Ahead of their second game in the NWSL Fall Series, the Orlando Pride finally have something to build off of.
Following their first game of 2020, almost a year after the team played last, Orlando will look to keep momentum as they travel to take on the Houston Dash on Saturday at BBVA Stadium.
Kickoff for the match is slated for 8:30 p.m. ET and will stream live on Twitch.
“After their (Houston’s) success in the challenge cup, they have come back, and you could see they were full of vigor, full of life ,against North Carolina, and it’s a very very close game,” head coach Marc Skinner said on Wednesday. “You could see how confident they were on the ball and all the things that, that brings from success, and growing together. So it’ll be a different challenge, they’ll offer a different system, they’ll offer a different opportunity to play against that, which gives an opportunity for some of our players to expose that and to be exposed to that as well.”
The 0-0 result for the Pride against the North Carolina Courage showed glimpses into what the 2019 Pride team was building towards, but were unable to achieve.
Now all that is missing is the final product: goals.
Despite holding a clean sheet, the Pride lacked quality chances offensively against the Courage, with the closest chance coming from Carrie Lawerence’s shot off the crossbar.
Skinner mentioned how he wants his team to start imposing themselves on their opponents offensively, which they will look to do with adjustments to the attack and an injection of energy off the bench.
The importance of the short term contract players
Heading into this tournament, the seven players signed to the Pride were not necessarily expected to be game-changers right out of the gate.
Players like Carrie Lawrence and Jordyn Listro, both STC players that started the match for Orlando, would say otherwise.
Lawrence had the best chance offensively for the Pride, as well as a goal-line clearance in the match, while Listro helped solidify the midfield, creating good passages of play.
Denisha Blackwood and Kate Howarth also came into the match as substitutes, with both giving energy into the midfield and the attack.
Skinner mentioned the challenge of picking players that do not necessarily have the confidence or experience to start or come off the bench in late game situations. It all comes down to what he and his staff see on the training pitch every day.
“The one thing you know, when we see them every day, is that are they ready confidence wise? Are they ready to go in and start or are they ready to just be part of the game based on where they currently are?” Skinner said. “A lot of these players have never had any kind of exposure to the league and I think if they play, it’s handing a lot of NWSL debutants and debuts out, so we’re going to continue to monitor it and and try and pick the most effective team to expose ourselves to seeing them, but also get positive results, because that’s what we’re about. That’s what we have to be about is getting those positive results too.”
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