Orlando Pride Returns Home to Face Houston on Sunday

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After playing two matches on the road, Orlando Pride (0-2-1, 1 point) returns home to face the Houston Dash (0-1-2, 2 points) on Sunday, April 22, at Orlando City Stadium. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. ET and will mark the Club’s second annual “90s Night” themed match.

The match will be streamed on go90 and on the NWSL app. International fans can tune in on NWSLsoccer.com. Tickets to the match, and all remaining Pride home matches, are available at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling 855-ORL-CITY.

“In this league there are no easy games. Every game is tough. If you look at the competition at the moment, there’s virtually nothing separating the teams,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “We’re expecting the game to be just as tough but if we have everyone fit and healthy, I think we’ve got the tools to win the game. It’s about us, tactically, getting the right formation set up and being able to execute that.”

Orlando enters the match seeking its first win of the season and its fifth all-time victory over Houston. The Pride began 2018 with a point at home against Utah Royals FC before falling on the road to the Washington Spirit, 2-0, and Portland Thorns FC, 2-1.

Last Saturday’s match in Portland saw goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris record a season-high six saves against the Thorns, becoming the third NWSL goalkeeper to pass the 300 career saves threshold. Chioma Ubogagu scored her first goal of the season off an assist from midfielder Christine Nairn for her league-leading 19th career regular season assist and 20th overall.

The Pride are 4-2-0 all-time against Houston, Orlando’s best record against any active NWSL team, and are 2-1-0 when playing in Central Florida.

Six Orlando players have spent time with the Dash in some capacity. Camila (2015), Poliana (2016-17), Toni Pressley (2015) and Ubogagu (2016) played for Houston, while Lotta Ökvist was acquired by Houston in the 2018 Dispersal Draft and National Team Player Replacement Abby Elinsky was selected No. 30 overall in the 2018 College Draft.

The Pride will be without their Brazilian and Australian players for the final time, as both countries wrap up their respective FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying tournaments this week. All five players - Marta, Monica, Poliana, Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond - are expected to be available for the Pride’s next match on April 28 against Seattle Reign FC.

Houston is coming off a 3-0 loss to the Chicago Red Stars on Wednesday. Dash forward and captain Kealia Ohai, who sustained an ACL injury last year, could make her 2018 debut on Sunday. The Notre Dame product has scored 22 goals in 75 appearances for Houston. Other key players for the Dash include England national team defender Rachel Daly, defender Amber Brooks and U.S. Women’s National Team goalkeeper Jane Campbell.

The Dash boast a new look for the 2018 season after announcing former South Africa manager Vera Pauw as the second head coach in team history. Upon her hiring, Pauw added two South African players, Thembi Kgatlana and Linda Motlhalo, to join Janine van Wyk on the Houston roster. Overall, the Dash have added 13 new players since the end of the 2017 season.

Pride Suffer First Loss of 2018 at Washington

 Photo: NWSL

Photo: NWSL

Orlando Pride played to a 2-0 finish on Saturday afternoon, falling to the Washington Spirit at Maryland SoccerPlex.

“We knew it was going to be a tight game but I thought for most of the second half we looked quite comfortable and we dominated a lot of the game, we just didn’t finish things off,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “We didn’t create enough, weren’t quite incisive enough to get in front. In this kind of game, when it’s tight, you give someone like Mallory Pugh a bit of space and time and you get punished. But up until then, I thought we were looking like the better side. That’s what this league is about. Games are tight and if you don’t stay alert for 90 minutes you get punished.”

The Pride were playing without three of their Opening Day starters, as Brazilians Marta, Monica and Poliana as well as Australians Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond are currently preparing for Women’s World Cup qualifiers with their respective national teams. Forward Alex Morgan was also ruled out of the match after sustaining a concussion in the Pride’s opening game last Saturday.

“We feel that we have a squad that’s competitive, regardless of how many players we’ve got away,” Sermanni added. “Obviously it makes it a little bit more difficult because you don’t have the same depth when you have six players out of your squad but I think, despite that, if you look at today’s game we were more than competitive and should have done a bit better, result wise.”

The Spirit connected on the counterattack in the 80th minute, off the foot of U.S. Women’s National Team forward Pugh. Ashley Hatch made it 2-0 in the 88th minute.

Orlando returns to action on Sunday, April 15, when the Pride visit Portland Thorns FC. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. ET. The Pride return to Orlando City Stadium on Sunday, April 22, when they host the Houston Dash at 5 p.m. ET.

NWSL Match Report
Match: Washington Spirit vs. Orlando Pride
Date: March 31, 2018
Venue: Maryland SoccerPlex
Kickoff: 3:50 p.m. ET
Attendance: 4,989
Weather: Clear

Scoring Summary:

Goals                                1          2          F

Orlando (0-1-1)                0          0          0

Washington (1-1-0)          0          2          2

WAS - Mallory Pugh (Ashley Hatch) 80’
WAS - Ashley Hatch 88’

Lineups:

Orlando Pride: Ashlyn Harris ©; Ali Krieger, Shelina Zadorsky, Toni Pressley, Carson Pickett; Dani Weatherholt (Bridget Callahan 90’), Christine Nairn, Kristen Edmonds; Rachel Hill, Sydney Leroux, Chioma Ubogagu (Danica Evans 73’)

Substitutes Not Used: Haley Kopmeyer; Lotta Ӧkvist; Abby Elinsky; Christine Creighton, Nadia Gomes

Washington Spirit: Aubrey Bledsoe; Taylor Smith, Whitney Church, Estelle Johnson ©, Caprice Dydasco; Andi Sullivan, Rebecca Quinn (Joanna Lohman 56’), Havana Solaun (Meggie Dougherty Howard 68’); Mallory Pugh, Ashley Hatch, Francisca Ordega (Mallory Eubanks 87’)

Substitutes Not Used: Kelsey Wys; Morgan Proffitt; Tori Huster; Tiffany Weimer

Stats Summary: WAS / ORL
Possession: 47.8 / 52.2 %
Shots: 14 / 14
Shots on Goal: 3 / 4
Saves: 4 / 1
Corner Kicks: 2 / 7
Fouls: 7 / 5
Offside: 2 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
WAS - 
Whitney Church (Yellow Card) 44’

Officials:
Referee: Matthew Franz
Assistant Referee 1: Adrienne McDonald
Assistant Referee 2: Ben Pilgrim
Fourth Official: Karl Kummer

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

Orlando Pride Sign UCF Grad Bridget Callahan as National Team Replacement Player

 Photo: UCF Knights

Photo: UCF Knights

Orlando Pride have signed former University of Central Florida midfielder Bridget Callahan as a National Team Replacement player ahead of Saturday’s 2018 National Women’s Soccer League season opener.

Callahan, 21, joined the Pride as a non-roster invitee for the Club’s third preseason. The former UCF Knight finished her four years at the Orlando-based university in 2017, leading the team to a 13-2-3 overall record during her senior campaign. The Knights went undefeated in conference play, going 7-0-2 against conference opponents. Callahan and UCF reached the American Conference final, falling to the University of South Florida in penalty kicks. The team earned an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, bowing out to Washington State in the opening round.

Over four years, the Hollywood, Fla. native totaled nine goals and two assists in 75 matches played.

National Team Replacement players can be signed when a National Team Player is away on international duty and count against the team’s 20-player roster limit. Currently, Orlando’s Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond are on duty with Australia as they begin preparations for FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifying. More information on National Team Player Replacements can be found here

The Pride open the 2018 NWSL season on Saturday night, hosting Utah Royals FC at 7:30 p.m. ET. Tickets are available at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.

Bridget Callahan
Position:
 Midfield
Height: 5-5
Born: April 16, 1996
Hometown: Hollywood, Fla.
College: University of Central Florida
Citizenship: USA
Acquired: Signed as a National Team Player Replacement on March 23, 2018

Orlando Pride Unveils Official 2018 Roster

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Entering the first week of the 2018 National Women’s Soccer League regular season, Orlando Pride has announced its roster for Opening Day. The Pride open their third campaign on Saturday evening, hosting expansion side Utah Royals FC at Orlando City Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.

Midfielder Camila Martins Pereira has been placed on the 45-day disabled list to begin the season. The Brazilian international is currently recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament tear (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprain in her right knee sustained on Sept. 30, 2017.

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

2018 Orlando Pride Roster:
Rostered Players (21 of 20 spots filled):
GOALKEEPERS (2): Ashlyn Harris (FED-USA), Haley Kopmeyer
DEFENDERS (6):Poliana Barbosa Medeiros (INTL-BRA), Monica Hickmann Alves (INTL-BRA), Ali Krieger, Carson Pickett, Toni Pressley, Shelina Zadorsky (FED-CAN)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Kristen Edmonds, Alanna Kennedy (INTL-AUS/PEN), Camila Martins Pereira (INTL-BRA/D45), Christine Nairn, Emily van Egmond (INTL-AUS/PEN), Dani Weatherholt
FORWARDS (6): Danica Evans, Rachel Hill, Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan (FED-USA), Chioma Ubogagu, Marta Vieira da Silva (INTL-BRA)

Federations Players (FED): 3
International Players (INTL): 6

Key:
FED - 2018 Federation Player
INTL - International Player
D45 - 45-Day Disabled List
PEN - Pending Arrival

 

Orlando Pride End Preseason Matches With 5-1 Win Over USF

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Orlando Pride wrapped up its preseason play on Thursday night, downing the University of South Florida 5-1 at Corbett Stadium. Three Bulls have joined the Orlando squad preseason roster. The Pride’s next match will kickoff the 2018 National Women’s Soccer League season, when the Pride host Utah Royals FC at 7:30 p.m. on March 24.

The Pride had five different scorers in the match.

“I’m really, really delighted with the result. I thought we showed a lot of cohesion, a lot of good movement, a lot of good passing, created a lot of chances and we looked really comfortable today,” Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “So, I think it was a good step forward from the last game.”

Sydney Leroux made it four goals in three matches just four minutes into the match, sending in a tight angle shot from the left side. Christine Nairn got the play started, chipping a ball up to Carson Pickett on her way to the left byline, setting up a cross to Leroux.

Orlando doubled its lead in the 19th minute after Kristen Edmonds, playing in her first match this preseason, fed Danica Evans on the doorstep. Dani Weatherholt made it a three-goal lead just before the halftime whistle, cleaning up the rebound on a late corner.

Nairn picked up an assist in the 58th minute, dropping a ball in for Chioma Ubogagu for her first goal of the preseason.

The Bulls got on the board in the 72nd minute, but the celebration didn’t last long as Nairn responded from the ensuing kickoff, scoring on a long distance blast directly off of the restart.

Individual and season tickets are currently on sale at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.

Match Report
Match: University of South Florida vs. Orlando Pride
Date: March 8, 2018
Venue: Corbett Stadium
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Attendance: 1,000
Weather: Low 50s, Breezy

Team               1          2          F

USF                0          1          1

Orlando          3          2          5

ORL – Sydney Leroux (Carson Pickett) 4’
ORL - Danica Evans (Kristen Edmonds) 19’
ORL - Dani Weatherholt 45+1’
ORL - Chioma Ubogagu (Christine Nairn) 58’
USF - Kelli Burney 72’
ORL - Christine Nairn 73’

Orlando Lineup: GK Haley Kopmeyer; D Kristen Edmonds (Trudi Carter* 32’), Ali Krieger, Toni Pressley, Carson Pickett; M Dani Weatherholt (Ansley Frazier* 82’), Christine Nairn (Julia Moore* 82’), Bridget Callahan (Ellie Moreno* 82’); F Chioma Ubogagu (Christine Creighton*), Danica Evans (Kayla Adamek*), Sydney Leroux (Morgan Ferrera*)

Substitutes Not Used: None

*Non-Roster Invitee

Orlando Pride Re-Signs Australian International Alanna Kennedy

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Orlando Pride signs Australian international Alanna Kennedy to a new contract. Per team and league policies, terms of the contract were not announced.

“After playing such an important role in our success last year, we’re absolutely delighted to bring Alanna back for the upcoming season,” Orlando Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “Alanna is the type of player who can change a game and whose versatility will, again, be extremely valuable for our squad. We wish her the best of luck in her upcoming matches with Australia and can’t wait to have her back with us in Orlando.”

Kennedy, 23, appeared in all 25 matches in her first season with the Pride, becoming a staple in the midfield and leading the team to the NWSL Playoffs in 2017. Selected to the NWSL Team of the Month in September and an NWSL Goal of the Week winner, Kennedy contributed to the offense significantly, scoring five goals, including Orlando’s lone goal in the NWSL semifinal.

Prior to becoming a member of the Pride, Kennedy spent her first NWSL season with the former Western New York Flash, appearing in 15 matches and leading the team to the 2016 NWSL Championship title.

In addition to her two seasons in the United States, Kennedy has spent a significant amount of time playing in her home country of Australia for several teams in the W-League. Her accomplishments include being named Sydney FC Player of the Year in 2016, appearing in the Premiership and Grand Final as a member of the Perth Glory in 2014 and winning the W-League Championship in 2013 with Sydney FC. Most recently, Kennedy helped lead Melbourne City FC to the 2017-18 W-League Championship, the team’s third straight title win.

As a member of the Australia national team, Kennedy played in both the 2016 Summer Olympics and 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, reaching the quarterfinals in both tournaments. Kennedy earned her first national team call-up for the Matildas under Sermanni in 2012. Since then, Kennedy has remained a regular member of the team and is currently competing with the team in the 2018 Algarve Cup in Portugal. In the 2017 Tournament of Nations, which Australia won, Kennedy helped the Matildas beat No. 1 U.S.A. and then-ranked No. 6 Japan and No. 8 Brazil.

Kennedy, as well as teammate Emily van Egmond, will join the Pride following the conclusion of Australia’s 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifying, which runs April 6-20 in Jordan.

Orlando Pride Update Their Preseason Roster

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Entering the third week of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) preseason, Orlando Pride has announced its current preseason roster. Departed from Week 1 camp are Marta and Monica, who are currently with Brazil for a national team camp. In addition, Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni has brought in seven new trialists, all who have recently participated in the team’s first two preseason matches.

Marta and Monica, as well as Poliana, Alex Morgan, Ashlyn Harris, Shelina Zadorsky and Nádia Gomes will return to the Pride next week following international duty.

The Pride will play their final preseason friendly on Thursday, March 8, traveling to face the University of South Florida at 7 p.m. ET.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Ashlyn Harris (FED-USA; NYR), Kat Elliott (NRI), Haley Kopmeyer
DEFENDERS (7): Monica Hickmann Alves, Poliana Barbosa Medeiros (NYR), Ali Krieger, Camila Martin Pereira, Carson Pickett, Toni Pressley, Shelina Zadorsky (FED-CAN; NYR)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Kayla Adamek (NRI), Bridget Callahan (NRI), Christine Creighton (NRI), Kristen Edmonds, Alanna Kennedy (NYR), Julia Moore (NRI), Christine Nairn, Emily van Egmond (NYR), Dani Weatherholt
FORWARDS (10): Trudi Carter (NRI), Danica Evans, Morgan Ferrara (NRI), Nádia Gomes (CDP), Jessica Hamrick (NRI), Rachel Hill, Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan (FED-USA, NYR), Chioma Ubogagu, Marta Vieira da Silva

Key:
FED - 2018 Federation Player
CDP - 2018 NWSL College Draft pick
NRI - Non-Roster Invitee
NYR - Not Yet Reported to Camp