Orlando Pride (1-2-1, 4 points) picked up its first win of the season with a 1-0 final over the Houston Dash (0-2-2, 2 points) on Sunday at Orlando City Stadium. Chioma Ubogagu scored her second goal of the season and the game-winner midway through the second half.
“Just delighted to get our first win of the season,” Pride head coach Tom Sermanni said. “We knew it was going to be a very difficult game, particularly with the way Houston set up defensively. They make it really tight and very difficult to break them down. I think we found that particularly in the first half, it was probably a little bit frustrating because we never quite got into a rhythm.
“But I was really, really pleased with our response in the second half. I thought we upped the tempo a bit, we started dictating most of the game in the second half and once we got the first goal, we probably had another couple chances to finish the game. We talked about finding a way to win, which was important because we felt that particularly in the first game here and then the Washington game we lost games we could have won. Today was a really important game for us to win and the players found a way to win.”
The match was scoreless until the 65th minute when Ubogagu broke the deadlock. Christine Nairn served a beautiful free kick into the box for Ubogagu, who hammered her header inside the near post.
It marks the second consecutive game that Nairn found Ubogagu for a goal after the pair combined for the opening score in Portland last week.
Orlando nearly doubled its lead when Sydney Leroux fired a shot off the left post on a breakaway attempt. Just two minutes before Ubogagu’s goal, Alex Morgan had a strong look at goal but put it over the bar.
Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris made two saves as she and the Pride’s three back of Toni Pressley, Shelina Zadorsky and Ali Krieger preserved the team's first clean sheet of the season.
This was also the last match the Pride were without their Australian and Brazilian national team players. Matildas Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond and Brazilians Marta, Monica and Poliana will be available for selection after competing in 2019 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers next Saturday when the Pride host Seattle Reign FC at 7:30 p.m. ET at Orlando City Stadium.
Ticket to the 7:30 p.m. match are available at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Orlando Pride vs. Houston Dash
Date: April 22, 2018
Venue: Orlando City Stadium
Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET
Goals 1 2 F
Houston (0-2-2) 0 0 0
Orlando (1-2-1) 0 0 1
ORL - Chioma Ubogagu (Christine Nairn) 65’
Orlando Pride: Ashlyn Harris ©; Ali Krieger, Shelina Zadorsky, Toni Pressley; Kristen Edmonds, Dani Weatherholt, Christine Nairn, Carson Pickett (Rachel Hill 64’); Sydney Leroux (Danica Evans 90+1’), Alex Morgan, Chioma Ubogagu (Abby Elinsky 81’)
Substitutes Not Used: Haley Kopmeyer; Lotta Ӧkvist; Bridget Callahan; Nadia Gomes
Houston Dash: Jane Campbell; Rachel Daly, Amber Brooks ©, Janine Van Wyk, Kristie Mewis; Kimberly Keever (Alli Murphy 77’), Mana Shim, Haley Hanson, Linda Motlhalo; Savannah Jordan (Kealia Ohai 59’), Nichelle Prince (Thembi Kgatlana 60’)
Substitutes Not Used: Bianca Henninger; Lindsay Angew, Claire Falknor; Veronica Latsko
Stats Summary: ORL / HOU
Possession: 57.7 / 42.3%
Shots: 14 / 10
Shots on Goal: 3 / 2
Saves: 2 / 2
Corner Kicks: 4 / 2
Fouls: 9 / 10
Offside: 2 / 7
Referee: Jasmine Peralta
Assistant Referee 1: Walter Heatherly
Assistant Referee 2: Francisco Bermudez
Fourth Official: Natalie Simon