After playing two matches on the road, Orlando Pride (0-2-1, 1 point) returns home to face the Houston Dash (0-1-2, 2 points) on Sunday, April 22, at Orlando City Stadium. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. ET and will mark the Club’s second annual “90s Night” themed match.
The match will be streamed on go90 and on the NWSL app. International fans can tune in on NWSLsoccer.com. Tickets to the match, and all remaining Pride home matches, are available at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling 855-ORL-CITY.
“In this league there are no easy games. Every game is tough. If you look at the competition at the moment, there’s virtually nothing separating the teams,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “We’re expecting the game to be just as tough but if we have everyone fit and healthy, I think we’ve got the tools to win the game. It’s about us, tactically, getting the right formation set up and being able to execute that.”
Orlando enters the match seeking its first win of the season and its fifth all-time victory over Houston. The Pride began 2018 with a point at home against Utah Royals FC before falling on the road to the Washington Spirit, 2-0, and Portland Thorns FC, 2-1.
Last Saturday’s match in Portland saw goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris record a season-high six saves against the Thorns, becoming the third NWSL goalkeeper to pass the 300 career saves threshold. Chioma Ubogagu scored her first goal of the season off an assist from midfielder Christine Nairn for her league-leading 19th career regular season assist and 20th overall.
The Pride are 4-2-0 all-time against Houston, Orlando’s best record against any active NWSL team, and are 2-1-0 when playing in Central Florida.
Six Orlando players have spent time with the Dash in some capacity. Camila (2015), Poliana (2016-17), Toni Pressley (2015) and Ubogagu (2016) played for Houston, while Lotta Ökvist was acquired by Houston in the 2018 Dispersal Draft and National Team Player Replacement Abby Elinsky was selected No. 30 overall in the 2018 College Draft.
The Pride will be without their Brazilian and Australian players for the final time, as both countries wrap up their respective FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying tournaments this week. All five players - Marta, Monica, Poliana, Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond - are expected to be available for the Pride’s next match on April 28 against Seattle Reign FC.
Houston is coming off a 3-0 loss to the Chicago Red Stars on Wednesday. Dash forward and captain Kealia Ohai, who sustained an ACL injury last year, could make her 2018 debut on Sunday. The Notre Dame product has scored 22 goals in 75 appearances for Houston. Other key players for the Dash include England national team defender Rachel Daly, defender Amber Brooks and U.S. Women’s National Team goalkeeper Jane Campbell.
The Dash boast a new look for the 2018 season after announcing former South Africa manager Vera Pauw as the second head coach in team history. Upon her hiring, Pauw added two South African players, Thembi Kgatlana and Linda Motlhalo, to join Janine van Wyk on the Houston roster. Overall, the Dash have added 13 new players since the end of the 2017 season.