The Pride new they had to score after going over a month without a goal.
Jasmyne Spencer, who entered the game in the 68th minute, provided that much-needed goal in stoppage time to lift the Orlando Pride past the Houston Dash 1-0 on Thursday night in front of 6,870 at Camping World Stadium.
“It’s just good to score,” Pride coach Tom Sermanni said after the game. “It’s good for Jasmyne to score, it’s good for us to win a game after a couple three very difficult games, and poor results on the road. It’s not so much about the scoring, but about trying to go there and win the game.”
The Pride went 360 minutes without a goal, with their last goal being scored on May 20 against coincidentally the Dash at BBVA Compass Stadium. But the goal drought wasn’t something the team put a lot of focus on.
Ashlyn Harris made a heroic diving save in the stoppage time to deny Rachel Daly’s bicycle kick from entering the net. The play that followed defined Thursday’s game. Alex Morgan curled a cross that found Jamia Fields, who dished the ball over to Sarah Hagen who then connected with Spencer to slot the ball into the net late into stoppage time.
“I knew tonight was going to be a big game for us,” said Spencer. “We definitely needed to win, and I’m just happy that I can help the team get it done tonight.”
Orlando (5-5, 15 points) remained undefeated at home while sitting outside the coveted fourth spot in the standings, which guarantees a spot in the playoffs later this season.
“Feels good, feeling even better if we’re undefeated after Sunday,” Sermanni said jokingly. “It’s good, We’re halfway through the season, we’re 5-5 for an expansion team. We’re in great position. It’s important to keep the momentum going, but it’s also important to go away from home and win some games.”
Orlando returned from its four-game road swing with a 1-3 record entering Thursday’s game. Fields, who orchestrated Spencer’s goal, made her first start of the season.
Sermanni added he was going for the win after inserting two attacking options in the second half with Spencer and Hagen entering in the 68th and 80th minute. Two substitutes that proved to be pivotal to the team’s success Thursday night.
The attacking frenzy finished with the Pride outshooting the Dash 12-10.
This was the third time both teams met this season, with the Pride claiming victories each time.
Morgan and Harris were called-up to the United States national team on Thursday for its upcoming friendly against South Africa on July 9 in Soldier Field.
The Pride remains at home when they host the Portland Thorns on Sunday at 5 p.m.
(Photo courtesy of SaJorden Miller)
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