Flashback Friday: Episode 29 - The Perfect Interview with Laura Alleway

What's up everybody!  As a special treat, we are taking you back to one of our favorite episodes from last season.  Remember that time Jay sat down, in studio, with an Aussie, an Olympian, and a Centerback for the Orlando Pride?  Sounds crowed.  Well, it wasn't because all three of those can be wrapped up into one amazing Laura Alleway!  Take a listen, as you get to know more about one of our favorite people from "down under".

Orlando Pride’s Ashlyn Harris Named Finalist for NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year

 Photo: osjsoccer.com

Photo: osjsoccer.com

Orlando Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris has been named a finalist for National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Goalkeeper of the Year. The final round of voting for the NWSL’s end-of-season awards is now open through Thursday, Sept. 29, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, Oct. 4.

Fans can vote for Harris, and the rest of the NWSL awards, at the link here.

Harris, 30, was one of the Club’s most consistent performers throughout the inaugural campaign. Despite missing five games due to U.S. Women’s National Team duty, Harris finished the year second in saves (62) after facing 82 shots on goal, the third most in the league.

The Satellite Beach, Fla., native’s efforts between the pipes did not go unnoticed, as she was awarded NWSL Save of the Week nine times, winning each time she was nominated. In the month of May, Harris led the Pride to three straight shutout victories, allowing just two goals over the five games. She finished the year with a total of four clean sheets.

This is the second time Harris has been selected as a finalist for Goalkeeper of the Year, previously named to the top three after the 2014 season with the Washington Spirit.

Voting will be open to fans (20%), owners/GMs/coaches (20%), media (20%) and NWSL players (40%).

Orlando Pride Closes Inaugural Season in Front of Home Crowd

 Photo: OrlandoCitySC.com

Photo: OrlandoCitySC.com

Orlando Pride closed its inaugural season on Saturday night with a hard-fought performance against FC Kansas City, falling 2-1 to the defending National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Champions after a late penalty kick by Heather O’Reilly.

The Pride came out of the gates strong, controlling possession and testing Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart early in the match, with Jasmyne Spencer giving the Pride an early lead on her fourth goal of the year.

“I think tonight’s game can be summed up with the rest of the season. We controlled until halftime, the first half in particular. I thought we controlled the game, dominated the game. We were comfortable and had a really good passing game of soccer,” Orlando Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said.  “Then, we seemed to have spells where we’d either switch off or lose a little bit of momentum and we concede goals.”

Sixteen minutes into the match, Spencer gave the Pride a one-goal advantage with a blasted shot after Kristen Edmonds’ set piece was blocked. Edmonds, who drew the foul, tried to cross into the box but her effort hit a Kansas City player at the top of the 18. Spencer, however, was waiting for the chance and with no hesitation powered in a shot from the top of the arc.

Kansas City found the game-winner in the 84th minute after defender Brittany Taylor drew a foul inside the box. O’Reilly stepped to the spot to face former U.S. Women’s National Team teammate Harris and beat the keeper in the left side of the goal.

“The effort and commitment from the players [this season] has been outstanding in every game we’ve played. They’ve never thrown the towel in; they’ve never given up,” Sermanni added.  “If we could just turn these close defeats into some victories then I think we’ll have a successful season next year.”

Saturday marked the last match for midfielder Becky Edwards, who earned the start and the captain’s armband in her 69th and final NWSL appearance. Edwards, a former Florida State University All-American, exited the match in the 73rd minute to a standing ovation from the home crowd.

After being announced as the 10th team in the NWSL just over a year ago, the Pride wraps up its first home season after welcoming over 87,000 fans to Camping World Stadium, including a single-game record 23,403 fans in its home opener. The 10-game total attendance places the expansion side comfortably in second place overall at the conclusion of the NWSL season.

Now, the Pride will look ahead to the 2017 season in Orlando City’s new soccer-specific field located in the heart of downtown Orlando.

Season ticket renewal is now open for current Orlando Pride season ticket members, who can secure their season tickets for the 25,500 seat stadium through Nov. 1.

More information on season ticket renewal can be found at the link here.


NWSL Match Report
Match: Orlando Pride vs. FC Kansas City
Date: September 24, 2016
Venue: Camping World Stadium
Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET
Attendance: 7,454
Weather: Clear
 

Scoring Summary

Goals                                 1     2     F

Orlando (6-13-1)                1     0     1

FC Kansas City (7-8-5)     0     2     2


ORL - Jasmyne Spencer 16’
KC - Tiffany McCarty 47’
KC - Heather O’Reilly (PK) 84’

Lineups:
Orlando Pride: Ashlyn Harris; Dani Weatherholt, Laura Alleway (Toni Pressley 69’), Monica, Cami Levin; Lisa De Vanna, Kaylyn Kyle (Sarah Hagen 78’), Kristen Edmonds, Becky Edwards (Maddy Evans 73’), Jasmyne Spencer; Alex Morgan

Substitutes Not Used: Kaitlyn Savage; McKenzie Berryhill; Sam Witteman; Jamia Fields

FC Kansas City: Nicole Barnhart; Lo’eau LaBonta, Becky Sauerbrunn, Alex Arlitt, Brittany Taylor, Katie Bowen (Frances Silva 60’), Desiree Scott, Tiffany McCarty (Caroline Kastor 87’), Yael Averbuch; Heather O'Reilly (Brianne Reed 93+’), Shea Groom

Substitutes Not Used: Cat Parkhill; Alexa Newfield


Stats Summary: ORL / KC
Shots: 8 / 8
Shots on Goal: 3 / 4
Saves: 2 / 2
Corner Kicks: 6 / 2
Fouls: 7 / 10
Offside: 1 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
KC - Alex Arlitt (Yellow - Reckless Foul) 80’
KC - Frances Silva (Yellow - Reckless Foul) 91+’

Officials:
Referee: Margaret Domka
Assistant Referee 1: Francisco Bermudez
Assistant Referee 2: Brooke Mayo
Fourth Official: Janessa Gunn

Coach Tom Sermanni: Thoughts on the Game and Season

“I could probably answer both of those in one. Firstly, I’d just like to thank all the local journalists, print, radio and TV people for the great support that we’ve had this season through thick and thin. I know when it’s tough times it’s tough for everybody so I appreciated coming in here and getting your continued support. Thanks and hopefully we’ll do better for you next year.

As I said I can probably answer those questions two in one. I think tonight’s game probably summed up some of my thoughts for the season. I felt at halftime in the first half in particular we controlled the game, dominated the game, we were in control of the game, we looked comfortable, had really good passages of soccer, probably didn’t create enough for the amount of possession we had. In the spells where we either switch off or we lose a little bit of momentum we can see goals and tonight was a typical game and that’s been probably the story for particularly the second half of the season when basically the game tonight, the game against Sky Blue, the last home game and others, Portland here, that we’ve managed to actually lose the game from a position of winning. I think if anything that has made the season a little bit frustrating from my perspective.

The effort and commitment from the players has been outstanding in every game we’ve played. They’ve never thrown the towel in, they’ve never given up. If we can just turn these close defeats into some victories, then I think we can have a successful season next year.”

Orlando Pride to Close Out Historic Inaugural Season Saturday Night

 Photo: OrlandoCitySC.com

Photo: OrlandoCitySC.com

On Saturday evening, Orlando Pride will close out a record-breaking inaugural season when it hosts reigning Champion FC Kansas City at 5 p.m. ET in the final match of the 2016 campaign.

After Saturday’s final Pride match at Camping World Stadium, fans will next watch the Club from its state-of-the-art, soccer-specific stadium set to open for the 2017 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and Major League Soccer (MLS) seasons.

The match will be streamed at orlando-pride.com/live or can be followed on Twitter through the Pride’s official account, @ORLPride.

“[Kansas City is] a very fluid team that has played together consistently for the last four years and this is the first year they haven’t made the final,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said.  “They’ve got a mix of some very high quality experienced players, like Heather O’Reilly and Becky Sauerbrunn, and they’ve got that intermingled with younger, professional players who are mobile and talented.”

The two clubs met earlier in the season, playing a 2-0 final on May 28 after Kansas City’s Yael Averbuch and Erika Tymrak scored goals in the second half. The match marked the first career start for Pride goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe, earning the nod in place of Ashlyn Harris who was on national team duty with fellow countrywoman Alex Morgan.

Saturday’s match will be the last for midfielder and Florida State University product Becky Edwards, who announced her retirement from professional soccer on Thursday.  Edwards, 28, finishes her career after seven years across multiple professional leagues, with three club championships to her name.

Despite being eliminated from postseason contention, Sermanni continued to emphasize the importance of finishing the expansion season on a high note.

“A perfect end [to the season] would be a win. A perfect end would be a good performance. A perfect end would be to finish the season on a high note. Those are the priorities: a good performance and a win,” Sermanni added.

Joining the NWSL as the league’s second expansion team, Orlando made its mark in 2016. In addition to setting the NWSL single-game attendance record at its home opener with 23,403 fans, Pride matches are as the highest viewed on YouTube and, entering its final home match, Orlando sits second in overall attendance for the season.

Harris, who earned her ninth international cap with the U.S. Women’s National Team last week, has earned Save of the Week honors nine times in the award’s first year - the most of any goalkeeper - having won each time she has been nominated.

In addition, after scoring the first goal in Club history, defender Steph Catley won the NWSL’s first-ever Goal of the Week award after her set piece tally in the season opener at Portland. Over the following weeks of the season, Morgan won the award twice (Week 5 and Week 17) while Jasmyne Spencer and Kristen Edmonds won in Week 10 and Week 12, respectively.

Tickets for the season finale can be purchased at orlando-pride.com or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.

Season ticket renewal for the Pride’s 2017 season in the Club’s new stadium has begun. Current season ticket members can renew their season tickets for the upcoming season through Nov. 1.

More information on season ticket renewals can be found here.

National Women’s Soccer League Announced 2016 NWSL Awards

The National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) announced today the list of 2016 NWSL Awards featuring the Golden Boot, Most Valuable Player, Defender of the Year presented by Coppertone® from Bayer’s Consumer Health Division, Goalkeeper of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year and Best XI. The 2016 NWSL Awards will be voted upon in two rounds with fans once again participating in the voting process.

In the Preliminary Round, owners, general managers, coaches, players and the media will vote on the individual awards from Sept. 22 to Sept. 26 to determine the top finalists. The fans will then join the voting for the Final Round from Sept. 27 to Sept. 29 to determine the individual award winners and Best XI.

Voting Breakdown: 
Preliminary Round: Owners/GMs/Coaches (25%), Media (25%) and Players (50%)
Final Round: Fans (20%), Owners/GMs/Coaches (20%), Media (20%) and Players (40%)

Fans are encouraged to support their favorite players via Facebook and Twitter using the hash tags: #NWSLMVP, #NWSLDOY, #NWSLGOY, #NWSLROY, #NWSLCOY and #NWSLBestXI.

All 2016 NWSL Award winners will be announced in the days leading up to the NWSL Championship game on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 5 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. Below is the complete awards announcement schedule.

2016 NWSL Awards - Announcement Schedule: 
Monday, Sept. 26: Golden Boot (#NWSLGB)
Monday, Oct. 3: Coach of the Year (#NWSLCOY) and Rookie of the Year (#NWSLROY)
Tuesday, Oct. 4: Goalkeeper of the Year (#NWSLGOY)
Wednesday, Oct. 5: Defender of the Year (#NWSLDOY) presented by Coppertone®
Thursday, Oct. 6: MVP (#NWSLMVP)
Friday, Oct. 7: Best XI and Second XI (#NWSLBestXI)

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) is a ten-team Division-I women’s professional soccer league featuring national team players from around the world. The clubs are the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, Houston Dash, FC Kansas City, Orlando Pride, Portland Thorns FC, Seattle Reign FC, Sky Blue FC, Washington Spirit and the Western New York Flash.

Based in Chicago, the NWSL is sponsored by Coppertone®.  The brand supported the U.S. Women’s National Team on its journey to the FIFA Women's World Cup last year, teaming up with player Kelley O’ Hara in an effort to educate athletes and soccer fans about sun protection on and off the field. As part of an ongoing partnership, Bayer, the maker of Coppertone®, continues to support the NWSL and its players throughout the season.

For more information about the NWSL, log on to the league’s official website at www.NWSLsoccer.com.  

Orlando Pride Midfielder Becky Edwards Announces Retirement

Orlando Pride midfielder Becky Edwards has announced her retirement from professional soccer. Edwards, a veteran of the women’s game, will suit up her final match on Saturday, Sept. 24 when the Pride host FC Kansas City at Camping World Stadium.

A veteran midfielder of both the NWSL and Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS), Edwards turned professional after standout careers on U.S. Youth National Teams and at Florida State University.

“It’s been seven years playing professionally and, in my heart, it feels right. I’ve had a good career and I think I’ve given it my all in every environment I’ve been in. For me, personally, it feels like it’s time for something else. I feel satisfied,” Edwards said.  “I’ve played with some of the best players in the world; I’ve won championships. It just feels like it’s time. Being here in Orlando has been incredible; the organization has been awesome. Now, I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my life.”

“Becky has been a distinguished player in women's soccer; she had an exceptional college career at FSU, one of the most prestigious programs in the US, and an outstanding professional career in the US and overseas. She is a consummate professional and one of the most respected players in the game by players and coaches alike,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said.  “She's been an outstanding leader here in Orlando and made a significant contribution to our team both on and off the field in our inaugural year. I wish her every success moving forward. She will always remain a part of the Pride family.”

Edwards, 28, was acquired by the Pride in December from the Western New York Flash after previously playing for Portland Thorns FC and the Houston Dash.  In 2013, Edwards was signed as a free agent by the Thorns. She played 10 matches for Portland, and was slated to be called into U.S. WNT camp by Sermanni, but suffered an ACL tear that cut her first NWSL season short.

The next season, Edwards was acquired by the Dash in the 2014 Expansion Draft where she played in every minute of Houston’s first 23 matches. In 2015, Edwards was traded to the Flash where she would go on to be named team captain and played every minute of the season scoring two goals and adding three assists.

After four years at FSU, Edwards joined FC Gold Pride of WPS in 2010. There, the midfielder helped lead a star-studded roster to the league’s championship, her first of three club titles. The next year Edwards became a back-to-back WPS Champion, leading the Flash to the 2011 title. Two years later, in 2013, the Thorns would go on to win the first-ever NWSL Championship in Edwards’ injury-shortened season.

On the international stage, the Downingtown, Penn. native captained the 2008 U.S. U20 Women’s National Team. Alongside current Pride teammate Alex Morgan, Edwards and the USA became 2008 FIFA U20 Women's World Cup Champions after a 2-1 win over North Korea.

A four-year letterwinner with the Seminoles, Edwards left Tallahassee fifth all-time at FSU in career starts (89) and tied for third in all-time appearances (95). Team captain during her senior season, she was also named a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy given to college soccer’s most valuable player.

Edwards and the Pride play their final match of the Club’s inaugural 2016 season on Saturday night, hosting FC Kansas City at 5 p.m. ET at Camping World Stadium. Tickets for the match are available at orlando-pride.com or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.

Edmonds Continues Hot-Streak Against Home State Team

 Photo: OrlandoCitySC.com

Photo: OrlandoCitySC.com

Orlando Pride returned to Camping World Stadium on Saturday night to host Sky Blue FC in the second leg of a home-and-home series. The two teams played just three days prior, seeing a 1-1 decision at Rutgers University, but the New Jersey-based team took the three points in the second match by a 2-1 margin.

“Obviously at halftime, we were quite happy. I thought the game was fairly even in the first half, and we got the opportunity and scored. We came out for the second half feeling quite confident and quite comfortable,” said Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni.  “Almost a carbon copy of the goal Sky Blue scored against us in mid-week, happened early in the second half despite our best efforts. We struggled to break them down from there. The last 10-15 minutes, the effort from the players was great.”

Kristen Edmonds, a New Jersey native, continued her strong season for the Pride, adding to her team-leading total with her sixth goal of the season in the 44th minute. After Alex Morgan was taken down 30 yards out, Edmonds took the set piece herself and curled a shot over Sky Blue’s five-player wall, into the upper 90 and well-beyond the reach of goalkeeper Caroline Casey.

The Pride carried a one-goal lead into the half for the second-straight game against the Sky Blue, but Sam Kerr spoiled that lead for the second time, putting in the equalizer in the 49th minute.

Kerr collected a ball outside the box and drove into the penalty area, beating a Pride defender then leveling the match.

Then, Maya Hayes gave Sky Blue the lead five minutes after with a second-effort attempt after Ashlyn Harris made the initial save on the one-on-one chance.

Looking to create the well-known Orlando City SC late-game magic, Sermanni introduced Laura Alleway in the 79th minute, pushing the 5-10 defender up the field. It was Alleway’s first game with the Pride since June 26, missing four matches for the Rio Olympics--then returning with a quad injury.

The Australian center back came close to scoring her first goal of the season in stoppage time, finding herself open on a cross from Morgan, but could not head the ball on target.

Alleway’s Matildas teammate Lisa De Vanna earned her first start of the season on Saturday night, playing 62 minutes before making way for Jamia Fields. The speedy forward caused havoc from the get-go, looking to setup Jasmyne Spencer just five minutes in but Spencer’s shot sailed high.

Orlando will have a week off next week due to international matches and returns to Camping World Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 24, for its season finale against FC Kansas City.

Tickets for the 5 p.m. ET kickoff game can be purchased at orlando-pride.com or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.
 


NWSL Match Report
Match: Orlando Pride vs. Sky Blue FC
Date: September 10, 2016
Venue: Camping World Stadium
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Attendance: 6,788
Weather: Clear
 


Scoring Summary

Goals                            1     2     F

Orlando (6-12-1)           1     0     1

Sky Blue FC (7-7-5)     0     2     2


ORL - Kristen Edmonds 44’
NJ - Sam Kerr 49’
NJ - Maya Hayes 54’

Lineups:
Orlando Pride: Ashlyn Harris; Josée Bélanger (Toni Pressley 38’), Monica, Kaylyn Kyle Cami Levin; Lisa De Vanna (Jamia Fields 61’), Kristen Edmonds, Dani Weatherholt (Laura Alleway 79’), Jasmyne Spencer; Alex Morgan, Sarah Hagen

Substitutes Not Used: Kaitlyn Savage; Sam Witteman, Maddy Evans; Christina Burkenroad

Sky Blue FC: Caroline Casey; Erica Skroski, Kristin Grubka, Christie Rampone, Erin Simon; Sam Kerr, Sarah Killion, Raquel Rodriguez, Maya Hayes (Shawna Gordon 74’); Kelley O’Hara, Tasha Kai (CoCo Goodson 82’)

Substitutes Not Used: Caroline Stanley; Kelly Conheeney; Kim Decesare, Danielle Schulmann


Stats Summary: ORL / NJ
Shots: 9 / 8
Shots on Goal: 2 / 5
Saves: 3 / 1
Corner Kicks: 4 / 2
Fouls:10 / 11
Offside: 1 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
NJ - Kristin Grubka (Yellow Card - Tactical Foul) 51’
ORL - Toni Pressley (Yellow Card - Tactical Foul) 71’
NJ - Erin Simon (Yellow Card - Reckless Foul) 86’

Officials:
Referee: Danielle Chesky
Assistant Referee 1: Nick Uranga
Assistant Referee 2: Alicia Messer
Fourth Official: Christina Unkel

Pride Host Sky Blue FC in Second-to-Last Home Match on Saturday

 Photo: OrlandoCitySC.com

Photo: OrlandoCitySC.com

Less than 72 hours after finishing its first-ever match against Sky Blue FC, Orlando Pride will welcome the same team to Camping World Stadium for the second leg of a home-and-home series on Saturday, Sept. 10, at 7:30 p.m. ET. With two games remaining in their inaugural season, the Pride aim to take six points out of their next matches, starting with Saturday’s penultimate game.

Saturday’s game will be streamed at orlando-pride.com/live or can be followed on Twitter through the Pride’s official account, @ORLPride.

“In these last two matches, we’re looking to continue to improve the team and win a couple more matches,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said.  “Sky Blue played [on Wednesday] as we thought they would play and we’re assuming they’ll do something similar tomorrow. I thought how we planned for them, tactically, and how we set up was good for us. We did enough and had enough chances to probably win the game, so hopefully we can do the same on Saturday and come away with a win.”

Orlando and Sky Blue faced each other just three days ago at Rutgers University, playing to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday night. It was the first tie in Pride history.

Alex Morgan scored her fourth goal of the season in the 23rd minute with a classy finish on a perfectly placed ball from Maddy Evans. It was Evans’ first assist of the season, sending Morgan behind the Sky Blue backline for a first-time shot just outside of the penalty area.

The Pride held possession early and often in the midweek match, but the New Jersey team was able to find the equalizer with 10 minutes remaining on a rebound attempt. Orlando goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris made a breakaway save on Maya Hayes moments before, but the rebound fell into the path of Sam Kerr who leveled the game at one apiece.

While both teams have been eliminated from postseason contention, Sermanni not only hopes to use the final two matches as 2017 preparation, but as a way to thank the Club’s loyal fan base.

“There’s a real connection [at this Club] between the supporters and the team. It’s almost like one family. The fans are the lifeblood of this team,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said.  “We are very lucky to have a set of fans that are there to the bitter end, and it’s important that they see we’ve got a team that will go out there - win, lose or draw - and leave every drop of sweat on the field.”

After Saturday, the Pride will have a bye the following week as Morgan, Harris and Monica join their respective national teams for international friendlies. The team will return to Camping World Stadium for the final time, hosting FC Kansas City at 5 p.m. ET on Sept. 24 in the season finale.

Tickets for the remaining matches can be purchased at orlando-pride.com or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.

Pride Play to First Draw of Season Wednesday Night in New Jersey

 Photo: OrlandoCitySC.com

Photo: OrlandoCitySC.com

Eighteen games into its expansion season, Orlando Pride picked up its first draw of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season with a 1-1 stalemate at Sky Blue FC. The Pride came out of the gates strong, scoring on the foot of Alex Morgan 23 minutes into a match that kicked off a home-and-home series with the New Jersey team.

The Pride will see a short turnaround before their next match, hosting Sky Blue in just three days at Camping World Stadium. It will be the third match in a week for the Pride, who have two home matches remaining in their inaugural season.

“I thought we started the game well. I thought, up until we scored, I thought we were looking comfortable and controlling the passing quite well,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “As the game went on, it became end-to-end and perhaps a draw is a fair result. Of course we’re disappointed, because we were in front, but if you look at chances a point apiece is probably fair.”

Morgan gave the Pride the lead in the first half, wasting no time on a well-placed ball from Maddy Evans. Evans sent the Pride captain running with a lofted ball over the Sky Blue backline, which Morgan let bounce once before firing in a shot from the arc with her left foot.

The Pride had strong chances in the remaining minutes to add to their total, but the home defense was able to deny a second goal, including clearing Jasmyne Spencer’s stoppage-time attempt off the line with a bicycle kick.

Sarah Hagen and Spencer entered the match in the second half and instantly were game changers, with Hagen nearly scoring on a header a minute after her introduction and Spencer feeding Jamia Fields moments later. However, both header attempts went just wide of the net.

Wednesday night also marked the Orlando debut for newly-acquired forward Lisa De Vanna, who came in 88 minutes in. De Vanna looked to find the game-winner in her first shot in purple, but the ball was just off target.

Australian forward Sam Kerr scored the equalizer in the 80th minute, being on the fortunate end of a terrific Ashlyn Harris save moments before. Harris, who finished with five saves, came off her line to stifle Maya Hayes’ breakaway, but Kerr ran onto the kick stop for Sky Blues’ goal.

Morgan was close to a brace in the 77th minute, but her driven shot from distance rolled wide of the far post. The forward had another chance in the 84th minute, making a turn in the box to open up her favored left foot, but she was unable to test Casey.

After Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff against Sky Blue, the Pride will close the 2016 season on Sept. 24 at 5 p.m. ET against FC Kansas City. Tickets for both remaining home matches can be purchased at orlando-pride.com or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.

NWSL Match Report
Match: Sky Blue FC vs. Orlando Pride
Date: September 7, 2016
Venue: Yurcak Field
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Attendance: 2,055
Weather: Clear

Scoring Summary

Goals                             1     2     F

Sky Blue FC (6-7-5)     0     1     1

Orlando (6-11-1)            1     0     1

ORL- Alex Morgan (Maddy Evans) 23’
NJ - Sam Kerr 80’

Lineups:
Orlando Pride: Ashlyn Harris; Josée Bélanger, Kaylyn Kyle, Monica, Cami Levin; Dani Weatherholt, Kristen Edmonds, Maddy Evans (Sarah Hagen 75’); Jamia Fields (Lisa De Vanna 88’), Alex Morgan, Sam Witteman (Jasmyne Spencer 61’)

Substitutes Not Used: Kaitlyn Savage; McKenzie Berryhill, Toni Pressley; Christina Burkenroad

Sky Blue FC: Caroline Casey; Erica Skroski (Raquel Rodriquez 76’), Kristin Grubka, Christie Rampone, Erin Simon; Sam Kerr, Sarah Killion, Taylor Lytle (Nikki Stanton 54’), Leah Galton; Maya Hayes, Tasha Kai

Substitutes Not Used: Caroline Stanley; CoCo Goodson; Shawna Gordon, Kelly Conheeney; Kim Decesare


Stats Summary: NJ / ORL
Shots: 17 / 16
Shots on Goal: 7 / 5
Saves: 4 / 5
Corner Kicks: 3 / 3
Fouls: 13 / 5
Offside: 7 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
NJ - Nikki Stanton (Yellow - Reckless Foul) 90’

Officials:
Referee: Matthew Franz
Assistant Referee 1: Rachel Smith
Assistant Referee 2: Victor Vazquez
Fourth Official: Rosario Candela

Orlando Pride Begin Home-and-Home Series with Sky Blue FC

 Photo: EqualizerSoccer.com

Photo: EqualizerSoccer.com

Orlando Pride will play its final away game of its inaugural National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season on Wednesday night, when the Club travels to face Sky Blue FC at Rutgers University. The 7 p.m. ET match will begin a home-and-home series with the New Jersey-based team, as the two sides will play their only two matches of 2016 against each other over a span of three days.

Wednesday’s game will be streamed at orlando-pride.com/live or can be followed on Twitter through the Pride’s official account, @ORLPride.

“I say this week in and week out, every game in this league is tough and difficult. [Sky Blue head coach] Christy [Holly] has got the group very tight. They aren’t necessarily a group of star names, they are much more of a team effort,” said Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni.  “They have quality, experienced leadership in Christie Rampone and Kelley O’Hara but, in general, they are very much a team that works hard for each other.”

Wednesday’s match could mark the Orlando Pride debut of Australian Women’s National Team captain Lisa De Vanna, who was signed by the Club last week. De Vanna, who ranks second all-time in Australia’s scoring history, played her first season in the NWSL as a member of Sky Blue FC in 2013.

The Pride were eliminated from postseason contention on Saturday night, falling 4-2 to the Houston Dash at BBVA Compass Stadium. It was the fourth meeting between the two sides this year, with the Pride winning the previous three.

The Dash opened with a 3-0 lead until, late in the match, the Pride mounted a comeback scoring goals in the 80th and 87th minute to cut Houston’s lead to 3-2. Captain Alex Morgan ended Houston’s bid for a shutout with the Pride’s first goal, scoring on a clever set piece play with an assist from Kristen Edmonds. It was Edmonds who scored Orlando’s next goal, her team-leading fifth of the year, with a pinpoint first-time shot from near the penalty spot.

However, after a late injury to Becky Edwards reduced Orlando to 10 players and the Pride pushing for the equalizer, the Dash counterattacked and added a fourth goal late in stoppage time.

Sky Blue traveled to face FC Kansas City on Sunday evening, falling 2-1 to the defending NWSL champion. Australian Sam Kerr put Sky Blue up 1-0 in the 40th minute but Kansas City scored the match’s next two - including an 85th minute game-winner from Yael Averbuch - to take the three points.

After Wednesday, both Sky Blue and Orlando will head to Central Florida for the second leg of the back-to-back series, playing at Camping World Stadium on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Pride will close its inaugural season at home on Sept. 24, hosting FC Kansas City at 5 p.m. ET.

Tickets to the Pride remaining two home matches can be purchased at orlando-pride.com or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.