Orlando Pride Head Coach Becky Burleigh said she wasn’t sure how she was going to select her traveling squad heading into Sunday’s match against the Chicago Red Stars.
The depth was there. Utilizing it correctly, though, was going to be key.
That utilization of the full compliment of available players proved beneficial as the Pride sealed a 2-0 win over the Red Stars at SeatGeek Stadium, ending a six-game winless skid as Burleigh earned her first NWSL victory with Orlando.
“I think this team is really motivated to win,” Burleigh told reporters after the game. “I can’t explain the the non-win streak before we got here, but I think that it’s not from lack of motivation, and I think our players are really bought into having high standards and to getting the Pride to where we feel like we need to be which is really competing for getting into the postseason, and seeing how far we can take that.”
The Red Stars began the match immediately pressing for the opener, and almost broke the deadlock three minutes when a turnover from Courtney Petersen saw Kealia Watt’s shot from close get denied by Amy Turner.
Orlando eventually found its rhythm and almost opened the scoring in the eighth minute, when a cross from Petersen connected with Jodie Taylor, who hit the one-time volley towards goal, but was easily saved by Cassie Miller.
Taylor would eventually opened the scoring her first goal for the Pride, after receiving a long ball from Ali Krieger to strike the ball past Miller to give Orlando the 1-0 lead in the 14th minute.
In the 29th minute, a shot from outside the area saw Ashlyn Harris deny Mallory Pugh with a full stretched save to keep the Pride’s one-goal advantage.
The rest of the first half saw Orlando’s defensive shape play a part as they shut down many of the Red Stars chances.
The Pride’s next good chance wouldn’t come until\ the 80th minute, when a switching ball from Marta found Sydney Leroux open on the left. Leroux then glided into the area before aiming a shot at the near post, but was blocked and cleared by Miller for a corner kick.
Orlando would double their lead to cap the victory when a solo run from Erika Tymrak, who entered the match as a substitute, connected with an open Leroux to slot the ball past Miller and ensure Orlando’s first victory since June 23.
Sunday’s match saw the return of Ali Riley (New Zealand) and Marta (Brazil), both who were with their respective national teams competing in the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics.
Quote of the Match
The Pride have showed a change in confidence since Burleigh’s arrival, and Erika Tymrak was quite vocal on how the team has been playing with more freedom and confidence:
“Obviously three points is always great, but I think what we’re more happy with is our performance and it’s a place to build. We’re able to keep the ball, we’re able to possess and we’re able to keep the ball with intent to go forward and create, so I think as long as we just keep building on this, we’re going to be good and we’re only going to get better.”
The Pride return to Exploria Stadium to take on the Portland Thorns on Saturday, August 14 at 7 p.m. The match will stream live on Paramount+ and tickets can be purchased here.
15′ – Jodie Taylor, assisted by Ali Krieger (ORL)
89′ – Sydney Leroux, assisted by Erika Tymrak (ORL)
How the Pride lined up
Orlando Pride XI: Ashlyn Harris (c); Courtney Petersen (Kylie Strom, 90+1′), Amy Turner, Ali Krieger, Ali Riley (Phoebe McClernon, 46′); Gunny Jónsdóttir, Marisa Viggiano, Meggie Dougherty Howard (Erika Tymrak, 63′) ; Marta (Chelsee Washington, 90+3′), Jodie Taylor (Taylor Kornieck, 63′), Sydney Leroux.
Substitutes: Brittany Wilson, Ally Haran, Toni Pressley, Crystal Thomas.
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