ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando Pride (0-1-1, 1 point) played to a 2-0 finish on Saturday afternoon, falling to the Washington Spirit (1-1-0, 3 points) at Maryland SoccerPlex.
“We knew it was going to be a tight game but I thought for most of the second half we looked quite comfortable and we dominated a lot of the game, we just didn’t finish things off,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “We didn’t create enough, weren’t quite incisive enough to get in front. In this kind of game, when it’s tight, you give someone like Mallory Pugh a bit of space and time and you get punished. But up until then, I thought we were looking like the better side. That’s what this league is about. Games are tight and if you don’t stay alert for 90 minutes you get punished.”
The Pride were playing without three of their Opening Day starters, as Brazilians Marta, Monica and Poliana as well as Australians Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond are currently preparing for Women’s World Cup qualifiers with their respective national teams. Forward Alex Morgan was also ruled out of the match after sustaining a concussion in the Pride’s opening game last Saturday.
“We feel that we have a squad that’s competitive, regardless of how many players we’ve got away,” Sermanni added. “Obviously it makes it a little bit more difficult because you don’t have the same depth when you have six players out of your squad but I think, despite that, if you look at today’s game we were more than competitive and should have done a bit better, result wise.”
The Spirit connected on the counterattack in the 80th minute, off the foot of U.S. Women’s National Team forward Pugh. Ashley Hatch made it 2-0 in the 88th minute.
Orlando returns to action on Sunday, April 15, when the Pride visit Portland Thorns FC. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. ET. The Pride return to Orlando City Stadium on Sunday, April 22, when they host the Houston Dash at 5 p.m. ET.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Washington Spirit vs. Orlando Pride
Date: March 31, 2018
Venue: Maryland SoccerPlex
Kickoff: 3:50 p.m. ET
WAS – Mallory Pugh (Ashley Hatch) 80’
WAS – Ashley Hatch 88’
Orlando Pride: Ashlyn Harris ©; Ali Krieger, Shelina Zadorsky, Toni Pressley, Carson Pickett; Dani Weatherholt (Bridget Callahan 90’), Christine Nairn, Kristen Edmonds; Rachel Hill, Sydney Leroux, Chioma Ubogagu (Danica Evans 73’)
Substitutes Not Used: Haley Kopmeyer; Lotta Ӧkvist; Abby Elinsky; Christine Creighton, Nadia Gomes
Washington Spirit: Aubrey Bledsoe; Taylor Smith, Whitney Church, Estelle Johnson ©, Caprice Dydasco; Andi Sullivan, Rebecca Quinn (Joanna Lohman 56’), Havana Solaun (Meggie Dougherty Howard 68’); Mallory Pugh, Ashley Hatch, Francisca Ordega (Mallory Eubanks 87’)
Substitutes Not Used: Kelsey Wys; Morgan Proffitt; Tori Huster; Tiffany Weimer
Stats Summary: WAS / ORL
Possession: 47.8 / 52.2 %
Shots: 14 / 14
Shots on Goal: 3 / 4
Saves: 4 / 1
Corner Kicks: 2 / 7
Fouls: 7 / 5
Offside: 2 / 3
WAS – Whitney Church (Yellow Card) 44’
Referee: Matthew Franz
Assistant Referee 1: Adrienne McDonald
Assistant Referee 2: Ben Pilgrim
Fourth Official: Karl Kummer