Stoppage-time drama: Orlando Pride fails to clinch playoffs in 1-1 draw to Seattle Reign


A stoppage-time goal from Alex Morgan looked liked it clinched the Orlando Pride its first-ever playoff berth, but Jessica Fishlock’s equalizer moments later for the Seattle Reign denied that from happening during a 1-1 draw Thursday night in front of 4,341 at Orlando City Stadium.

It wasn’t until the second minute of stoppage time when Morgan out-ran Seattle’s defender Rachel Corsie, managing to complete a ball from Dani Weatherholt to strike the ball straight into the back of the net.

But within less than one minute Seattle’s Fishlock quickly reacted scoring an equalizer from the middle of the box when she headed in a ball past Orlando goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris. 

“We worked really hard against Seattle, one the best football teams actually playing soccer in this league, like us and it was a different kind of game tonight than some of the other games we’ve had here,” head coach Tom Sermanni shared after the game. “Very open-game at times, and some good football being played. I thought we had more than enough chances the second half to win the game, and then I thought we had won the game, and sport comes back and gives us lessons some time. Mixed feelings, but I’m delighted with the effort.”

Orlando created a number of opportunities, tallying 20 shot attempts and leading possession at 51.4 percent while Seattle ended with four shot attempts and 50.6 percent of possession.

For Orlando, a win Thursday secured a spot in the 2017 National Women’s Soccer League playoffs; however, Thursday’s draw puts Orlando in a risky position with 36 points, a one-point difference over fourth seed Chicago Red Stars with 35 points.

“I feel like we just switched off for a second, it’s not like [Seattle’s] crosses were dangerous by any means, we could’ve definitely handled them, we just switched off. We could’ve definitely been in the playoffs for sure at this point, but were not in a bad position by any means,” said Morgan.

The Pride are now unbeaten in seven consecutive games and have scored at least one goal in their last 10 matches.

Orlando has two weeks to prepare for its next match on Sept. 3 when it hosts the No.2 Portland Thorns at 3:30 p.m. on Lifetime.

Here’s how the teams lined up: 

Orlando Pride starting lineup: Ashlyn Harris, Ali Krieger, Stephanie Catley, Monica, Camila, Alanna Kennedy, Dani Weatherholt, Rachel Hill (74′ Jasmyne Spencer), Chioma Ubogagu (84′ Toni Pressley), Marta, Alex Morgan

Orlando substitutes: Danica Evans, Jamia Fields, Nickolette Driesse, Aubrey Bledsoe, Toni Pressley, Jocelyn Blankenship, Jasmyne Spencer

Seattle Reign: Lydia Williams, Carson Pickett, Lauren Barnes, Rebekah Stott, Rachel Corsie,

Rumi Utsugi, Megan Rapinoe, Beverly Yanez (65′ Nahomi Kawasumi), Christine Nairn (73′ Maddie Bauer), Jessica Fishlock, Merritt Mathias (80′ Katie Johnson)

Seattle Reign substitutes: Haley Kopmeyer, Maddie Bauer, Kiersten Dallstream, Nahomi Kawasumi, Katie Johnson, Kristen McNabb, Reed.


(Photo Courtesy of Adrian Hernandez / Orlando Soccer Journal) 

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