Orlando Pride returns to Orlando City Stadium on Saturday night, hosting FC Kansas City at 7:30 p.m. ET. After falling in its last two matches at home, Orlando aims to get back to its winning ways in front of its supporters in the team’s first home night match of the season.
“We need to [get back on track]. Not only have we had two losses at home, we haven’t scored in two games at home. We scored nine goals in three games away from home. We’re a goal scoring team and we create chances and we need to do that at home. We need to do it, firstly, to get points. This for me is one of those ‘must-win’ games,” Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “Secondly, we need to perform in front of our spectators. We have an unbelievable group of fans and we need to put a show on for them and part of that is to score goals.”
The Pride earned a point on the road last week after Marta scored her second NWSL brace, capitalizing on a 10th minute penalty kick and a 56th minute half-volley for her seventh and eighth goals of the season. Despite going up 1-0, and regaining a 2-1 lead after Mallory Pugh scored in the 24th minute, Orlando was forced to settle for a 2-2 draw following a penalty kick call in the 90th minute. Pugh scored her second of the match from the spot for the tie.
Forward Alex Morgan earned her first start of the season in the match, playing 63 minutes before being replaced by rookie Rachel Hill. It was the third straight road match in which the Pride earned points, dating back to a June 17th 4-2 win at the Houston Dash.
FC Kansas City heads to Orlando City Stadium looking to bounce back from perhaps its toughest loss of the season, a 3-2 loss to Sky Blue FC. The Blues held a 2-0 lead for most of the match, but Sky Blue's Sam Kerr exploded for a hat trick in the final 12 minutes of the match to steal all three points.
The visiting team will be without starting forward Shea Groom, who picked up a straight red card late in the first half of last week’s match. However, Kansas City still boasts U.S. Women’s National Team forward Sydney Leroux up top and defender Becky Sauerbrunn leading the backline.
The two sides met once already this season, playing to a 1-1 draw at Swope Soccer Village on May 7. Marta scored her first goal of the season in the match.
With eight goals on the year, Marta currently sits second in the league behind Kerr and Seattle Reign FC midfielder Megan Rapinoe, who both have nine goals.
Next week, the Pride head to Toyota Park to face off against the Chicago Red Stars in the NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime. Kickoff for the July 22 match is slated for 3:30 p.m. ET.