A late goal from Danica Evans in the 86th minute rescued the Orlando Pride a 1-1 draw against the Washington Spirit ( 0-1-1, 1 points) on Saturday at the Orlando City Stadium in front of 14,452 fans.
After trailing the Spirit for 85 minutes, Pride forward Chioma Ubogagu provided an assist to Evans, who scored the only goal for the Pride on Saturday and her first-ever professional goal.
“Once the ball got through, I looked at that side of the goalkeeper and I debated whether to shoot at first time or to dribble,” Evans said. “For me personally, I rather dribble, so I just took that extra touch and next thing I know the goalie is wide open, the fans are screaming, and it was honestly amazing and I am so glad I got to score today.”
Brazilian star Marta opened up her season with the Pride in the 59th minute when she entered the game for defender Monica. She had an opportunity to give her team the lead during stoppage time but missed wide of the goal.
When asked about whether or not she was excited to take that chance she had a quick one word response followed by a smile, “absolutely,” she said.
“I was thinking, yes come on perfect, 2-1, win the game, that’s it!” Marta said with remarkable emotion on her voice.
Marta arrived from Sweden on Thursday, and has had little to no interaction with her teammates, but she felt she needed to arrive and create a good atmosphere between her and the rest of the girls in the team.
“I felt really welcome by everyone and that’s all you need in an environment like this so I am really happy,” Marta said. “I just wanted to be myself and I be happy, I was able to be myself, I just wanted to break the ice and let everyone know how happy I was so my reaction of the girls was really good and I am really excited.”
In the 60th minute, the Spirit scored the first goal of the game when midfielder Line Sigvardsen-Jensen headed the ball past goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, whose failed clearance of the ball resulted to the goal.
Pride head coach Tom Sermanni talked about how the team has performed in its first two games and how they developed as a team today in the field.
“We had some shots that were under pressure but we also had some chances,” Sermanni said. “We really got to get more ruthless in what we do in-and-around the six yard box to finish some of them off.”
The next game for the Pride (0-1-1, 1 points) will be on Saturday, April 29 when the team travels to play the North Carolina Courage at WakeMed Soccer Park at 4 p.m.
(Photo by Adrian Hernandez / Orlando Soccer Journal)