The Orlando Pride came into Sunday’s match with a must-win mentality, however, the team ended the match with a disappointing 2-2 draw against Sky Blue FC in front of a crowd of 4,577.
Despite the inability to clinch three points, the draw puts the Pride in the third position in the NWSL standings, surpassing the Portland Thorns.
Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni commented on the frustrating outcome saying, “Today’s game is a snapshot of our season…We had more than enough chances to win the game…but we just don’t put the game away.”
“We need to be able to put games to bed when we dominate them so much but we also need to stop giving up chances that are so easy for our opponents.”
All four collective goals from the match were scored in the second half, with Marta opening up the scoring in the 50th minute. The initial attempt from midfielder Dani Weatherholt, who cut across four defenders to put a shot on goal, was deflected by Sky Blue goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan. The shot then ricocheted of the post and into the feet of Marta, who finished the opportunity.
Almost immediately after Marta’s goal came the equalizer from Iman Dorsey in the 53rd minute. The forward was able to get behind the Pride defense after a slip from Alanna Kennedy kept her onside as Shea Groom fed her into goal and a 1v1 chance against Ashlyn Harris. Sky Blue continued the scoring with a goal by Groom in the 59th minute, assisted by a cross from Savannah McCaskill, putting them in the lead for only the first time this season.
The equalizer came from Dani Weatherholt in the 72nd minute of play. The attack was led by Camila, who was run off the ball by a Sky Blue player. Her slip resulted in a through ball for Weatherholt, which bounced off a kneeled down Sheridan and into the head of the midfielder, who was able to put the ball away and tie the game. The goal came in her 50th appearance for the Pride.
“I’d love ten Dani Weatherholts out on the field and that’s what she’s been this season,” Sermanni said of his midfielder.
The game’s final minutes were filled with action, where not only did Sky Blue concede a penalty but midfielder Carli Lloyd was issued a red card for denying a potential Pride game-winner. Marta missed the ensuing penalty in the 97th minute, ending the possibly picture-perfect performance to repeat history and win the game for the Pride.
Weatherholt wrapped up the press conference, noting one of the main issues the team needs to improve on is playing a full 90 minute game.
“We need to stay in every minute of every game,” She said in her press conference. “That’s just staying focused in every play instead of just waiting till the final 10.”
Orlando Pride remain at home to host the Portland Thorns on Saturday, August 11, at 7:30 p.m. ET at Orlando City Stadium.
How the Pride lined up
Orlando Pride XI: Ashlyn Harris (c); Ali Krieger,Alanna Kennedy, Toni Pressley; Kristen Edmonds, Emily van Egmond, Christine Nairn, Dani Weatherholt, Chioma Ubogagu; Marta, Rachel Hill.
Orlando Pride Bench: Haley Kopmeyer, Monica, Camila, Danica Evans, Shelina Zadorsky, Alex Morgan, Carson Pickett