Orlando Pride play to road draw at Washington Spirit, extend unbeaten run to five games


Courtesy of Washington Spirit

For the second time already this season, the Orlando Pride took on the Washington Spirit. Unlike the season opener, this match was played at Audi Field in D.C.

And much like the season opener, the scoring didn’t start until the second half, the Sprit struck first and the Pride equalized as both sides played to a 1-1 draw Sunday afternoon.

Taylor Kornieck‘s strike in the 67th minute was enough to pull out with an equalizer on the road as the Pride continued their undefeated start to the season, heading into a week long break.

“Really hard earned draw in a tough place,” said head coach Marc Skinner following the game. “ Of course you can’t see, we’re used to heat but with the intensity of the heat on the players to be able to come through that…we got to a point in the game where even when we conceded, we felt that we were comfortable and that we could get back into the game and obviously contest it from there. So, what that’s shown is the players mentality, their togetherness, their spirit, and it’s resonating through the group. It was a really good mental point for us today, and again on the road, when you come to these places if you can pick up points that’s what we’re here to do.”

Through the first minutes of the match, both teams had a feeling out period, creating some half chances from turnovers. It wasn’t until 20 minutes in that Washington began to start putting pressure on Orlando.

After conceding a free kick, Emily Sonnett managed to get a flicked on header towards goal, forcing Ashlyn Harris into a diving save, palming the ball away from goal.

The Spirit created a few more chances through the first half, but did not get anything concrete to force Harris into another save. Orlando on the other hand, finished the first half with only one shot on goal, with most of the Pride players back defending.

Orlando came out of the locker room with a different look and play style, which led to more numbers offensively, but left the Pride a bit more gapped defensively.

Eventually the Spirit would find their opener in the 64th minute. Just a few seconds after making a substitution, the Pride lost track of Ashley Hatch in the box, who found herself unmarked in front of goal. A perfect service from Kelly O’Hara led Hatch right into goal, as she only needed to direct the ball on frame and past a charging Harris to give the home side the lead.

It would not take long for the Pride to respond. Just three minutes after going down, the Pride, through Marta and Taylor Kornieck, found the equalizer. After the Spirit’s Aubrey Bledsoe tried to start a quick counter, Marta stepped in to intercept the throw. Kornieck chested it down, took two touches forward around the defender and slotted it past Bledsoe on the far post, returning the scoreline to level at 1-1.

The rest of the match became game-and-energy management for the Pride as they looked to see the result out at home. An 82nd-minute save from Harris, diving to her left, helped preserve the result as after 8 minutes of stoppage time, the final whistle blew.

The Pride (3-0-2, 11 points) were outshot in the match 21-9, though only six of those shots from the Spirit were on target.

“I think it’s been a theme of most games,” Skinner said of the defense. “With our defensive structure and with the way that the team are playing, across the back line we’re quite dynamic. We have the ability to press the forwards we have the ability to run in behind. They’ve got super fast forwards, honest forwards and people that will grow into this league. So with what we’re asking our defenders to do is to be more composed and more focused, and they’re just going to get these games together, it’s consistency in defending.”

Up next…

The Pride will have a week off before returning home to host Gotham FC. The match is slated to kick off at 6 p.m. and will stream live on Paramount+.

Scoring Summary

64′ – Ashley Hatch, assisted by Kelly O’Hara (WSH)

67′ – Taylor Kornieck, assisted by Marta (ORL)

How the Pride lined up

Orlando Pride XI: Ashlyn Harris (c); Courtney Petersen, Phoebe McClernon, Ali Krieger, Ali Riley; Gunny Jónsdóttir, Marisa Viggiano, Meggie Dougherty-Howard (Erika Tymrak, 63′); Marta, Taylor Kornieck (Chelsee Washington, 88′), Alex Morgan.

Substitutes: Brittany Wilson, Ally Haran, Crystal Thomas, Abi Kim, Konya Plummer, Toni Pressley.

For more soccer news, follow the Soccer Journal on Twitter: @osjsoccer


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