The Pride were close securing their first victory in NWSL play since 2019 with a late goal from Abi Kim, but an equalizer in the closing minutes from expansion side Racing Louisville prevented that from happening.
A goal in the third minute of stoppage time from Brooke Hendrix was enough for Louisville to seal a 2-2 draw against the Orlando Pride on Saturday night at Lynn Family Stadium in their opening game of the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup.
“We’ll take a result, we always knew we were going to fight against the crowd as well as the team that we’re going to play against so we were bitter as can be expected,” Orlando head coach Marc Skinner told reporters after the game. “Showed real quality moments but it will just increase and get better as we go throughout the games. It’s really because it’s so early. It’s in terms of games that you can play against NWSL teams. It almost feels like probably for everybody find out your best teams from the Challenge Cup experience so first I’m really pleased with how the players came from behind showed the resilience that we’re trying to work on them for, you know we’re disappointed to give a goal at the end but, take nothing away from Louisville and the event tonight, it was a it was a good experience for everyone.”
Louisville opened the scoring in the 12th minute after Emily Fox produced a threading pass to Cece Kizer, who was able to beat the last the defender before slotting the ball past goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris.
The NWSL expansion side continued to dominate chunks of the first half, but the Pride managed to find the equalizing goal before halftime when Meggie Dougherty Howard whipped the ball into the area, finding Taylor Kornieck who headed the ball past the goalkeeper in the 44th minute.
The second half was mostly back-and-forth from both teams, carrying on into the final minutes of regulation when Dougherty Howard, in transition, was able to pick out Abi Kim to rocket the ball past Michelle Betos in the 88th minute.
But Racing Louisville didn’t let up, finding the game-tying equalizer in stoppage time after Orlando failed to properly clear a set-piece, paving the way for Brooke Hendrix to take advantage of the dead ball inside the area.
The Pride were without Alex Morgan (USA), Gunny Jonsdottir (Iceland), and Erin McLeod (Canada) because of international duty with their respective national teams.
Orlando continues its Challenge Cup run on Wednesday, taking on NJ/NY Gotham FC at Exploria Stadium at 7 p.m.
12′ – Cece Kizer, assisted by Emily Fox (LOU)
44′ – Taylor Kornieck, assisted by Meggie Dougherty Howard (ORL)
88′ – Abi Kim, assisted by Meggie Dougherty Howard (ORL)
90+3′ – Brooke Hendrix (LOU)
Here’s how the Pride lined up
Orlando Pride XI: Ashlyn Harris; Phoebe McClernon, Konya Plummer, Ali Krieger, Ali Riley; Taylor Kornieck (Abi Kim 79′), Meggie Dougherty Howard, Jade Moore (Erika Tymrak 65′), Sydney Leroux, Marta (Toni Pressley, 90+2′), Marisa Viggiano.
Substitutes: Brittany Wilson, Chelsee Washington, Courtney Petersen, Carrie Lawrence, Ally Haran.
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