Orlando Pride Begin Home-and-Home Series with Sky Blue FC

Photo: EqualizerSoccer.com

Photo: EqualizerSoccer.com

Orlando Pride will play its final away game of its inaugural National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season on Wednesday night, when the Club travels to face Sky Blue FC at Rutgers University. The 7 p.m. ET match will begin a home-and-home series with the New Jersey-based team, as the two sides will play their only two matches of 2016 against each other over a span of three days.

Wednesday’s game will be streamed at orlando-pride.com/live or can be followed on Twitter through the Pride’s official account, @ORLPride.

“I say this week in and week out, every game in this league is tough and difficult. [Sky Blue head coach] Christy [Holly] has got the group very tight. They aren’t necessarily a group of star names, they are much more of a team effort,” said Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni.  “They have quality, experienced leadership in Christie Rampone and Kelley O’Hara but, in general, they are very much a team that works hard for each other.”

Wednesday’s match could mark the Orlando Pride debut of Australian Women’s National Team captain Lisa De Vanna, who was signed by the Club last week. De Vanna, who ranks second all-time in Australia’s scoring history, played her first season in the NWSL as a member of Sky Blue FC in 2013.

The Pride were eliminated from postseason contention on Saturday night, falling 4-2 to the Houston Dash at BBVA Compass Stadium. It was the fourth meeting between the two sides this year, with the Pride winning the previous three.

The Dash opened with a 3-0 lead until, late in the match, the Pride mounted a comeback scoring goals in the 80th and 87th minute to cut Houston’s lead to 3-2. Captain Alex Morgan ended Houston’s bid for a shutout with the Pride’s first goal, scoring on a clever set piece play with an assist from Kristen Edmonds. It was Edmonds who scored Orlando’s next goal, her team-leading fifth of the year, with a pinpoint first-time shot from near the penalty spot.

However, after a late injury to Becky Edwards reduced Orlando to 10 players and the Pride pushing for the equalizer, the Dash counterattacked and added a fourth goal late in stoppage time.

Sky Blue traveled to face FC Kansas City on Sunday evening, falling 2-1 to the defending NWSL champion. Australian Sam Kerr put Sky Blue up 1-0 in the 40th minute but Kansas City scored the match’s next two - including an 85th minute game-winner from Yael Averbuch - to take the three points.

After Wednesday, both Sky Blue and Orlando will head to Central Florida for the second leg of the back-to-back series, playing at Camping World Stadium on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Pride will close its inaugural season at home on Sept. 24, hosting FC Kansas City at 5 p.m. ET.

Tickets to the Pride remaining two home matches can be purchased at orlando-pride.com or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.