Orlando Pride closed its inaugural season on Saturday night with a hard-fought performance against FC Kansas City, falling 2-1 to the defending National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Champions after a late penalty kick by Heather O’Reilly.
The Pride came out of the gates strong, controlling possession and testing Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart early in the match, with Jasmyne Spencer giving the Pride an early lead on her fourth goal of the year.
“I think tonight’s game can be summed up with the rest of the season. We controlled until halftime, the first half in particular. I thought we controlled the game, dominated the game. We were comfortable and had a really good passing game of soccer,” Orlando Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “Then, we seemed to have spells where we’d either switch off or lose a little bit of momentum and we concede goals.”
Sixteen minutes into the match, Spencer gave the Pride a one-goal advantage with a blasted shot after Kristen Edmonds’ set piece was blocked. Edmonds, who drew the foul, tried to cross into the box but her effort hit a Kansas City player at the top of the 18. Spencer, however, was waiting for the chance and with no hesitation powered in a shot from the top of the arc.
Kansas City found the game-winner in the 84th minute after defender Brittany Taylor drew a foul inside the box. O’Reilly stepped to the spot to face former U.S. Women’s National Team teammate Harris and beat the keeper in the left side of the goal.
“The effort and commitment from the players [this season] has been outstanding in every game we’ve played. They’ve never thrown the towel in; they’ve never given up,” Sermanni added. “If we could just turn these close defeats into some victories then I think we’ll have a successful season next year.”
Saturday marked the last match for midfielder Becky Edwards, who earned the start and the captain’s armband in her 69th and final NWSL appearance. Edwards, a former Florida State University All-American, exited the match in the 73rd minute to a standing ovation from the home crowd.
After being announced as the 10th team in the NWSL just over a year ago, the Pride wraps up its first home season after welcoming over 87,000 fans to Camping World Stadium, including a single-game record 23,403 fans in its home opener. The 10-game total attendance places the expansion side comfortably in second place overall at the conclusion of the NWSL season.
Now, the Pride will look ahead to the 2017 season in Orlando City’s new soccer-specific field located in the heart of downtown Orlando.
Season ticket renewal is now open for current Orlando Pride season ticket members, who can secure their season tickets for the 25,500 seat stadium through Nov. 1.
More information on season ticket renewal can be found at the link here.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Orlando Pride vs. FC Kansas City
Date: September 24, 2016
Venue: Camping World Stadium
Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET
Goals 1 2 F
Orlando (6-13-1) 1 0 1
FC Kansas City (7-8-5) 0 2 2
ORL - Jasmyne Spencer 16’
KC - Tiffany McCarty 47’
KC - Heather O’Reilly (PK) 84’
Orlando Pride: Ashlyn Harris; Dani Weatherholt, Laura Alleway (Toni Pressley 69’), Monica, Cami Levin; Lisa De Vanna, Kaylyn Kyle (Sarah Hagen 78’), Kristen Edmonds, Becky Edwards (Maddy Evans 73’), Jasmyne Spencer; Alex Morgan
Substitutes Not Used: Kaitlyn Savage; McKenzie Berryhill; Sam Witteman; Jamia Fields
FC Kansas City: Nicole Barnhart; Lo’eau LaBonta, Becky Sauerbrunn, Alex Arlitt, Brittany Taylor, Katie Bowen (Frances Silva 60’), Desiree Scott, Tiffany McCarty (Caroline Kastor 87’), Yael Averbuch; Heather O'Reilly (Brianne Reed 93+’), Shea Groom
Substitutes Not Used: Cat Parkhill; Alexa Newfield
Stats Summary: ORL / KC
Shots: 8 / 8
Shots on Goal: 3 / 4
Saves: 2 / 2
Corner Kicks: 6 / 2
Fouls: 7 / 10
Offside: 1 / 3
KC - Alex Arlitt (Yellow - Reckless Foul) 80’
KC - Frances Silva (Yellow - Reckless Foul) 91+’
Referee: Margaret Domka
Assistant Referee 1: Francisco Bermudez
Assistant Referee 2: Brooke Mayo
Fourth Official: Janessa Gunn