QueensCast: Episode #96 — Orlando Pride to the Third Power

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The week was magic for the Orlando Pride and the lucky number is 3! We're talking about 3 goals, 3 points, and 3 road games. Jay kicks it into high hear as the ladies head west and Luis takes us on a scenic tour around the league. Buckle up! It's time to ROLL OUT! #LETSSCORE

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U.S. Women's National Team will Face China PR on June 7 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah

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The United States Women’s National Team will face China PR in a summer friendly match on Thursday, June 7 at Rio Tinto Stadium (7 p.m. MT on FS1, presented by Cutter Insect Repellent).
 
The USWNT visit to Rio Tinto Stadium will mark the first appearance for the prestigious international side on the Wasatch Front since the mid-November establishment of Utah Royals FC, the newest National Women’s Soccer League club, which kicks off its inaugural campaign Saturday evening in Orlando. Both the Utah Royals FC and Major League Soccer side Real Salt Lake call Rio Tinto Stadium home, where the MLS club has established a dominant home-field advantage over the last nine-plus seasons.
 
Certain levels of Utah Royals FC season ticket holders will receive the June 7 USWNT match against China as part of the NWSL club’s 2018 inaugural season ticket package, while others will receive preferred pricing and access to various seating location and additional tickets prior to general public sale. The Rio Tinto Stadium box office will contact affected parties in the near future.
 
The USWNT have played four international friendlies at Rio Tinto Stadium since the venue’s October 9, 2008 opening, posting a perfect 4-0-0 record in Sandy (on top of a dominant 5-0 win at Rice-Eccles Stadium against Ireland in 2003, prior to Real Salt Lake’s existence). Utah has provided the USWNT with memorable moments from its matches against Switzerland, Canada and twice against Mexico in the last eight years; with the arrival of the NWSL and the advent of RSL's world-class training facility in Herriman, U.S. Soccer is sure to become even more frequent visitors to Utah.
 
“Obviously, there’s a great history between the countries and we always enjoy the matches against China,” said U.S. head coach Jill Ellis. “They bring a level of technical skill and tactical savvy that challenges us, which is what we need as we continue to prepare for World Cup qualifying in the fall.”

TICKETS
Tickets for the match in Utah – starting at just $22 – go on sale to the public on Tuesday, April 17, at 10 a.m. MT through www.ussoccer.com, by phone at 844-REAL-TIX (844-732-5849; available Monday-Friday 10a-6p MT) and at the Rio Tinto Stadium ticket office (open Mon.-Fri. 10a-6p).
 
Groups of 20 or more can order directly at ussoccer.com.
 
Ultimate Fan Tickets (special VIP packages that include a premium ticket, a custom-made official U.S. National Team jersey with name and number, VIP access to the field before and after the game, and other unique benefits) are also available for the USWNT Utah visit exclusively through www.ussoccer.com.
 
Coaches Circle and Presidents Circle members supporting the U.S. Soccer Development Fund can receive individual customer support and concierge services for their ticketing needs. Click here or contact circles@ussoccer.org for more information.

Orlando Pride Draws Utah Royals FC to Open 2018

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In the first match of its third National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season, Orlando Pride (0-0-1, 1 point) drew 2018 expansion side Utah Royals FC (0-0-1, 1 point) with a 1-1 final on Saturday night. Marta became Orlando’s all-time leading scorer when she equalized from the penalty spot in front of 9,017 fans in attendance.

“It was the game we expected. We knew they would come out and be well organized and start to really press us and work really hard to get a result here. They’re a new team, a new franchise. They brought that enthusiasm to the game,” Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “I’m satisfied that we’ve come out and kept our run in the league going from last year and not losing the game. That was important. We’re one point better off than we’ve been at the start of the first two seasons in the league.”

Five players made their Orlando Pride debuts in the starting XI. Defenders Carson Pickett, Shelina Zadorsky and Poliana started on the back line alongside Ali Krieger. Christine Nairn made her Pride debut next to Toni Pressley and Dani Weatherholt and Sydney Leroux started up top with Marta and Alex Morgan. Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris wore the captain’s armband.

Utah got the match off to a fast start with a goal on the counter in the third minute when Diana Matheson found Gunnhilder Jonsdottir in behind the back line.  

The Pride continued pressing and earned a penalty kick in the 19th minute when Pickett served a ball into the box for Weatherholt, whose first-time rip was handled by Utah captain Becky Sauerbrunn. Marta stepped up and calmly finished into the side netting. The goal was her 14th with Orlando, which passed Morgan for the most goals in Pride history.  

Sermanni pressed for the go-ahead goal with second-half substitutions of Chioma Ubogagu for Morgan and Rachel Hill for Pressley. Hill showed great energy, at one point running onto a ball and playing it into the box before chasing her own pass and nearly drawing a second penalty.

Morgan left the match just before the halftime whistle after a hard collision with Utah goalkeeper Abby Smith just outside the box. She is currently being evaluated per the league’s concussion protocol.

Orlando returns to action on Saturday, March 31, when it visits the Washington Spirit. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. ET at Maryland SoccerPlex and will be nationally televised on Lifetime. The Pride then visit Portland on April 15 before returning to Orlando City Stadium on Sunday, April 22, to host the Houston Dash at 5 p.m. ET.

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

NWSL Match Report
Match: Orlando Pride vs. Utah Royals FC
Date: March 24, 2018
Venue: Orlando City Stadium
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Attendance: 9,017
Weather: Clear

Scoring Summary:

Goals                          1          2          F

Utah (0-0-1)               1          0          0

Orlando (0-0-1)          1          0          0

UTA - Gunnhilder Jonsdottir (Diana Matheson) 3’
ORL - Marta (PK) 21’

Lineups:

Orlando Pride: Ashlyn Harris ©; Carson Pickett, Shelina Zadorsky, Ali Krieger, Poliana (Monica 66’); Toni Pressley (Rachel Hill 73’), Christine Nairn, Dani Weatherholt; Marta, Alex Morgan (Chioma Ubogagu 46’), Sydney Leroux

Substitutes Not Used: Haley Kopmeyer; Lotta Ӧkvist, Kristen Edmonds; Danica Evans

Utah Royals FC: Abby Smith; Kelley O’Hara, Becky Sauerbrunn ©, Rachel Corsie, Becca Moros; Katie Bowen, Gunnhilder Jonsdottir (Katie Stengel 62’), Diana Matheson (Taylor Lytle 64’), Desiree Scott; Elise Thorsnes, Brittany Ratcliffe (Sydney Miramontez 81’)

Substitutes Not Used: Nicole Barnhart; Brooke Elby; Lo’eau LaBonta, Erika Tymrak

Stats Summary: ORL / UTA
Possession: 53.7 % / 46.3 %
Shots: 7 / 9
Shots on Goal: 3 / 2
Saves: 1 / 2
Corner Kicks: 4 / 1
Fouls: 14 / 8
Offside: 1 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
UTA
- Becky Sauerbrunn (Yellow Card) 21’
UTA - Brittany Ratcliffe (Yellow Card) 58’
ORL - Ali Krieger (Yellow Card) 90+3’

Officials:
Referee: Danielle Chesky
Assistant Referee 1: Trent Vanhaitsma
Assistant Referee 2: Gjovalin Bori
Fourth Official: Miguel Martes

Utah Royals FC Kick Off Inaugural NWSL Season in Orlando

Photo: Orlando Pride

Photo: Orlando Pride

Utah Royals FC kicks off its official on-field existence Saturday evening by playing its first-ever National Women’s Soccer League match in club history on March 24 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Orlando Pride in the Orlando City Stadium.

Utah Royals FC boasts no fewer than 11 recently active national team players on the club’s 24-player inaugural roster, representing seven countries. With three each from the United States (Captain Becky Sauerbrunn, DF Kelley O’Hara and FW Amy Rodriguez) and Canada (MF Desiree Scott, M/F Diana Matheson and DF Maegan Kelly), the group also includes a pair of Scandinavians (MF Gunny Jonsdottir / Iceland; and FW Elise Thorsnes / Norway), as well as an Oceania pair (MF Katie Bowen / New Zealand; and MF Katrina Gorry / Australia), following the official signing earlier this week of Scotland Captain and DF Rachel Corsie.

URFC kicks off Saturday’s match after a rigorous month of preseason training and travel, including victorious scrimmages against BYU (1-0) and UCLA (4-1) since kicking off training in earnest on Feb. 19. Utah Royals FC Head Coach Laura Harvey – a two-time NWSL coach of the Year at Seattle (2014/15) and the winningest boss in league history with a 51-33-26 record – now enters her sixth year in the NWSL and first with Utah.

Still need tickets to the match? Use promo code QUEENSCAST!

2018 Orlando Pride to Debut Saturday Night at Orlando City Stadium

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Orlando Pride will begin its third National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season against expansion side Utah Royals FC on Saturday, March 24. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET at Orlando City Stadium.

Tickets for Saturday’s home opener are available at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY. The match will be nationally streamed on go90 and on the NWSL app. International fans can tune in on NWSLsoccer.com.

“When you look at the team we have, we’ve got a considerable number of match-winners on our team. Even last year, we had a significant number of players that scored goals for us. We’ve added to that firepower even more so this year,” Pride head coach Tom Sermanni said. “The other advantage that we have, or slight advantage, is that although Utah is a new team, the bulk of the team are Kansas City players so at least we’re familiar with the players and familiar with the attributes of those players.”

The Pride will look to build off an impressive second year in the NWSL that saw them go undefeated in the final two months, compiling a 6-0-3 record, to clinch the Club’s first playoff berth. The Pride led the league with 45 goals and return Alex Morgan and Marta, two of the league’s top five goalscorers. Joining them will be U.S. WNT forward Sydney Leroux, along with all-time NWSL assists leader Christine Nairn.

Looking to build off last year’s success, Orlando also added several key players in the defense. Olympic bronze medalist Shelina Zadorsky, Brazilian Poliana and Carson Pickett were added to bolster the back line that is anchored by FIFA Women’s World Cup champion Ali Krieger and U.S. WNT goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris.

New midfielder Emily van Egmond and returner Alanna Kennedy will join Orlando following the conclusion of Australia’s 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifying, which runs April 6-20 in Jordan.

The Royals roster includes goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, who led the league with 97 saves in 2017, USWNT captain Becky Sauerbrunn, FIFA Women’s World Cup champion Kelley O’Hara and Canadian forward Diana Matheson.

Saturday’s match will mark the first time Orlando has opened the season at home since joining the league, previously playing its first two season openers at Portland Thorns FC, and will also be the inaugural NWSL match for the Royals.

Orlando will face Utah again on May 9 and July 14 at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Draft Day Trades or Three Card Monty? You Decide!

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There were four draft day trades - with the No. 6 overall pick being shipped to two separate teams in quick succession before Sky Blue FC used it to eventually select Pierre-Louis. See below for a full breakdown of all four trades. Try to keep up with this NWSL version of "Follow the Queen"!

First, the Red Stars traded forward Christen Press, the seventh pick in this year’s draft and a 2018 international roster spot to the Houston Dash in exchange for forward Carli Lloyd, forward Janine Beckie and the sixth and 24th picks in this year’s draft.Then, the Red Stars traded Lloyd, Beckie, forward Jen Hoy and the sixth and 13th picks in this year’s draft to Sky Blue FC in exchange for forward Sam Kerr, midfielder Nikki Stanton and the 15th pick in this year’s draft.

Not related to the mega-trade, Seattle Reign traded Diana Matheson to Utah Royals for Yael Averbuch and the #25 overall pick in the 2018 NWSL College Draft. Also, Chicago Red Stars traded the #29 overall pick in the 2018 NWSL College Draft to Portland Thorns FC for their Natural 3rd Round Pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft.

Things were getting shook up with trades well before the Draft though. On December 29, Sky Blue dealt Kelley O’Hara, Taylor Lytle and a draft pick to Utah in exchange for Shea Groom, Christina Gibbons and the No. 4 overall pick in Thursday’s draft. 

The Dash and Sky Blue FC had previously been involved in major player trades this offseason. Just last week, Houston sent midfielder Andressinha to Portland in exchange for Savannah Jordan. Two days before the draft, the Dash traded down from the third pick to the sixth acquiring Lindsay Agnew in the process. 

No doubt there are more moves to come. Preseason starts is just over a month, so stay tuned!