Orlando Pride (6-9-0, 18 points) played its final match before a lengthy break on Sunday night but, despite a hard-fought effort, fell 1-0 to the Boston Breakers at Harvard University.
“Despite giving up the early goal, I thought we came on fairly strong in the first half; we scored a goal that was offside, hit the post [on another] and had another good chance. So, we were still in the game,” said Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni. “Then, the second half was a real battle. It was a real scrap. It was one of those games where a team is desperately trying to hold onto a lead and we’re trying to break them down. We probably just didn’t have enough quality on the day to create chances that we should have created given our field position.”
Looking for a late equalizer, the Pride put high pressure on the Breakers in the final minutes of the match with Jasmyne Spencer creating an opportunity late. With multiple defenders on her, Spencer carried the ball through the defense and into the 18-yard box where she was taken down, but the forward was unable to win a penalty kick in extra time.
Spencer, who was physically under pressure by the Breakers defense for most of the match, drew a foul just inside the second half, which gave way for a set piece attempt from Kristen Edmonds. In a situation much like her equalizer against Boston on July 10, Edmonds tried to curl the ball beyond the wall and past Boston’s Jami Kranich, but a Breakers player was able to get a head on the ball at the last second to keep it 1-0.
Edmonds, who has been versatile in all areas of the field this season, earned her first start of the year on the defensive line, while rookie Sam Witteman was moved to forward for the Sunday match.
Before the first half came to a close, Orlando was granted a free kick on the left side. Edmonds crossed the ball in where it was headed by Becky Edwards but her shot ricocheted off of the near post. Boston looked to break out on a counterattack, but Natasha Dowie’s shot from well outside the box was easily handled by Pride goalkeeper Kaitlyn Savage.
The Pride went into halftime facing a one-goal deficit after the Breakers got on the board in the 10th minute. Dowie was able to capitalize on a miscue by the Pride defense, picking off Edmond’s back-pass to Savage, then beating the goalkeeper for the lone goal of the match.
The Pride appeared to equalize in the 22nd minute, however Kaylyn Kyle’s goal was called back due to offside.
With the Rio Olympics due to start next week, the Pride will see a 26-day break until their next match as the National Women’s Soccer League will be on hiatus from August 1-25. Orlando returns to Camping World Stadium on August 26, hosting the top-seeded Washington Spirit at 7:30 p.m. ET.