Orlando Pride (5-5-4, 19 points) exploded for a four-goal performance on Saturday night, picking up a 4-1 win over FC Kansas City (3-7-4, 13 points) at Orlando City Stadium. The scoreline marked a historic performance for the Pride, setting the Club record for most goals scored at home and posting a new high for shots in a game with 25.
“I think there was a lot of positive things from tonight’s game. We needed to put on a performance for the people in Orlando, for our supporters and for everybody in the community and I think we did that tonight,” Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “I thought our soccer was incisive; we’ve played the way we’ve been trying to play. We created lots of chances, probably could have finished the game off long before it went to 2-1 and had a little dodgy spell at that period of time. Overall, I’m delighted with the way the players went about doing their jobs tonight and the way we played.”
The Pride took control of the match from the opening whistle, putting the visitors under instant pressure. Marta and Alex Morgan came inches from opening the scoring in the seventh minute, but Morgan’s header attempt on Marta’s corner kick sailed just inches over the bar.
But the Pride found an answer soon, with Marta again creating the chance off of a corner kick. 22 minutes in, Camila played a short corner before Marta beat multiple KC defenders, floating a cross into the box that Alanna Kennedy headed home for her second goal of the season.
Morgan added the team’s second goal, which would prove to be the game-winner, 15 minutes later after winning a penalty kick – the Pride’s third of the season. Morgan was dragged down at the top of the penalty area by Blues defender Katie Bowen and the forward made no mistakes on the awarded shot, putting in her first goal of 2017.
The two goals would be enough to leave with all three points, but Orlando would not be done scoring, adding two more in the second half.
Defender Toni Pressley continued her strong play and was rewarded with her first NWSL goal in the 70th minute. The Melbourne, Fla. native collected a pass from Camila, taking a couple touches to create a lane and fired a fantastic, bending shot from 25 yards out to make the score 3-1.
Just five minutes later, Orlando’s 2016 Golden Boot winner Kristen Edmonds sealed the match with her first goal of the season, blocking a clear attempt by KC goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart and calmly pushing the ball into the open net.
Sermanni started Camila in her natural position on Saturday night, shifting the Brazilian to right back for the first time this season. The move paid off, keeping the Kansas City offense – including forward Sydney Leroux – at bay with Camila still able to show flashes of her attacking brilliance down the right flank.
Despite the Pride scoring two late goals in the second half, the final 45 started more reserved on both ends of the field. But the visitors were able to get one back in the 65th minute when Bowen found second-half substitute Maegen Kelly on a run through the middle. Bowen collected the ball after a long clearance hit off of Leroux’s back, catching the Pride defense on a shift with the forward ending Aubrey Bledsoe’s shutout bid.
Bledsoe continued her strong play, picking up her fourth win of the season with a three save performance. The third-year player came up with big saves throughout the match, including an athletic diving save on Brittany Ratcliffe in the 40th minute.
With 19 points through 14 matches, the Pride have matched their 2016 point total with 10 matches still to play in the Club’s second NWSL campaign.
The Pride will begin the first leg of a home-and-home series with second seeded Chicago Red Stars next Saturday with a 4 p.m. ET contest at Toyota Park. The game will be aired as the NWSL’s Lifetime Game of the Week. Following a bye-week for the Tournament of Nations, the Pride return to Orlando City Stadium on August 5 to host the Red Stars at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Tickets to all six of the Pride’s remaining home matches are available at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.