Having not played since July 20 against Sky Blue FC, the Orlando Pride came out looking for consecutive home victories for the first time this season. Instead, two red cards and a penalty told the story as the Pride fell 1-0 to the Houston Dash.
“I don’t think we were quick enough first half,” said Orlando coach Marc Skinner after Saturday’s game. “I thought we could have cut them open, could’ve hurt them, we didn’t do that and then second half is obviously a bit of a joke.”
Orlando (3-10-2, 11 points) outshot its opponents 8-5 in the first half but were not able to show anything on the scoresheet for their efforts. Orlando came close with Chioma Ubogagu in the 43rd minute, when Marisa Viggiano played her in on goal. Ubogagu took one dribble and fired wide with no one but the keeper to beat from about 14 yards out.
The game shifted in the 61st minute when recently signed defender Julie King was shown a straight red card for a denial of a goalscoring opportunity. This sent the Pride down a player for the rest of the match.
All things considered, the Pride still continued to create chances and hold possession, but the final straw came in the 83rd minute when Kristen Edmonds was called for a penalty on Kealia Ohai. As the referee Reyna Fonseca was deliberating with her assistant about the penalty, Marta and Rachel Daly got into it, ending with Marta pushing Daly to the ground. Fonseca came back to the scrum to show Marta a straight red card, ending her night and leaving the Pride with nine players to finish the match.
Daly would then step up to the spot and bury the ensuing penalty past Ashlyn Harris to effectively seal the game away.
Fullback Ali Krieger, who spoke after the game, shared her frustrations with some of the contentious calls from the match.
“Obviously the ref lost control of the game,” said Krieger. “I think they have to be better, all four of them. I don’t want to place blame on that and that’s why we lost, because we control ourselves, but she (Fonseca) can get better control.”
Up next for Orlando
The Pride take on the Utah Royals on Saturday, Aug. 17 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Exploria Stadium.
87′ – HOU: Rachel Daly (PK)
How the Pride lined up
Orlando Pride XI: Ashlyn Harris (c); Carson Pickett, Shelina Zadorsky, Julie King, Ali Kreiger; Alanna Kennedy, Joanna Boyles (Kristen Edmonds, 69′), Marisa Viggiano (Rachel Hill 69′) ; Chioma Ubogagu (Camila, 88′), Claire Emslie, Marta.
Orlando Pride Bench: Haley Kopmeyer, Erin Greening, Dani Weatherholt, Morgan Reid