Orlando Pride travels to face the Washington Spirit on Saturday night in what is expected to be an emotional match at the Maryland SoccerPlex. The game will be the first the Pride play since the recent tragedies last weekend in Orlando, and the two teams will come together to honors the victims throughout the match.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET can be watched live at orlando-pride.com/live or can be followed on Twitter through the Pride’s official account, @ORLPride.
Both clubs will wear #OrlandoUnited t-shirts during pregame and armbands during the match honoring those who were lost. In addition, the match will feature a moment of silence in the 49th minute.
“I think it’s like anything in life, you can use tragedy to go away and disappear or you can use tragedy to say ‘Hi, we’re not going to let that impact us’,” said Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni. “We’re going to show that we are strong, we are united and we are ready to deal with this and, more importantly for the people of Orlando, it’s our responsibility to be like that. If we get a result, hopefully that helps everyone else here to cope a little better with what’s happened.”
The Pride will be looking to respond after a tough 1-0 loss at Western New York last weekend, where the Club was unable to respond to a fourth minute goal by the home team. Like their previous meeting, it was a physical match for both teams with 26 total fouls over the 90 minutes.
Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, in her first game back after international duty, made five total saves including a second-half stop on Samantha Mewis that was tabbed as the NWSL’s Week 8 Save of the Week.
Harris will be backed up by Megan Dorsey this weekend, who was signed this week as a goalkeeper replacement after Aubrey Bledsoe sustained a season-ending fibula fracture this week in training.
Washington, who started the season with a five-game unbeaten streak, are coming off a 1-1 draw at the Boston Breakers. Katie Stengel scored her first goal of the season in the 13th minute but the Breakers responded on a penalty kick just two minutes later and the teams had to settle for split points.
Washington sits just two points and one spot above the Pride in the standing, with only three points separating the Pride from first place. The match will also be a homecoming of sorts for Harris, who played her first three years in the NWSL with the Spirit.
“I’m going back to my second home now,” Harris said. “If I can’t play at home this weekend that is definitely somewhere I want to be, in D.C., just because of the support they have shown [to me].”
With Saturday’s match closing a four-game road swing for the Pride, the team will return to Orlando to place back-to-back home matches next week. The Club first hosts the Houston Dash on Thursday, June 23 in a 7:30 p.m. ET meeting before welcoming Portland Thorns FC at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 26.