Orlando Pride Secure Important Point in 0-0 Draw With Portland Thorns FC


Orlando Pride picked up a crucial point on Saturday afternoon, drawing Portland Thorns FC  0-0 in front of 7,353 fans at Orlando City Stadium. With the point, the Pride extended its unbeaten streak to eight straight games, dating back to a 1-1 tie with the Chicago Red Stars on Aug. 5. Orlando also picked up its first point against the 2013 Champions over its four all-time meetings.

“Portland are a very good side, but I thought it would’ve been a grave injustice if we would have lost the game. We limited them to one real chance. We dominated the game, particularly for the first 30 minutes. I thought we played really well,” Head Coach Tom Sermanni said.  “But defensively they’re very good and they don’t give up a lot of chances, and they get everybody behind the ball. They are good at grinding out one-nil results away from home. I was delighted with how our players went about the job tactically today, considering we didn’t have any time to work with the team. I was delighted with the effort and thought if any team should’ve deserved to win the game I thought it was us.”

The draw also helped the Pride add to its lead over Seattle Reign FC, who are chasing Orlando for a place in the 2017 postseason. Following the completion of Saturday’s match, the Pride are in fourth place in the table, with Chicago clinching their playoff spot in a 3-2 win over the Houston Dash Saturday night.

The Pride can clinch a place in the postseason on Sunday night if Reign FC loses or draws in its 9 p.m. ET match against FC Kansas City. Orlando wraps up the regular season next weekend, traveling to face top-seeded North Carolina Courage in what could be a critical match for a place in the final four.

“[The draw] puts an awful lot of pressure on Seattle to win both games and turn the seven-goal differential around. I think I’d much rather be in our position now than Seattle’s. But we still, theoretically, need another point depending on what happens this weekend,” Sermanni added.

The match was tight throughout and, though the Pride held a 14-5 advantage on shots, shots on target were limited as Alex Morgan totaled Orlando’s only two attempts on frame. In other other end, the Pride held Portland to just one shot on goal, a 40th-minute attempt from Ashleigh Sykes.

On that play, Sykes broke through the Pride defense with a give-and-go and nearly beat Ashlyn Harris from the six-yard box. But Harris got just enough on the ball, allowing Monica to recover and clear the ball away from danger before the Thorns could breakthrough.

Alanna Kennedy, who was one of six Pride players to return from international duty this week, came just inches from goal on two different occasions with shots from outside of the penalty area. The midfielder, along with teammates Steph Catley, Marta and Monica, returned to training just a day before Saturday’s match after Australia hosted Brazil in two matches this week. Harris and Morgan also traveled for two domestic games with the U.S. Women’s National team on Sept. 16 and 19.

The clean sheet marked the fourth shutout from the Pride defense this season, with Harris only needing to make a lone first-half save. After missing two games due to a calf injury, Kristen Edmonds returned to right back. Catley started the match at left back, but was replaced early in the second half by Jasmyne Spencer, which sent forward Chioma Ubogagu to the left side. It was Ubogagu’s second time featuring on the backline this season.

Portland midfielder Tobin Heath made her 2017 debut, but was kept at bay by the Pride defense, which also featured Ali Krieger and Toni Pressley during the 90 minutes.

Orlando wraps up the regular season on Saturday, Sept. 30 at the Courage. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

The 2017 NWSL Championship will be hosted at Orlando City Stadium on Oct. 14. Tickets are available at nwslsoccer.com/championship or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.

NWSL Match Report
Match: Orlando Pride vs. Portland Thorns FC
Date: Sept. 23, 2017
Venue: Orlando City Stadium
Kickoff: 3:50 p.m. ET
Attendance: 7,353
Weather: Rainy, overcast

Scoring Summary

Goals                             1          2          F

Orlando (10-6-7)          0          0          0

Portland (13-5-5)          0          0          0

Orlando Pride: Ashlyn Harris ©; Kristen Edmonds (Toni Pressley 78’), Monica, Ali Krieger, Steph Catley (Jasmyne Spencer 50’); Dani Weatherholt, Alanna Kennedy; Camila; Chioma Ubogagu, Alex Morgan, Marta

Substitutes Not Used: Aubrey Bledsoe; Nickolette Driesse; Danica Evans, Jamia Fields, Rachel Hill

Portland Thorns FC: Adrianna Franch; Katherine Reynolds, Emily Sonnett, Emily Menges, Meghan Klingenberg; Allie Long (Amandine Henry 60’), Lindsey Horan, Ashleigh Sykes; Christine Sinclair ©, Nadia Nadim (Tobin Heath 60’), Hayley Raso

Substitutes Not Used: Britt Eckerstrom; Celeste Boureille, Dagney Brynjarsdottir; Mallory Weber, Savannah Jordan

Stats Summary: ORL / POR
Possession: 50.9% / 49.1%
Shots: 14 / 5
Shots on Goal: 2 / 1
Saves: 1 / 2
Corner Kicks: 5 / 1
Fouls: 6 / 17
Offside: 3 / 7

Misconduct Summary:
POR - Allie Long (Yellow Card) 18’

Referee: Christopher Spivey
Assistant Referee 1: Adrienne McDonald
Assistant Referee 2: Trent VanHaitsma
Fourth Official: Francesco Terranova

Orlando Pride Defeats Boston 4-2; Wins 5th Straight

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Orlando Pride continued to roll on Saturday night, downing the Boston Breakers 4-2 in a rain-soaked match at Orlando City Stadium. The victory pushed the Pride’s current win streak to five consecutive games, with the team unbeaten over its last six matches.

The victory also ensured the Pride remain in playoff position through Week 19, regardless of results in the remaining matches this weekend. The Pride currently sit in third place, three points ahead of the Chicago Red Stars who face top-seeded North Carolina Courage on Sunday evening.

"I thought the first 30 minutes we were superb. I thought that's probably the best 30 minutes that we've had this season. We were slick, movement was great, we were creating chances. We really dominated the game,” Head Coach Tom Sermanni said.  “But we need to be probably a little bit better when we’re not going through those spells and we’re playing really well. I think we were playing really well. We played some fantastic football."

The Pride entered the halftime break with a two-goal lead thanks to a first-half brace from rookie Rachel Hill. Hill got on the board eight minutes in, capitalizing on a rebound from an Alex Morgan shot. Chioma Ubogagu played a hard cross in that Morgan powered on net, but was denied by Breakers goalkeeper Abby Smith. Hill, however, jumped on the rebound for her second goal of the season.

The UConn product doubled the lead in the 15th minute, getting on the end of a Steph Catley cross and sending the ball under a shifting Smith.

The Breakers got one back four minutes into the second half, with Amanda Frisbie finding midfielder Rosie White in the box to make it 2-1.

However, the one-goal deficit didn’t last long. Brazilian forward Marta gave the Pride some insurance in the 67th minute, finishing off a crisp combination play from Morgan and Ubogagu. After Morgan played a quick pass to Ubogagu on the left side, the forward found Marta open with a pinpoint pass and she wasted no time, slotting it past Smith with her left foot. It was Marta’s first goal since Aug. 12, when she helped lead the Pride to a 5-0 win over Sky Blue FC.

Ubogagu capped the Pride’s night off with the team’s fourth goal, and her fourth of the season, with a perfectly placed left-footed shot in the 77th minute. Ubogagu created her own fortune, intercepting an outlet pass from Allysha Chapman and driving down the field before turning her defender around for the shooting lane. Ubogagu nailed the shot off of the inside of the far post, breaking across the goal line on the redirection.

The Breakers scored their final goal late in the match, with Julie King heading in Adriana Leon’s corner kick in the 88th minute.

With Marta’s goal and Morgan’s assist, the duo has played a role in 12 of the Pride’s last 15 goals. With four goals on the night, Orlando also increased its season scoring total to a league-leading 41, more than double the team’s 20 goals during its inaugural 2016 campaign.

The Pride play their final two home matches of the regular season in their next two games, first welcoming Seattle Reign FC at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 9. Orlando closes out the home schedule on Sept. 23, hosting Portland Thorns FC at 3:30 p.m. ET in the NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime.

Tickets for both matches are available at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.

NWSL Match Report
Match: Orlando Pride vs. Boston Breakers
Date: Sept. 2, 2017
Venue: Orlando City Stadium
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Attendance: 5,413
Weather: Rainy

Scoring Summary

Goals                             1          2          F

Orlando (10-6-5)          2          2          4

Boston (3-11-7)             0          2          2

ORL - Rachel Hill 8’
ORL - Rachel Hill (Alex Morgan) 16’
BOS - Rosie White (Amanda Frisbie) 49’
ORL - Marta (Chioma Ubogagu) 67’
ORL - Chioma Ubogagu 77’
BOS - Julie King (Adriana Leon) 88’

Orlando Pride: Ashlyn Harris ©; Camila, Monica, Ali Krieger, Steph Catley; Dani Weatherholt (Nickolette Driesse 86’), Alanna Kennedy; Rachel Hill, Marta (Jamia Fields 82’), Chioma Ubogagu (Danica Evans 84’);  Alex Morgan

Substitutes Not Used: Aubrey Bledsoe; Toni Pressley; Jo Blankenship

Boston Breakers: Abby Smith; Margaret Purce, Megan Oyster, Julie King ©, Allysha Chapman, Brooke Elby (Rose Lavelle 72’), Amanda Frisbie (Ifeoma Onumonu 55’); Angela Salem, Rosie White; Adriana Leon, Katie Stengel (Natasha Dowie 55’)

Substitutes Not Used: Sammi Jo Prudhomme; Tiffany Weimer; Hayley Dowd

Stats Summary: ORL / BOS
Possession: 53.8% / 46.2%
Shots: 12 / 7
Shots on Goal: 7 / 2
Saves: 0 / 3
Corner Kicks: 3 / 3
Fouls: 8 / 6
Offside: 5 / 4

Misconduct Summary:
BOS - Brooke Elby (Yellow Card) 63’

Referee: Kevin Broadley
Assistant Referee 1: Shane Kennard
Assistant Referee 2: Jeffrey Skinker
Fourth Official: Janessa Gunn


Orlando Pride Extend Win Streak to Record Four Games

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Orlando Pride took its winning streak on the road on Saturday and increased it to four straight with a 2-1 defeat of FC Kansas City. Alex Morgan scored her eighth goal of the season in the 87th minute, breaking the deadlock and giving the Pride three important points with four games remaining in the regular season.

The four wins in a row mark the best string of performances in the team’s two-year history. The Pride also finish the month of August undefeated.

“We always knew it was going to be a difficult game. They are a good footballing side that just won three games in a row. Their confidence was high and they were playing at home. We knew it was going to be a tough game and it turned out that way,” Head Coach Tom Sermanni said.  “In fairness, I think we dictated the play for most of the game apart from the seven minutes of stoppage time when we were under some pressure as [Kansas City] pushed to equalize. Apart from that, we dictated most of the game, most of the play and I think we deserved to win the game.”

With both teams entering the match riding three straight wins, the match was anticipated to be tight throughout and was just that.

The Pride got on the board first, with Chioma Ubogagu finding a loose ball near the six-yard box and firing it past Nicole Barnhart. Ubogagu’s goal came after the Pride earned three consecutive corner kicks. The Pride kept the ball in the penalty area, with Monica eventually trying a shot from the top of the box. The attempt was blocked by a wall of Kansas City defenders, but Ubogagu pounced on the rebound six yards out and beat Barnhart on the left side.

The home side tied things up just before the halftime whistle after Lo’eau LoBonta volleyed a service from Shea Groom under Ashlyn Harris, who came off her line to contest the opportunity.

But it was the duo of Morgan and Marta who teamed up for the final goal of the evening, three minutes before second half stoppage time. Camila – who shifted from center midfield to right back to outside midfield over the 90 minutes – won a free kick for the Pride in the attacking third.

Marta took the right-side free kick and Morgan scored a jaw-dropping goal, redirecting the low, driven ball toward net with the waist-high, outside of the boot back-heel flick. The change-up stunned Barnhart, who was able to make contact but could not keep it out of the net. It was the fourth time Marta and Morgan have connected for a goal this season.

The goal extended Morgan’s goal-scoring streak to five consecutive games while the forward has found the back of the net in six of the last seven matches.

The win keeps the Pride in playoff position and puts the Central Florida team five points ahead of Seattle Reign FC, who fell to Portland Thorns FC on Saturday. With 32 points, Orlando jumped to third place in the NWSL standings, pending the result of Saturday night’s match between Chicago and Washington.  

The Pride return to Orlando for their final home matches of the regular season, playing the next three matches from the comforts of Orlando City Stadium. The homestand kicks off on Saturday, Sept. 2 when the Pride host the Boston Breakers at 7:30 p.m. ET. It will be the second meeting between the two sides in two weeks, after the Pride took a 2-1 win on Aug. 19.

Orlando then hosts Seattle on Sept. 9 and Portland on Sept. 23 to close out the home season.

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

NWSL Match Report
Match: FC Kansas City vs. Orlando Pride
Date: August 26, 2017
Venue: Children’s Mercy Victory Field
Kickoff: 3:50 p.m. ET
Attendance: 2,812
Weather: Sunny

Scoring Summary:

Goals                                 1          2          F

Kansas City (6-9-5)          1          0          1

Orlando (9-6-5)                1          1          2

ORL - Chioma Ubogagu 16’
KC - Lo’eau LaBonta (Shea Groom) 42’
ORL – Alex Morgan (Marta) 87’


Orlando Pride: Ashlyn Harris ©; Kristen Edmonds (Rachel Hill 69’), Monica, Ali Krieger, Steph Catley; Dani Weatherholt, Camila, Alanna Kennedy; Marta, Chioma Ubogagu (Toni Pressley 79’); Alex Morgan

Substitutes Not Used: Aubrey Bledsoe; Nickolette Driesse; Danica Evans, Jamia Fields

FC Kansas City: Nicole Barnhart; Brittany Taylor, Becky Sauerbrunn ©, Yael Averbuch, Becca Moros; Desiree Scott, Christina Gibbons; Shea Groom (Brittany Ratcliffe 74’), Lo’eau LaBonta (Alexa Newfield 90+1’), Katie Bowen (Maegan Kelly 73’); Sydney Leroux

Substitutes Not Used: Cat Parkhill; Caroline Flynn, Erika Tymrak, Sydney Miramontez

Stats Summary: KC / ORL
Possession: 47.5% / 52.5%
Shots: 13 / 9
Shots on Goal: 3 / 4
Saves: 3 / 2
Corner Kicks: 6 / 4
Fouls: 14 / 9
Offside: 4 / 4

Misconduct Summary:
 Camila (Yellow Card) 45’

Referee: Danielle Chesky
Assistant Referee 1: Adrienne McDonald
Assistant Referee 2: John Krill
Fourth Official: Jack Feldman

UCF Women's Soccer Drops 2-0 Decision At No. 4 South Carolina


The UCF women's soccer team battled No. 4 South Carolina in the season opener, but dropped a 2-0 decision to the Gamecocks on Friday evening in Stone Stadium.

"I was very proud of our second half performance," head coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak said. "Even a man down, I thought we had the ball a lot. We played very nervous in the first half and I think it got the best of us."
The Knights (0-1) were down a player for most of the game after drawing a red card in the 15th minute. The Gamecocks, who held an 11-1 edge on shots, took the 1-0 lead in the 24th minute.
Regrouping at halftime, UCF jumped out to a strong start in the second half. The Knights held a 4-0 advantage on shots to start the second 45 minutes. Morgan Ferrara just missed the equalizer, as her free kick sailed just inches above the crossbar in the 47th minute
South Carolina doubled its lead in the 79th minute for the final score of 2-0.

Freshman Madison Murnin and senior Kathellen Sousa made their UCF debuts in the opener, with both earning their first starts as Knights.
Vera Varis and Chloe N'Gazi split time in goal. Varis, who earned the starting nod, recorded one save while N'Gazi made three saves in the second half.
The Knights return to Orlando to host Stetson on Sunday. The match is slated for a 1 p.m. start at UCF Soccer Complex. Do you have your tickets yet?