Orlando Pride posted its most dominant victory of the 2018 National Women’s Soccer League season on Saturday afternoon, downing the Chicago Red Stars 5-2 on a hot day at Toyota Park. The Pride got the match started with two goals in the first six minutes, including the fastest goal in Club history from forward Rachel Hill. Sydney Leroux also scored her first two goals of the season.
“It was a good game. If you’re neutral watching it, I think it was a great game to watch. It ebbed and it flowed, both teams were trying to win the game and it was very competitive,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “I thought we started very well but dropped off after we went two-nil up and Chicago came back very strongly. I think the turning point in the game was us getting back in front so quickly after they equalized. That gave us a buffer, knocked them back a little bit and we were able to go on and win the game.”
It didn’t take long for the Pride to get on the board, with Hill scoring her second goal in as many games just 108 seconds into the match. In her third start of the season, Hill tracked down a cross from Poliana and fired a near side shot past Alyssa Naeher for the early lead.
Just four minutes later, Alex Morgan made it a two-goal difference, powering home a perfectly placed cross from Marta with her head. It was Morgan’s second goal of the season and the quickest two-goal lead ever compiled by the Pride.
Despite Ashlyn Harris making a spectacular breakaway save on Sam Kerr in the 21st minute, the Pride were unable to clear the ball from the area and Kerr capitalized moments later on a Yuki Nagasato cross sent back into the box.
It was the Nagasato to Kerr connection again in the 52nd minute, as Kerr scored her second of the game to draw the game level.
But the Pride responded in stunning fashion courtesy of two goals in two minutes from the second half substitute, Leroux. Just one minute after Kerr’s tying goal, Ali Krieger drove in a cross from the right flank, and Leroux put her body on the line to earn her first goal in purple off of a diving header.
Just two minutes later it was Leroux again, collecting a cross from Morgan with her back to goal and spinning for an upper-90 goal past Naeher.
Dani Weatherholt finished off the scoring in the 83rd minute, finding herself unmarked inside the box on a Morgan cross for her second career goal.
Krieger, who entered Saturday’s match as the NWSL’s active leader in consecutive minutes played, saw that streak come to an end after she was substituted off in the 70th minute. The 3,227 minute streak dated back to September 6, 2016 when the defender was a member of the Washington Spirit.
The Pride will play their fifth road game over a six match stretch on Sunday, June 3, traveling to face Seattle Reign FC at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 10:30 p.m. ET.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Chicago Red Stars vs. Orlando Pride
Date: May 26, 2018
Venue: Toyota Park
Kickoff: 3:50 p.m. ET
Goals 1 2 F
Orlando (4-3-3) 2 3 5
Chicago (2-3-6) 1 1 2
ORL - Rachel Hill 2’
ORL - Alex Morgan (Marta) 6’
CHI - Sam Kerr (Yuki Nagasato) 21’
CHI - Sam Kerr (Yuki Nagasato) 60’
ORL - Sydney Leroux (Ali Krieger) 61’
ORL - Sydney Leroux 63’
ORL - Dani Weatherholt (Alex Morgan) 83’
Orlando Pride: Ashlyn Harris ©; Ali Krieger (Carson Pickett 71’), Monica, Shelina Zadorsky, Poliana; Dani Weatherholt, Emily van Egmond, Alanna Kennedy; Rachel Hill (Christine Nairn 65’), Alex Morgan, Marta (Sydney Leroux 52’)
Substitutes Not Used: Haley Kopmeyer; Kristen Edmonds; Danica Evans, Chioma Ubogagu
Chicago Red Stars: Alyssa Naeher; Taylor Comeau, Katie Naughton, Sam Johnson, Arin Gilliland; Danielle Colaprico (Sarah Gorden 46’), Julie Ertz ©, Sofia Huerta (Rosie White 64’); Yuki Nagasato, Michele Vasconcelos (Alyssa Mautz 46’), Sam Kerr
Substitutes Not Used: Emily Boyd; Rosie White, Nikki Stanton, Lauren Kaskie; Summer Green
Stats Summary: CHI / ORL
Possession: 51.3% / 48.7%
Shots: 13 / 11
Shots on Goal: 7 / 6
Saves: 1 / 6
Corner Kicks: 3 / 6
Fouls: 10 / 7
Offside: 3 / 6
CHI - Sam Johnson (Yellow Card) 42’
Referee: Reyna Fonseca
Assistant Referee 1: John Krill
Assistant Referee 2: Tom Felice
Fourth Official: Joshua Kelley