After drawing in both previous meetings, Orlando Pride earned its first-ever victory over Utah Royals FC, downing the expansion team 2-1 on Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Alex Morgan and Kristen Edmonds both scored for the Pride, while defender Ali Krieger became the 18th NWSL player to make 100 regular-season appearances.
“I’m really delighted by the performance and the way we were able to bounce back from Wednesday’s disappointment,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “This was an important game for us to win, and we showed great energy and discipline to go out there and get the result. Our work ethic was first-class. Very happy to head home with all three points.”
Down a goal, Morgan drew the game level in first-half stoppage time, finishing off a penalty kick attempt drawn by Alanna Kennedy. After Kennedy was obstructed on a corner kick, Morgan froze Royals goalkeeper Abby Smith for her fourth goal of the season.
The Pride took a lead over Utah for the first time this season in the 52nd minute on a goal from Kristen Edmonds. Off a Royals free kick, goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris calmly collected the ball before quickly sending it up field. That distribution led to a Pride counterattack, with Ali Krieger dropping the ball into space for Edmonds. The veteran looked up to see Smith off her line, and lofted the ball over the goalkeeper for her first goal of the season.
Amy Rodriguez scored Utah’s lone goal, finishing off a chip over the top from Rachel Corsie in the eighth minute.
Orlando will next face Seattle Reign FC at Orlando City Stadium on Saturday, July 21, in another big matchup as the 2018 regular season dwindles down. The Reign sit just ahead of the Pride in the table in the No. 2 spot.
Tickets for that match are available at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Utah Royals FC vs. Orlando Pride
Date: July 14, 2018
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Goals 1 2 F
Orlando (8-6-4) 1 1 2
Utah (5-6-6) 1 0 1
UTA - Amy Rodriguez (Rachel Corsie) 8’
ORL - Alex Morgan (PK) 45+2’
ORL - Kristen Edmonds (Ali Krieger) 52’
Orlando Pride: Ashlyn Harris ©; Ali Krieger, Monica, Shelina Zadorsky; Toni Pressley (Christine Nairn 87’), Kristen Edmonds, Alanna Kennedy, Dani Weatherholt, Chioma Ubogagu (Camila 80’); Alex Morgan (Sydney Leroux 62’), Rachel Hill
Substitutes Not Used: Haley Kopmeyer; Carson Pickett, Poliana; Emily van Egmond
Utah Royals FC: Abby Smith (Nicole Barnhart 72’); Rachel Corsie, Sidney Miramontez, Katie Bowen, Rebecca Moros; Gunny Jonsdottir, Desiree Scott ©, Christen Press, Lo’eau LaBonta, Diana Matheson (Katrina Gorry 79’); Amy Rodriguez (Katie Stengel 63’)
Substitutes Not Used: Alexa Newfield, Taylor Lytle; Brittany Ratcliffe, Erika Tymrak
Stats Summary: UTA / ORL
Possession: 55.1% / 44.9%
Shots: 8 / 12
Shots on Goal: 3 / 6
Saves: 3 / 2
Corner Kicks: 1 / 4
Fouls: 6 / 16
Offside: 7 / 4
ORL - Rachel Hill (Yellow Card) 24’
ORL - Alanna Kennedy (Yellow Card) 68’
ORL - Chioma Ubogagu (Yellow Card) 75’
ORL - Camila (Yellow Card) 90’
Referee: Reyna Fonseca
Assistant Referee 1: Jennifer Garner
Assistant Referee 2: Alicia Messer
Fourth Official: Brad Jensen