NEWS & VIEWS
Jay and Jen are reunited in the studio! They give their honest opinions on how the teams are sizing up during the Tournament of Nations and breaking down what seven games in twenty-two days could mean for seven of the Orlando Pride starters. That’s a lot of math! Competition is heating up as we welcome the Chicago Red Stars back to town, the first game of three within eight days on a home field advantage push. Anybody got an abacus? Let’s score!
We’ve all been there, even with our GPS barking orders — you’re lost. It’s OK, because if QueensCast has learned anything it’s that adversity brings out the best in all of us! Now is the time that we rally together and support the women of the Orlando Pride. We’re halfway through the season and it’s time to take a snapshot of what we’ve learned. Let’s look forward to great things as Marta, Alex and Steph lace up for a bulldozer push to the playoffs!
In the first National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) game at Orlando City Stadium, Orlando Pride (0-1-1, 1 point) secured a 1-1 draw against the Washington Spirit (0-1-1, 1 point) with Danica Evans’ late-game goal. The equalizer was Evans’ first professional goal and the Pride’s first goal of the season. Brazilian superstar Marta made her Pride debut, coming into the match in the 59th minute.
“For the first 15 minutes we turned over possession, we looked a little bit nervy, a little bit slow, didn’t really get into our stride. Then as the first half wore on we got more and more into the game and into some great positions,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “We started the second half really well. First time they went up the field is when they scored and then I thought it was great character from the team to keep plugging away and come back and get the point. I think overall I saw a lot of improvement from last week.”
The Pride came out in a 4-5-1, featuring the same starting XI as Opening Day. The match took some time to open up, but a physical tone was set from the get-go. The visiting Spirit forced Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris into a few saves in the early part of the first half, but the Pride quickly turned the pressure on Washington goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe. Both teams, however, headed into the locker room without a goal at the half.
Washington opened the scoring in the 60th minute when Line Sigvardsen-Jensen headed in an initial save from Harris following a Spirit corner kick.
Evans entered the match in the 75th minute and made an instant impact. The former Colorado Buffalo and third-round pick in the 2016 NWSL College Draft had several strong looks at goal, first after a nice combination with Marta that saw Evans’ curling shot saved. In the 86th minute, Chioma Ubogagu slipped a nice ball into Evans, who made an incredible first-touch back-heel meg to get in alone with Spirit goalkeeper Labbe. Evans then took a touch to her right before sliding the ball into an open net.
“One of the reasons that we drafted her was when we looked at her, we felt that she had an ability to finish and an ability to finish in a composed way,” Sermanni said. “I think that was highlighted today. For us, it’s really helpful to have a player that can come in and make that impact over that short a period of time.”
After cheers from the 14,452 in attendance, Marta entered the match in the 59th minute. She immediately changed the game, quickly getting in behind the Spirit back line and serving balls for her teammates in dangerous areas. Her shot from the left side of the box in stoppage time barely missed the far post.
“She changed the game. I think some of her class and her quality and her creativity for that last 25-30 minutes tonight. Considering the travel she’s had and the commitment she’s had over the last couple of days, I think she showed tonight how good a pro she is to be able to come on and perform that way.”
Defender Laura Alleway made her season debut for the Pride, coming into the match in the 44th minute for Jamia Fields. The move shifted Krieger to right back, creating offensive opportunities for the former Spirit captain, while Steph Catley ran the left flank with Jasmyne Spencer and Marta.
The Pride will hit the road for their next two matches, traveling to relocated North Carolina Courage - formerly the Western New York Flash - on April 29 before going to FC Kansas City on May 7. Orlando will host its second home game on May 14, facing the Courage for the second time in as many weeks at 5 p.m. ET.
Tickets for all Pride home matches can be purchased at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Orlando Pride vs. Washington Spirit
Date: April 22, 2017
Venue: Orlando City Stadium
Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET
Goals 1 2 F
Orlando (0-1-1) 0 1 1
Washington (0-1-1) 0 1 1
WAS - Line Sigvardsen-Jensen 60'
ORL - Danica Evans (Chioma Ubogagu) 86'
Orlando Pride: Ashlyn Harris Ⓒ; Jamia Fields (Laura Alleway 44’), Ali Krieger, Alanna Kennedy, Steph Catley; Monica (Marta 59’), Dani Weatherholt, Jasmyne Spencer (Danica Evans 75’), Kristen Edmonds, Camila; Chioma Ubogagu
Substitutes Not Used: Aubrey Bledsoe; Toni Pressley; Nickolette Driesse, Maddy Evans
Washington Spirit: Stephanie Labbe; Estelle Johnson, Whitney Church, Shelina ZadorskyⒸ; Alyssa Kleiner (Francisca Ordega 57’), Tori Huster, Kristie Mewis (Meggie Dougherty 67’), Line Sigvardsen-Jensen, Kassey Kallman; Katie Stengel (Lindsay Agnew 19’), Havana Solaun
Substitutes Not Used: Arielle Ship; Cameron Castleberry
Stats Summary: ORL / WAS
Possession: 55.6 % / 44.4%
Shots: 21 / 11
Shots on Goal: 5 / 6
Saves: 5 / 4
Corner Kicks: 7 / 3
Fouls: 7 / 8
Offside: 1 / 4
ORL - Laura Alleway (Yellow Card) 59’
WAS - Kassey Kallman (Yellow Card) 65’
WAS - Tori Huster (Yellow Card) 75’
Referee: Karen Abt
Assistant Referee 1: Francisco Bermudez
Assistant Referee 2: Matthew Osterhouse
Fourth Official: Natalie Simon
Orlando Pride will begin its second National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season in familiar territory on Saturday afternoon, traveling to face Portland Thorns FC for a 3 p.m. ET contest. It is the second straight season the Pride open at Portland, after having their first-ever NWSL match in the Rose City to start the 2016 season.
Saturday’s game will be different, however, as it will be the first time the Pride will feature on national television with the contest tabbed as the Week 1 NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime. The match, aired by the league’s newest broadcast partner, will be called by Jenn Hildreth, Aly Wagner and Dalen Cuff and can be watched live on Lifetime or at nwslsoccer.com.
“We’re very excited by the new season. Going into season two, I think we’re far more settled and in a far more better position than we were at this time last year,” Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “Everybody’s fit, everybody’s healthy and everybody’s raring to go for the weekend.”
The Pride enter the match with a revamped lineup after making a number of high-profile acquisitions during the team’s first full offseason. Most notably, the Pride will look to veteran U.S. Women’s National Team defender Ali Krieger to help shore up the back line after being acquired via trade with the Washington Spirit in November 2016.
Krieger will be supported by several returning Pride defenders, including Steph Catley, Monica and Laura Alleway, while Alanna Kennedy – the third Australian on the team – comes to Orlando for her first season after leading the Western New York Flash to the 2016 NWSL Championship. 2016 NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year Ashlyn Harris will lead the back line in her second season between the posts of her hometown team.
Orlando’s 2016 Golden Boot winner, Kristen Edmonds, is expected to again roam the midfield, with Brazilian international Camila returning to the NWSL after spending the 2016 season in Brazil. Sophomore Dani Weatherholt is coming off her first call-up with the U.S. U23 Women’s National Team after a strong rookie campaign with the Pride.
With forward Alex Morgan spending the first portion of the 2017 season in France, Sermanni has added new attacking power to the lineup in forward Chioma Ubogagu and five-time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Marta, who is widely regarded as the best women’s soccer player ever.
“I think, if you look at our team this season, right through the squad we’ve got more depth than last year,” Sermanni added. “I think we’re a much more mobile team and a much more dynamic team. And I think, just generally, we’re an overall better footballing side than last year.”
The Pride and Thorns met twice during Orlando’s inaugural season, with the Club’s first-ever NWSL match at Providence Park on April 17. Catley scored the first goal in Pride history 12 minutes into that match, but goals from Dagny Brynjarsdottir and Lindsey Horan gave Portland the 2-1 victory. Later in the year, the series saw a similar finish, with Portland responding with two late goals to overcome a 1-0 deficit and take the win at Camping World Stadium.
After Saturday’s match, the Pride will turn its attention to the team’s first match at the state-of-the-art Orlando City Stadium when it hosts the Washington Spirit on April 22. The Pride will look to #FillTheBowl for the landmark match, which will also be aired on Lifetime.
Tickets are available at orlando-pride.com or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.
Orlando Pride has announced its 20-player roster ahead of opening week for the 2017 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season.
For its second campaign in the NWSL, the Pride roster is highlighted by the addition of the newest attacking power, five-time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, Marta. The Brazilian goal-scoring force was announced as the newest member of the Pride on Friday, and will join the Pride following the receipt of her International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and P-1 Visa.
Orlando has also signed its two 2017 NWSL College Draft picks, adding midfielder Nickolette Driesse and forward Danica Evans to the roster.
“I’m really excited to officially be a member of the team; it’s has already been a fun and challenging experience for me,” Evans said. “I’m just very grateful I get to start my professional career at a top organization like the Pride.”
“I’m so thankful for this opportunity with the Pride and I’m looking forward to continuing to play with some of the best players in the world,” Driesse said. “I can’t wait to see what this season has in store, both as a player and for the Club as a whole.”
Defender Mackenzie Berryhill, who was acquired by the Pride last season via waivers, has been placed on the season-ending injury list and will not compete in the 2017 NWSL season. Rookie Rachel Hill, whose rights the Pride acquired in January, is currently finishing up her senior year at the University of Connecticut and will join the team at a later date.
Forward Alex Morgan, who was announced as a 2017 U.S. Women’s National Team Federation Player last week, will rejoin the Pride following the conclusion of Olympique Lyonnais’ season. Morgan is currently competing with the French side for the remainder of the UEFA Women’s Champions League season.
Orlando hits the road for its first match of the season, traveling to face Portland Thorns FC in its season opener for the second straight year. The April 15 match will kick off at 3 p.m. ET and will be nationally televised as the first-ever NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime.
The Pride will again feature on Lifetime in Week 2, hosting the Washington Spirit in the team’s first match at Orlando City Stadium. Tickets for the 4 p.m. ET kickoff are available at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY. Season and group ticket packages are also currently available.
2017 Orlando Pride Roster:
ROSTERED PLAYERS (20 of 20 spots filled)
GOALKEEPERS (2): Aubrey Bledsoe, Ashlyn Harris (FED-USA)
DEFENDERS (8): Laura Alleway (INTL-AUS), Mackenzie Berryhill (SEI), Steph Catley (INTL-AUS), Monica Hickmann Alves (INTL-BRA, OOM), Alanna Kennedy (INTL-AUS), Ali Krieger (FED-USA), Cami Levin, Toni Pressley
MIDFIELDERS (5): Nickolette Driesse, Kristen Edmonds, Maddy Evans, Camila Martins Pereira (INTL-BRA), Dani Weatherholt,
FORWARDS (7): Christina Burkenroad, Danica Evans, Jamia Fields, Alex Morgan (FED-USA, OOM), Jasmyne Spencer, Chioma Ubogagu, Marta Vieira da Silva (INTL-BRA),
FEDERATION PLAYERS (FED): 3
INTERNATIONAL ROSTER SPOTS FILLED (INTL): 6
FED - Federation Player
INTL – International Roster Spot
ROSTERED PLAYERS NOT COUNTED AGAINST ACTIVE LIMIT:
D45 - 45-Day Disabled List
SEI - Season Ending Injury List
GKR - Goalkeeper Replacement
MAT - Maternity
LOA - Loan
OOM - Out of Market
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".