After meeting for the second consecutive time this season, goals from Samantha Kerr and Maya Hayes lifted Sky Blue FC to a 2-1 victory over the Orlando Pride on Saturday night in front of 6,788 in attendance at Camping World Stadium.
“Obviously at halftime, we were quite happy. I thought the game was fairly even in the first half, and we got the opportunity and scored. We came out for the second half feeling quite confident and quite comfortable,” said Pride coach Tom Sermanni. “An Achilles heel of ours this season seems to be our defending. There were two examples of that in the first five minutes of the second half. Almost a carbon copy of the goal Sky Blue scored against us in mid-week happened early in the second half.
“Despite our best efforts to look at that, study it, and come up with a strategy to stop it. We struggled to break them down from there. The last 10-15 minutes, the effort from the players was great. We put them under pressure, and we had some little bits and pieces of half-chances.”
Orlando (6-12-1, 19 points) started the game quite aggressively, creating various scoring opportunities. It wasn’t until the 42nd minute of the first half as captain Alex Morgan drew a free kick just a couple yards outside the box, which followed with Kristen Edmonds managing to curl the ball toward the upper-right corner scoring the game’s first goal and her team-leading sixth goal of the season to give Orlando the 1-0 lead.
“She’s been our favorite for the season I said it before many times,” said Sermanni on Edmonds’ performance. “She came as part of another trade, so you don’t know exactly what to expect, but she’s been one of those players who found her place here and her abilities have come to perform.”
As Sky Blue returned from halftime, the team from New Jersey managed to rally, scoring two goals in five minutes. In the 48th minute Kerr easily dribbled past the Pride’s defense and struck the ball past Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, tying the game at 1-1. Sky Blue took the lead moments later when Hayes made a run, beating Kaylyn Kyle and striking the ball past Harris.
Newly-signed forward Lisa De Vanna started for the first time for the Pride on Saturday. The Australian national team captain played 62 minutes.
Saturday’s loss extended Orlando’s winless streak to seven games.
With one game left to the season, the Pride will close out the season at home when FC Kansas City visits on Sept. 24 at 5 p.m.
Photo by Daniel Castrillon / New Day Review