After going down late in the first half, the Orlando Pride responded immediately, gradually taking full control of their Wednesday afternoon game against Kansas City, extending their unbeaten streak to seven games to start the season.
A brace from Sydney Leroux and a near half-field strike from Marta was what Orlando needed to secure their 3-1 road victory away from home
“I feel like in the past, when we went down, we kind of just crumbled,” Leroux said following the game. “and when we go down [now], it’s like, we don’t have that feeling of we’re going to lose, we have that feeling of we’re going to score a goal, we’re going to score another one and we’re going to come out of this, and I think we’ve done a great job with that this season, and I hope we can continue to do that.”
Kansas City opened the scoring deep into first-half stoppage time, when a corner sent in from Amy Rodriguez found Jessica Silva in the box, who back-heeled a pass, finding Mariana Larroquette, who slid the ball past Orlando goalkeeper Erin McLeod.
The Pride managed to respond back immediately just minutes later. 10 minutes into first-half stoppage time, Leroux picked up a through ball from Chelsee Washington, got into the area, cut and slipped the ball past Abby Smith for the equalizer, just before the halftime whistle.
The second half started even better for the Pride. In the 55th minute, Leroux scored her second of the match — and her fourth goal of the season– after receiving a ball from Gunny Jónsdóttir down the left flank. The forward cut inside, sending a curling shot towards the right corner of the net to give Orlando the 2-1 lead.
The Pride would once again rely on their defense to hold Kansas City at bay, protecting the one-goal lead. Late in the match, however, it was Marta who sealed the win for Orlando in the 85th minute. In stunning fashion, the midfielder saw KC goalkeeper Sofia Smith off her line and drilled a long distance shot from just inside midfield over Smith and into the net to secure the 3-1 win for Orlando.
“We were able to put players into a team able to rotate we’re able to show that we can be competitive,” Head Coach Marc Skinner said after the match, “And also show that whenever the chips are down, we can be counted on. I think it’s the psychology of each game at the moment.”
The Pride continue their road trip, flying straight from Kansas City to Texas, with a match at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday night against the Houston Dash at 8:30 p.m.
45+8′ – Mariana Larroquette, assisted by Jessica Silva (KC)
45+10′ – Sydney Leroux, assisted by Chelsee Washington (ORL)
55′ – Sydney Leroux, assisted by Gunny Jónsdóttir (ORL)
85′ – Marta, assisted by Gunny Jónsdóttir (ORL)
How the Pride lined up
Orlando Pride XI: Erin McLeod; Courtney Petersen, Phoebe McClernon, Ali Krieger (c), Gunny Jónsdóttir, Chelsee Washington, Marisa Viggiano (Ali Riley, 46′), Meggie Dougherty-Howard; Erika Tymrak (Marta, 46′), Abi Kim (Taylor Kornieck, 46′; Crystal Thomas, 81′), Sydney Leroux.
Substitutes: Brittany Wilson, Ally Haran, Konya Plummer, Toni Pressley.
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