Orlando Pride reigns supreme at home over Seattle

Goals from Sarah Hagen and Lianne Sanderson kept the Orlando Pride unbeaten at home after a 2-0 victory over the visiting Seattle Reign on Sunday in front of 8,211 at Camping World Stadium.

“I’m delighted with the win, especially delighted with the clean sheet,” Pride head coach Tom Sermanni said. “We’ve got a belief among the team that we’re more than competitive in this league, and I think today we confirmed that. We’re getting stronger as the game goes on, and that’s a good sign for the future.”

Hagen opened the scoring in the 11th minute when she headed a ball from Alex Morgan past Seattle goalkeeper Hope Solo. 

Sanderson, who entered the game for Hagen in the 57th minute, closed the game in the 87th minute after Morgan’s initial shot was blocked by Solo, leaving Sanderson to rebound the ball into an empty net.

It was the first time this season Morgan was involved in both Orlando goals.

“She is a critical key player for us,” said Sermanni on Morgan’s presence in the final third. “I think we’re starting to see the qualities that she has both in the sense of both creating and scoring chances. And the more that went on in the game, the more chances she got, and having explosiveness and when she gets into that mode, it’s almost unstoppable.”

The Pride (2-2-0, 6 points) entered Sunday’s game after a 1-0 road loss to the Chicago Red Stars last week.

Sanderson’s substitution for Hagen in the 57th minute changed the tempo for Sermanni’s team by allowing Laura Alleway to move further up the field to connect with the Pride attackers.

With that in place, the Pride got its first scoring opportunity of the night in the 74th minute when Alleway found Steph Catley to make a run for goal, but the chance was squandered when the Australian international’s shot went over the crossbar.

The attacking edge carried on moments later when Sam Witteman connected with Morgan on a through ball in the 77th minute to make a run at goal only to get denied from Solo to keep Seattle afloat.

The victory at home was also Ashlyn Harris’ first shutout in a Pride uniform. The goalkeeper only finished with two saves, but made a heroic save when Beverly Yanez’s chip from 18 yards out resulted in Harris making a fingertip save in the 80th minute.

Orlando looks to keep its unbeaten run alive when the Western New York Flash visit Camping World Stadium on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Starting XIs

Orlando Pride (4-4-2): Harris; Catley, Monica Hickmann Alves, Alleway; Josée Bélanger; Jasmyne Spencer, Kristen Edmonds, Kaylyn Kyle, Witteman; Morgan, Hagen

Seattle Reign (4-1-2-3): Solo; Carson Pickett, Lauren Barnes, Rachel Corsie, Kendall Fletcher; Kim Little; Elli Reed, Merritt Mathias; Keelin Winters, Yanez, Manon Melis

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