ORLANDO, Fla. – In the final of three consecutive home matches, Orlando Pride (7-5-4, 25 points) came from behind to defeat the Washington Spirit (2-10-4, 10 points) 2-1 on Saturday at Orlando City Stadium. Sydney Leroux scored her fifth goal of the season before assisting on Marta’s late game-winner.
“I’m really proud of the players tonight,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “It was a really tight game in the end in the scoreline but we had seven good chances to score in the first 12 minutes. It’s important when you get those chances that, if you take one or two of them it gives you that little barrier and a little bit of respite because you know at some stage in this league teams are going to come into the game and they’re going to create chances and that’s exactly what Washington did. They consolidated a little bit and then got that opening goal, which made life obviously a lot more difficult then. The players deserve a lot of praise for coming back, keep plugging away, keep playing the way that we wanted to play and I think we did enough to win the game and we deserved to win the game.”
After weathering an early storm of Pride shots, Washington started the scoring in the 26th minute when Ashley Hatch headed in Whitney Church’s corner delivery.
Orlando equalized in first-half stoppage time when Leroux raced onto a ball in the box, turned and fired a shot that beat former Pride goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe at the near post. It was Leroux’s team-leading fifth goal of the season. The shot was Orlando’s 12th of the half, as the Pride outshot the visitors 12-7 over the first 45.
In the 65th minute, Pride defender Camila made her first appearance since tearing her ACL and spraining her MCL last September. The 23-year-old was aggressive in pursuit of a goal, taking three shots in her 25 minutes.
As the game neared full time, Orlando turned up the pressure in search for the winner. In the 80th minute, Marta delivered a corner kick to Alanna Kennedy, whose header from 12 yards out rang off the bar.
Then in the 86th minute, Leroux worked the ball up the left wing and into the box for Marta. Faced one-on-one with a defender, the Brazilian zig-zagged her way through the box before getting on her strong left foot and blasting it off the crossbar and in. Marta’s goal ties her with Alex Morgan for most goals in Club history with 16.
Orlando finished the match with 31 total shots, breaking the Club’s previous record of 25 which was set on July 15, 2017 in the teams’s 3-1 win over FC Kansas City.
The Pride face a quick turnaround when they host the Houston Dash on Wednesday, July 11, at 8:30 p.m. ET at BBVA Compass Stadium Stadium.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Orlando Pride vs. Washington Spirit
Date: July 7, 2018
Venue: Orlando City Stadium
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
WAS – Ashley Hatch (Whitney Church) 26’
ORL – Sydney Leroux (Alanna Kennedy) 45+2’
ORL – Marta (Sydney Leroux) 86’
Orlando Pride: Ashlyn Harris ©; Ali Krieger, Monica, Shelina Zadorsky, Carson Pickett; Emily van Egmond (Camila 65’), Alanna Kennedy, Christine Nairn (Dani Weatherholt 66’); Sydney Leroux, Marta, Chioma Ubogagu (Rachel Hill 72’)
Substitutes Not Used: Haley Kopmeyer; Toni Pressley, Poliana; Kristen Edmonds
Washington Spirit: Aubrey Bledsoe; Caprice Dydasco, Estelle Johnson ©, Whitney Church, Taylor Smith; Estefania Banini (Rose Lavelle 75’), Rebecca Quinn, Andi Sullivan (Havana Solaun 66’); Francisca Ordega (Meggie Dougherty Howard 10’), Ashley Hatch, Tori Huster
Substitutes Not Used: DiDi Haracic; Mallory Eubanks, Kelsey Wys, Joanna Lohman
Stats Summary: ORL / WAS
Possession: 56.1% / 43.9%
Shots: 31 / 16
Shots on Goal: 12 / 5
Saves: 4 / 10
Corner Kicks: 6 / 3
Fouls: 9 / 5
Offsides: 2 / 1
ORL – Marta (Yellow Card) 90+2’
Referee: Danielle Chesky
Assistant Referee 1: Shane Kennard
Assistant Referee 2: Ben Pilgrim
Fourth Official: Janessa Gunn