Orlando Pride moved to 2-0-0 in preseason play on Saturday night, with a dramatic 2-1 victory over host University of South Florida. Trialist Carol Rodrigues, who entered the match in the 61st minute, scored the game-winning goal in the 90th minute to push the Pride to victory.
“We found a way to come back and win the game; these are the valuable bits of preseason games. [Sometimes] you can get frustrated in preseason games because they don’t go as smoothly as you hope,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said after the match. “But [those games] are in some ways more valuable than if everything does go smoothly because you start to see things that you need to work on and things that you need to improve on moving forward.”
Searching for the go-ahead goal, the Pride pushed up the field before 2017 draft pick Nickolette Driesse sent a lofted ball into the box for Rodrigues. The Brazil-born player won possession of the cross and made a move to get around the goalkeeper before blasting the winner into the back of the net. It was Rodrigues’ second goal of the preseason.
Offseason acquisition Chioma Ubogagu also scored her second preseason goal in the match, putting the Pride ahead with a heads-up play 11 minutes in. With Orlando putting pressure on USF’s backline, Ubogagu stepped in to intercept a slow-rolling pass to the goalkeeper and calmly slotted the ball in to make it 1-0.
Ubogagu was part of three-player front line, that also included Jasmyne Spencer and Sarah Hagen as starters. Orlando’s four-player midfield featured Jamia Fields, Kristen Edmonds, Dani Weatherholt and Camila. A three-back defensive line was anchored by Ali Kreiger with Laura Alleway and Toni Pressley on the wings.
For the second-straight game, the Pride put in a completely new lineup at the half. Goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe replaced starter Ashlyn Harris at break and came up with two big stops early in the half.
Despite Bledsoe’s heroics, USF was able to breakthrough in the 69th minute when Evelyne Viens scored on a counter attack.
Orlando will face its next preseason test in four days when it travels to face the University of Florida on Wednesday afternoon.
ORL – Chioma Ubogagu 11’
ORL – Carol Rodrigues 90’
Orlando First Half: Harris; Alleway, Krieger, Pressley; Fields, Edmonds, Weatherholt, Camila; Ubogagu, Hagen, Spencer
Orlando Second Half: Bledsoe; Levin, Kennedy, Krieger (Driesse 61’); M. Evans, Monica, Edmonds (Burkenroad 61’), Camila (O’Brien 61’); Ubogagu (D. Evans 61’), Spencer (Rodrigues 61’), Hill