Following a 2-1 loss to the Houston Dash, the Orlando Pride played their third game in eight days against the best team in NWSL, falling to the North Carolina Courage 3-0 in front of an announced crowd of 4,017 at Orlando City Stadium.
All three goals from the Courage game within a three minute span just seven minutes before halftime as the Pride could not recover from the defect.
“Frankly we’ve just been beaten by a team that was better than us, significantly better on the day. Probably in essentially all areas of the field. They were quicker to do things, they were dynamic, they were alert, they did soccer fundamental things better than we did,” Pride head coach Tom Sermanni said after the match.. “The thing about this league, apart from North Carolina, who are running away with it, there’s five or six teams right in the mix there. We need to ensure that we get back on an even keel, on a winning run, and put this game behind us.”
Orlando and North Carolina both created chances throughout most of the first half, but the Courage ended up with the opening goal thanks in part to a defensive error.
In the 37th minute, a chipped ball over the top of the defense by Crystal Dunn forced the Orlando Pride defense to scramble to clear the ball. Monica popped the ball up in the air, Debinha, stepped into the ball and was able to shoot the ball hard enough that it rolled under Ashlyn Harris‘ glove.
The game unraveled from there as just a minute later, Merritt Mathias was able to get a shot off from the wing, taking a deflection off Poliana and catching Harris diving the other way. It settled in the near post and North Carolina took a 2-0 lead.
Then, just a minute after the second goal, in the 40th minute, Dunn found Jessica McDonald on the run who finished past Harris for the third goal of the match.
Orlando managed to hold the 1st place team quiet offensively, but were not able to find any offense themselves. In addition to that, Pride forward Alex Morgan was forced to come off in the 80th minute with a calf injury, and Orlando was forced to play with 10 players for the remainder of the match.
Orlando Pride versus Washington Spirit on Saturday, July 7 at 7:30 p.m.
How the Pride lined up
Orlando Pride XI: Ashlyn Harris (c); Monica, Ali Krieger, Shelina Zadorsky, Poliana; Alanna Kennedy, Emily van Egmond, Rachel Hill, Sydney Leroux; Marta, Alex Morgan.
Orlando Pride Bench: Haley Kopmeyer, Toni Pressley, Chioma Ubogagu, Kristen Edmonds, Dani Weatherholt, Carson Pickett, Christine Nairn.
(Photo Courtesy of Adrian J Photography)
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