Chicago presses for victory over Orlando in Alex Morgan’s return

Pride v Red Stars (2 of 18)

Christen Press’ lone penalty-kick goal ensured the Chicago Red Stars a 1-0 victory over the Orlando Pride on Saturday night in front of a crowd of 5,476 at Orlando City Stadium.  

It wasn’t until the 68th minute, when Orlando conceded a penalty when Toni Pressley brought Casey Short down inside the box with a challenge from behind, paving the way for Press to convert the spot kick past goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe.

“We’ve done what we’ve done in several occasions this year, we have momentum and then we quickly hit the post and almost score, and then give the goal away ten seconds later. We seem to have a tendency to do those things and that costs us these games,” said Pride head coach Tom Sermanni. “Can’t fault the effort of the players. [We] had enough chances to win the game I think, had enough possession to win the game, but just one moment of indecision, indiscipline whatever you want to call it costs us the game. I would like to say that it hasn’t happened that often this season but unfortunately it has.”

Collective effort was definitely a noticeable factor during Saturday’s game. Bledsoe ran to the opposing box in the 92nd minute of stoppage time to almost equalize the score with a header that was stopped by Danielle Colaprico.  

“When you are a keeper you are excited for that moment, but you don’t want it to happen because it means you are down. But I just kind of sneaked to the back post, where I was wide open, where I saw the ball coming like right to me, and I thought this is my moment, I’m going to score, but their player flipped it with their head, so it actually hit me right in the face,” said Bledsoe. “I saw the replay actually, and it was still a decent effort … unfortunately they cleared off the line, could’ve been a great goal but if we take care of business before the closing minutes that doesn’t have to happen and we come away with a win.”

Alex Morgan, who received medical clear-up this past week, made her debut in the 64th minute on Saturday and played 25 minutes.

Morgan, who still hasn’t had a chance to train with the team, shared that the lack of communication played a big role in the outcome, but did not feel a lack of chemistry with her teammates.

“Initially Tom wanted the three forwards to rotate a little bit, so I found myself drifting to the right side a lot and then me and Marta would switch,” said Morgan. “I think it was fine [chemistry wise], I think maybe when Chi [Ubogagu] came in, I didn’t know what we were playing, what position, who was playing what position, because Camilla was the ten and then I’m not sure where she was, and then I wasn’t sure where Chi was. There was a little bit of confusion, I wish the communication was just better. I think we can work on that a lot more.”

The Pride have one week to rest before heading to Washington on July 8 to face the Washington Spirit at 3 p.m. in the Maryland SoccerPlex.

(Photo by Adrian Hernandez / Orlando Soccer Journal) 

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