“I thought for the first 25 minutes we controlled the game, controlled the tempo and went a goal up then we self-destructed. It took us a little bit to come back into the game. We were in the game for many periods in the second half until near the end and then we allowed the initiative to go back to Washington,” Head Coach Tom Sermanni said postgame. “So I’m bitterly disappointed that we got ourselves in front twice and then gave it away but that seems to be symptomatic of how our season has gone so far. Until we stop making those fundamental errors, in this league, we won’t win games that we should win.”
The two teams traded goals throughout the match, with Marta scoring the first goal of the match on a penalty kick in the ninth minute. Marta slipped a ball in to Camila who was making a run just inside the penalty area. With her back to the goal, Camila was undercut by Washington defender Kasey Kallman, earning the Pride’s second penalty kick of the season. Marta stepped to the spot for the kick, driving the ball past Stephanie Labbé for her seventh goal of the season.
The home team tied things up in the 24th minute after Estefania Banini picked off a pass from right back Kristen Edmonds, sending the Spirit on the counter attack. Francisca Ordega received the ball at the top of the penalty area, finding rookie Mallory Pugh to the right before the forward drove a low shot through the Pride defense to make it 1-1.
After holding the stalemate until the halftime whistle, the Pride regrouped and came out of the locker room controlling possession and the opportunities in the second half.
Eleven minutes into the half, Marta scored her second goal of the game on a world class strike. Marta collected a deflected pass by Camila, taking a difficult left-footed shot off the half volley, sending the ball across her body and into the net.
Marta looked for her first NWSL hat trick in the 65th minute, blasting a shot from the edge of the center circle in an attempt to catch Labbé off of her line, but the distance shot fell just wide of the goal.
However, a late-game penalty kick call gave Washington an equalizer opportunity in the 90th minute and Pugh drew things level just before stoppage time.
Goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe made a huge save in the 29th minute, denying the Spirit of the lead on a Tori Huster shot. Huster made a cutting run between the Pride’s center backs, collecting the ball and finding herself in alone on Bledsoe. But the third-year goalkeeper came off her line, using her left mitt to swat down the midfielder’s close-range chip attempt. Bledsoe finished with five saves in her seventh start of the season.
After debuting in front of the home crowd last weekend, Alex Morgan made her first appearance in the Pride’s starting XI on Saturday night. The U.S. Women’s National Team forward played 63 minutes and finished with one shot.
With her first goal of the game, Marta surpassed Edmonds’ franchise single-season goalscoring record of six, which was set during the Pride’s inaugural campaign. Marta currently has eight on the year, the second highest total in the league.
Orlando next returns to Central Florida to host FC Kansas City in the second meeting between the two teams this season. The match will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. ET from Orlando City Stadium. Tickets are available at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Washington Spirit vs. Orlando Pride
Date: July 8, 2017
Venue: Maryland SoccerPlex
Kickoff: 3:50 p.m. ET
ORL – Marta (PK) 9’
WAS – Mallory Pugh (Francisca Ordega) 24’
ORL – Marta 56’
WAS – Mallory Pugh (PK) 90’
Orlando Pride: Aubrey Bledsoe; Kristen Edmonds, Ali Krieger ©, Toni Pressley, Steph Catley; Alanna Kennedy, Camila (Jamia Fields 78’), Dani Weatherholt, Chioma Ubogagu, Alex Morgan (Rachel Hill 63’), Marta (Maddy Evans 90’)
Substitutes Not Used: Caroline Stanley; Monica; Nickolette Driesse; Jasmyne Spencer
Washington Spirit: Stephanie Labbé ; Estelle Johnson (Caprice Dydasco 75’), Whitney Church, Shelina Zadorsky ©, Kassey Kallman; Tori Huster, Meggie Dougherty Howard (Kristie Mewis 81’), Estefania Banini; Havana Solaun (Cheyna Williams 64’), Mallory Pugh, Francisca Ordega
Substitutes Not Used: DiDi Haracic; Alyssa Kleiner; Lindsay Agnew, Arielle Ship
Stats Summary: WAS / ORL
Possession: 49.5% / 50.5%
Shots: 18 / 16
Shots on Goal: 7 / 4
Saves: 2 / 5
Corner Kicks: 1 / 2
Fouls: 10 / 11
Offside: 3 / 5
Referee: Henrik Karlsson
Assistant Referee 1: Tom Felice
Assistant Referee 2: Ben Pilgrim
Fourth Official: Will Aten