Coming off their first loss of the season, the Orlando Pride couldn’t manage to bounce back, falling to the North Carolina Courage 2-0 on Sunday afternoon at Exploria Stadium. This was the first time in league play since October 2019 that the Pride were unable to score a goal.
“Obviously the goals are mistakes and a counter attack, which North Carolina are probably the best counter attacking team in the league,” head coach Marc Skinner said after the match. “So it’s always gonna be something dangerous when you’re trying to push to get a goal. But I was pleased with our attacking purpose, pleased that we were trying to find different ways. Obviously without Alex in our attacking lineup to find a goal, we felt we should have scored, but we’ve had players, we’ve been tested again psychologically because, Ali Krieger comes out of the game Toni and Konya haven’t played for a while, come straight back in and do a great job.”
“Overall the psyche of the team keeps growing stronger, keeps getting more exposed to different scenarios, different expectations and the group keeps growing,” Skinner added. “So overall it’s as disappointing as the loss is, it’s a really, really good performance it’s something that we can definitely build from and add into the the experience that we gain.”
The match almost started perfectly for the Pride as Sydney Leroux had an excellent chance on goal in the first 15 seconds of the match, but Courage keeper Casey Murphy made one of her nine saves on the night to deny the early chance.
That missed opportunity turned into a goal at the other end for the Courage, as a turnover by Meggie Dougherty-Howard led to a Debinha goal on the breakaway.
Orlando battled back and started to ease into the flow of the game, but just before halftime, Ali Krieger went down with an injury and was forced to be subbed out.
The Pride looked better and created more chances in the second half, but none truly challenged Murphy in goal.
The dam broke again in the 66th minute for the Pride as Havana Solaun scored a loose ball in the box to make it 2-0 to the Courage.
Despite their 20 shots in the match, Orlando couldn’t get one to find the back of the net and fell for just the second time this season.
The Pride are back at Exploria Stadium on Friday, July 9 when they take on Racing Louisville at 7:30 p.m. on Paramount+.
3′ – Debinha (NC)
66′ – Havana Solaun, assisted by Jess McDonald (NC)
How the Pride lined up
Orlando Pride XI: Ashlyn Harris (c); Courtney Petersen, Toni Pressley (Amy Turner 80′), Ali Krieger (Konya Plummer, 45′), Ali Riley; Crystal Thomas (Erika Tymrak, 66′), Gunny Jónsdóttir, Meggie Dougherty Howard ; Sydney Leroux, Marta, Taylor Kornieck (Abi Kim, 80′).
Substitutes: Brittany Wilson, Carrie Lawrence, Kaylee Collins, Ally Haran, Chelsee Washington.
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