The game looked like it was heading for a scoreless draw, but Alex Morgan’s stunner in the second half left it late as the Orlando Pride clinched a 1-0 win over the Western New York Flash on Saturday night in front of 7,841 in attendance at Camping World Stadium.
“That’s why in any team you have million-dollar kind of players,” Pride coach Tom Sermanni said on Morgan’s performance. “Those players change games. They make games, and they win games for you.
“That was classic Alex Morgan tonight. She was persistent up front, chipped away. The two center backs gave her a tough and tolerant time, but she kept plugging away and when that one opportunity came, she took it. That’s why she’s such a valuable player.”
The Flash (2-3-0, 6 points) dominated much of the first half and could have taken the early lead in the 26th minute when Lynn Williams’ shot from the 6-yard line hit off the crossbar when Samantha Mewis found the striker unmarked.
Western New York’s last chance at opening the score came in the 69th minute when Taylor Smith’s breakaway at goal was denied by Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris.
With the Flash dominating the first half, the second part of the game belonged to the Pride. Lianne Sanderson’s substitution at halftime for Sarah Hagen was the x-factor move by Sermanni.
Sanderson’s presence in the midfield would eventually find Edmonds, who in the 79th minute whipped in a through ball past the Flash backline which found Morgan onside to chip the ball over Sabrina D’Angelo for the go-ahead goal.
“She said at halftime that she wanted to get me the ball more, and that’s exactly what she did,” Morgan said on Edmonds’ assist. “She’s just so good with her feet. She’s quick, [got a] good awareness of her teammates, and that ball was fantastic. I think we’ll see more assists from Kristen in the future.”
The game had a little bit of physical play, which evidently resulted in the Flash going down a player after Abby Erceg’s foul on Sanderson resulted in a second yellow card.
“It was a very difficult game for us because it was a game we’re not used to,” Sermanni added as his Pride team remains undefeated at home. “In the last three or four games, we haven’t gone up against a team that played quite like that.”
The Pride (3-2-0, 9 points) will embark on a four-game road trip, starting on May 20 against the Houston Dash at 8:30 p.m.
On that road stretch includes a game against the Washington Spirit (4-0-1, 13 points), who sit atop the NWSL standings, on June 18 at 7 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Sami-Jo Martinez / The SkyBoat.
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