Losing 1-0 at halftime, the Orlando Pride spent most of the second half pressing and pressing — relentlessly searching for an equalizer that would keep Orlando unbeaten in the regular season six-games in.
For much of the season thus far for the Pride, it seemed like it would be one of the team’s international stars that would step up and rise to the occasion to salvage a point.
Yet on Sunday, the script was slightly different.
A 90th-minute goal from left back Courtney Petersen was enough to push the Orlando Pride towards a 1-1 draw against Gotham FC in front of 4,454 in attendance at Exploria Stadium — extending the team’s unbeaten start to the season to six games.
Alex Morgan almost opened the scoring in the 37th minute after getting the ball inside the area from a turnover, before striking the ball over the crossbar.
Gotham would capitalize on that missed opportunity moments before half time when Caprice Dydasco crossed a ball in from the right side of the box, finding the left side netting past Ashlyn Harris to give the visitors the 1-0 lead before the halftime break.
Moments later, Taylor Kornieck almost equalized when her shot from close range was denied by Gotham keeper Kailen Sheridan.
In the 70th minute, Ashlyn Harris came through with a big save to deny Gotham a two-goal lead, blocking a shot from Lee So-Dam.
Late chances in the 87th and 89th from Erika Tymrak and Alex Morgan almost came to fruition.
Another late save from Harris to stop a shot from Allie Long in between those moments proved to be pivotal as well, but it was a Gotham turnover that saw Marta take possession of the ball in transition, finding Petersen open on the left to pounce up the field. The fullback sent a left-footed shot-cross towards the goal, finding the back of the net to equalize for Orlando at 1-1 heading into stoppage time.
Orlando could have made it 2-1 moments into stoppage time but Kornieck’s dribble into the box was quickly stopped by Gotham’s defense, preventing the attempt on goal.
Following the result, the Pride improves to 4-0-2 on the season to sit atop the NWSL standings at 14 points.
Play of the match: Marta’s magic
The Pride is back in action on Wednesday when they travel to take on Kansas City at 2 p.m. The match will stream live on Paramount+.
45′ – Caprice Dydasco, assisted by Ifeoma Onumonu (NJ/NY)
90′ – Courtney Petersen, assisted by Marta (ORL)
How the Pride lined up
Orlando Pride XI: Ashlyn Harris (c); Courtney Petersen, Phoebe McClernon, Ali Krieger, Ali Riley (Erika Tymrak, 85′); Gunny Jónsdóttir, Marisa Viggiano (Meggie Dougherty-Howard, 71′), Taylor Kornieck; Sydney Leroux (Chelsee Washington, 71′), Marta, Alex Morgan.
Substitutes: Erin McLeod, Ally Haran, Konya Plummer, Toni Pressley, Crystal Thomas, Abi Kim.
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