale with the Red Stars - all in eight days! The intensity has been fierce, competitive, and progressively way more demanding as we head home. Tune in, to stay in the know for Saturday's big “cage match” game in the MCO! Let’s fight-fight-fight for position five and stay alive! Let’s score!

Orlando Pride Rally for Road Win at Sky Blue FC

Photo credit: Orlando Sentinal

Photo credit: Orlando Sentinal

Rookie forward Rachel Hill scored her first professional goal at the most opportune moment as Orlando Pride (4-4-3, 15 points) posted a late-match rally to defeat host Sky Blue FC (5-6-1, 16 points) on Wednesday night. Hill, who entered the match as a second-half substitute, headed in the game-winner in the 86th minute to lead the Pride to a 3-2 win at Rutgers University.

The win marked the Club’s first victory over the New Jersey-based team and the Pride’s second consecutive road win after defeating the Houston Dash, 4-2, on June 17.

“I thought we started well and were looking comfortable but we seem to have a knack of giving goals away when we’re on top of games and that put us under the pump a little bit. Then with the one at the start of the second half, I thought it was going to be a long night,” Head Coach Tom Sermanni said.  “A lot of credit to our players for fighting their way back into the game. It was a tough game that could have gone either way and, at the end, [was] very even. We’re just delighted to come away with the three points.”

Sermanni made three changes to Orlando’s starting XI from its previous three matches, giving the nod to Jamia Fields, Chioma Ubogagu and Dani Weatherholt in place of Hill, Jasmyne Spencer and Monica. The trio went on to be the Pride’s three changes in the second half.

Ubogagu took advantage of her fifth start of the season, scoring her second goal of the year and opening the game up in the 11th minute. Kristen Edmonds sent a pass down the right flank to Ubogagu running into the box. The forward made a move, slipping the ball around her defender before sending a shot into the upper netting of the Sky Blue goal to put the Pride up, 1-0.

But the moments just before and after halftime would prove to be momentum-shifters, as Sky Blue goals in the 45th and 46th minutes put the Pride into a one-goal deficit for most of the second half.

The home team was able to tie things up just seconds before the half ended after being awarded their second penalty kick of the half. Defender Kelley O’Hara stepped to the spot, and though Aubrey Bledsoe picked the correct side, O’Hara provided enough pace on the shot to draw the game, 1-1.

Sky Blue came out of the half with a second goal, as Kerr tracked a deflected cross in the box and timed a bicycle kick for a 2-1 lead.

But the Pride kept their foot on the gas, eventually finding a goal through Marta to tie it at two. The play started on the foot of the goal-scorer, who played a quick pass to the side to find Hill open. Hill waited for Steph Catley on an overlapping run before the Australian left back sent a cross into the penalty area. A Sky Blue defender was able to get a small deflection on Catley’s cross, but it went right out to the Brazilian who wasted no time one-timing a shot with her left foot just inside the near post.

Prior to O’Hara’s 45th-minute penalty, Sky Blue earned a shot from the spot 20 minutes in. Sarah Killion stepped up to take the kick, but Bledsoe came up with a big save to keep the game 1-0 at the time. Bledsoe finished the match with five saves, including a 34th-minute denial on Kerr with a back-tracking stop to push the ball off the crossbar.  

The Pride wrap up a three-game week on Saturday evening, welcoming the Chicago Red Stars to Orlando City Stadium at 5 p.m. ET. Tickets to the match are available at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.

NWSL Match Report
Match: Sky Blue FC vs. Orlando Pride
Date: June 28, 2017
Venue: Yurcak Field
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Attendance: 3,065
Weather: Clear

Scoring Summary

Goals                                1          2          F

Sky Blue FC (5-6-1)          1          1          2

Orlando (4-3-3)               1          2          3


ORL - Chioma Ubogagu 11’
NJ - Kelley O’Hara (PK) 45’
NJ - Sam Kerr (Maya Hayes) 46’
ORL - Marta 77’
ORL - Rachel Hill (Steph Catley) 86’


Orlando Pride: Aubrey Bledsoe; Kristen Edmonds, Ali Krieger ©, Toni Pressley, Steph Catley; Dani Weatherholt (Monica 82’), Alanna Kennedy, Chioma Ubogagu (Jasmyne Spencer 66’), Marta, Camila; Jamia Fields (Rachel Hill 67’)

Substitutes Not Used: Caroline Stanley; Laura Alleway; Maddy Evans, Nickolette Driesse

Sky Blue FC: Kailen Sheridan; Kelley O’Hara, Christie Pearce, Mandy Freeman, Kayla Mills; Maya Hayes (Leah Galton 69’), Daphne Corboz, Sarah Killion, Raquel Rodriguez, Taylor Lytle (McKenzie Meehan 81’); Sam Kerr (Nikki Stanton 86’)

Substitutes Not Used: Caroline Casey; Erin Simon, Erica Skroski; Madison Tiernan

Stats Summary: NJ / ORL
Possession: 50.1% / 49.9%
Shots: 11 / 14
Shots on Goal: 7 / 5
Saves: 2 / 5
Corner Kicks: 0 / 7
Fouls: 11 / 9
Offside: 2 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
ORL - 
Jasmyne Spencer (Yellow Card) 75’
NJ - Nikki Stanton (Yellow Card) 90+4’

Referee: Danielle Chesky
Assistant Referee 1: Jeffrey Skinker
Assistant Referee 2: Victor Vazquez
Fourth Official: Luis Arroyo