A desperately point-hungry Orlando Pride team fell 2-0 to the Portland Thorns FC on Saturday night at Orlando City Stadium. The game drew an audience of 6,012 as the two teams fought for their spot in the playoffs.
Head Coach Tom Sermanni was left speechless after the final result, saying “The second half looked like we put a different team out, same bodies but a different team out on the field and the game was over in 7 minutes.”
Sermanni even went as far as to say the team had “a lack of willingness to defend” and that “[he] would like to apologize to the crowd for coming and keeping support of us because our team on the field didn’t deserve that support.”
The first half of the match saw an energetic Pride team early on, with five corners within the first ten minutes of play and nine shots in total. However, the Pride were unable to convert any of their chances and suffered greatly in the second half due to their inability to finish. Instead, it was Portland who opened scoring in Orlando with a header from midfielder Lindsey Horan.
The goal began with a corner from versatile midfielder Tobin Heath who passed it short to Meghan Klingenberg who played it directly back to her feet. She then put in a powerful cross into the box that deflected off Ana Maria Crnogorcevic and onto the head of Horan, finding the back of the net. With this goal, Horan now leads the National Women’s Soccer League in goals scored this season.
The second goal of the match came just six minutes after the first, scored by Australian Hayley Raso. The forward sprinted down field with the ball in a 1v1 battle against Pride defender Alanna Kennedy, powering the shot past the outstretched hand of Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris and directly into the right corner of the net.
Harris commented on the second half breakdown saying, “I thought we had a really good 45 minutes and a really poor 45 minutes.”
“If you don’t produce and you don’t put chances away this is what happens…We didn’t capitalize and as we let the game wear on and wear on and wear on, the momentum shifts. We had one lack of concentration and it cost us the game. We just mentally crumbled”
Although the Pride are currently in the top four teams in the NWSL standings, their next three games will be crucial to their playoff journey.
Orlando Pride travel to play the North Carolina Courage on Saturday, August 18, at 7:00 p.m. ET.
How the Pride lined up
Orlando Pride XI: Ashlyn Harris (c); Ali Krieger,Alanna Kennedy, Toni Pressley; Kristen Edmonds, Emily van Egmond, Shelina Zadorsky, Dani Weatherholt, Chioma Ubogagu; Marta, Alex Morgan.
Orlando Pride Bench: Haley Kopmeyer, Monica, Camila, Danica Evans, Christine Nairn, Rachel Hill, Carson Pickett
(Photo by Adrian J Photography)