Despite yet another penalty save from Ashlyn Harris and a late goal from Marisa Viggiano, the Orlando Pride dropped their fourth straight match on Sunday night, falling 2-1 to the Portland Thorns at Providence Park.
“The first half we weren’t near it, in terms of tackling we weren’t near it in terms of game plan,” Head Coach Marc Skinner said after the match, “It was a poor half for us the first half, took us too long to react, but when we got back into the second half and once we started to actually enact the game plan, we found lots of spaces that we needed to occupy in, and created some chances. Obviously the goal at the end, we started to have more momentum towards the end. It’s an intimidating place to come and it’s a place where the players knew exactly what they needed to do, we just were slightly off at moments and paid for that first half. Two really poor goals from our perspective so, and some of them that we’d like to obviously cut out. We just can’t give teams, especially in their backyard, as much time as we gave them in the first half.”
For the second consecutive game, the Pride’s first half performance was an underwhelming one. Orlando were pinned back and defended most of the half, only creating one or two chances with none on goal.
Portland, on the other hand, were able to capitalize on those few times Orlando ventured forward. After an Ali Krieger turnover on a long ball, Sofia Smith took the ball the length of the field, beating multiple Pride defenders and firing a frozen rope past Ashlyn Harris to make it 1-0 in the 26th minute.
It almost went from bad to worse in the 38th minute when new fullback Kylie Strom fouled Meghan Klingenberg in the box, resulting in a penalty for the Thorns. Raquel Rodríguez would step up to take, but a poor strike and good positioning by Harris earned another penalty save for the Pride goalkeeper. The save marked her second of the season, but her fourth on the year, having not allowed a penalty goal all of 2021, including the Challenge Cup.
As the second half started, it was much of the same for the Pride. Just 12 minutes into the half, coming off a set piece, the Orlando defense had a lapse of awareness and switched off for just a moment, allowing Klingenberg to cross a lofted ball into the box, finding Marissa Everett to head in the Thorns’ second of the match.
Much like their match against Racing Louisville, the second half showed renewed life and better play for the Pride from the 60th minute on. Key substitutions of Abi Kim, as well as Marisa Viggiano and Phoebe McClernon, helped settle the match for Orlando as they were able to create more chances down the wings.
As time ticked on, however, the Pride still stared down a two-goal deficit as the clock struck 90 minutes played. As the match went into stoppage time, Orlando were finally able to break through.
After Abi Kim got free down the right sideline, a cross in to the top of the box found Viggiano, who had the time and space to measure up her shot and fire it into the top corner, pulling a goal back for the away side. This goal also broke the six-match shutout streak held by the Thorns, with their last goal conceded also coming against the Pride.
With not enough time left, the Pride could not complete the comeback, falling 2-1 on the road.
Quote of the Match
Marisa Viggiano on her goal late in the match:
“The ball got played down the right flank. Abi Kim made a great run to get on the end of it. Syd made a great run near post and Abi crossed it. They drew a lot of attention. And I just yelled at her to leave it. I found myself at the top of the box, took a touch, shot it, and it went in.”
The Pride return home to take on OL Reign on Saturday, July 24 at 7 p.m. on Paramount+.
26′ – Sofia Smith (POR)
58′ – Marissa Everett, assisted by Meghan Klingenberg (POR)
90’+4 – Marisa Viggiano, assisted by Abi Kim (ORL)
How the Pride lined up
Orlando Pride XI: Ashlyn Harris (c); Courtney Petersen, Amy Turner, Ali Krieger, Kylie Strom(Chelsee Washington, 90′); Crystal Thomas (Marisa Viggiano, 63′), Gunny Jónsdóttir, Meggie Dougherty Howard (Phoebe McClernon, 69′), Erika Tymrak (Abi Kim, 45′); Sydney Leroux, Taylor Kornieck.
Substitutes: Brittany Wilson, Toni Pressley, Konya Plummer, Ally Haran.
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