After a dominating start to the game, the Pride failed to find their footing in the second half of the match.
A goal from Alex Morgan was the only tally for the Orlando Pride tonight, as they fell to a 2-1 defeat to the Houston Dash Wednesday night at Orlando City Stadium.
“I thought the first 30 minutes was the best we’ve played here all season,” Pride head coach Tom Sermanni said. “Best we’ve played for a long time. We were incredibly dominate in the game and probably should have come in at halftime with a significant lead and finished the game. The lesson tonight that you learn in soccer sometimes is that one-nil is never safe. And we didn’t get that second goal to kinda finish them off.”
The Pride (6-4-4, 22 points) dominated the first 30 minutes of the match, creating chances and holding possession.
Just 12 minutes in, Morgan was able to get the ball at the top of the box, shift by her defender Clare Polkinghorne, who brought her down in the box for an early penalty. Morgan, however, took the penalty kick and hitting her shot off the post, despite sending Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell diving the wrong way.
Morgan eventually opened the scoring in the 22nd minute on a very weird goal. Off a corner that was cleared away, Christine Nairn sent a cross into the penalty area which was headed backwards by Polkinghorne. The header fell to the feet of Shelina Zadorsky, who sent in a cross across the face of goal, while the entire Dash team stopped to appeal for offside, to an awaiting Morgan for the easy tap-in. It was her first home goal of the season.
“I mean you’re told from when you’re five years old to finish the play, it doesn’t matter whether she [Shelina Zadorsky] was, or not,” Morgan said after the game. “Once I put the ball away, I saw the ref’s flag up and then he put it down and I think it was a defensive header, which is why she might have been kept on. I haven’t see the replay, so I’m not for sure. I mean, you finish a play whether that’s on the attacking side, or defensive side. I’m really happy that I finally got a home goal, I think that’s my first one of the year.”
The Dash were able to grow into the game and in the second half, capitalized on that momentum. Houston midfielder Kealia Ohai lofted a cross into the box that curled towards goal. The ball kept carrying and curling, eventually beating Ashlyn Harris as the ball found the top corner of the net to tie the game at one.
Just four minutes later, the Dash took the lead after a cross into the box was blocked by Pride defender Poliana‘s arm, which was called a penalty. Newly traded midfielder Sofia Huerta stepped up and blasted her penalty into the roof of the net, putting the away side up for good.
Despite the loss, the Pride had a season high in shots with 21, including a club record 15 shots in the first half alone.
The team now prepares for a quick turnaround as they face league leaders North Carolina Courage this Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Orlando City Stadium.
Here’s how the Pride lined up:
Orlando Pride XI: Ashlyn Harris (c); Poliana, Shelina Zadorsky, Monica, Carson Pickett; Alanna Kennedy, Christine Nairn, Dani Weatherholt; Kristen Edmonds, Alex Morgan, Marta.
Orlando Pride bench: Haley Kopmeyer, Toni Pressley, Sydney Leroux, Camila, Rachel Hill, Chioma Ubogagu, Emily van Egmond.
(Photos by Adrian J Photography)
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