More than 20,000 tickets sold for inaugural match; Record within reach
Orlando Pride will make its home debut in a highly-anticipated contest on Saturday night under the lights of the Orlando Citrus Bowl against the Houston Dash.
Following a series of Kickoff Week events and the #FilledWithPride campaign, the two teams are expected to battle in front of a record-setting crowd that will break the current National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) attendance record of 21,144 fans.
As of Friday morning, more than 20,000 tickets were sold – just 1,145 ticket away from setting the record.
“When you see the supporters of this Club, when you see the people that work at the Club and when you see the support around town for the Club, it’s just phenomenal,” said Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni. “I won’t be surprised if we break the record, I’ll be surprised if we don’t break the record.”
Tickets for the inaugural home match are available at orlando-pride.com or by calling 855-ORL-CITY. Season tickets are available for just $15 a game and can be purchased at orlando-pride.com/tickets.
The match, which is slated for a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff, will be streamed live on orlando-pride.com/live. Seasoned reporter Jeff Radcliff will provide play-by-play commentary while legendary University of Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh will serve as color analyst for the opening match. Orlando City SC broadcaster Mackenzie Thirkill will report from the sideline.
“[Houston] is a very good team. They have a very experienced coach in Randy Waldrum who has put together a good squad. You’ve got World Player of the Year Carli Lloyd, who is a real threat, and some very potent attacking players who play a good brand of soccer,” Sermanni said of the opponent.
The Pride enter Saturday’s historical match following a 2-1 loss at Portland Thorns FC that, despite the scoreline, showcased a highly-competitive and skilled Orlando side.
Defender Steph Catley open the match with a goal in the 12th minute – one that will go down in the history books as the first-ever goal in Orlando Pride history. Portland, however, answered with goals from Dagny Brynjarsdottir and Lindsey Horan to take the first three points of the season.
For her record-setting tally, Catley earned Week 1 NWSL Goal of the Week honors.
The forward trio of Alex Morgan, Jasmyne Spencer and Kristen Edmonds caused problems for the Thorns all evening, using their speed to threaten the Portland backline and goalkeeper Michelle Betos. The Pride outshot Portland 15-11 while the backline, impressive in their debut, caught the home club offside seven times.
“I was delighted with the performance of the team, the effort of the team, the commitment of the team. I thought it was first class. I thought we matched Portland in many areas,” Sermanni said of the first match. “We created the better chances and we lasted the game very well.”
“I’m really disappointed that we lost the game, in particular with the second goal. It came at a time when we were on the offensive and looked like we were going to score. But overall, I’m very happy with how we performed in Portland.”
The Dash, led by Lloyd, will be playing in their first away match on Saturday after opening the season with a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Red Stars in Week 1. Lloyd scored the second goal of the match, which would prove to be the game-winner, while rookie Rachel Daly added a goal and an assist. For her performance, Daly was named NWSL Week 1 Player of the Week. Forward Kealia Ohai scored the Dash’s third goal.