The Orlando Pride dropped their first game under Pride interim coach Becky Burleigh Sunday afternoon, as a Marta wonder goal was cancelled out by strikes from Ashley Hatch and Ashley Sanchez, notching a comeback win for the Washington Spirit, 2-1 at Audi Field.
“That was a tough one to swallow,” said Burleigh after the game. “I felt like we kind of grew into the game and felt pretty good about where we were and then credit to them for coming back, and for scoring the two goals because I felt like that was a game that we were ready for us to take, so disappointed with the result, but at the same time, I think we’ll find some good things in there about the way that we played.”
The Spirit came close to opening the scoring when Trinity Rodman rifled a shot at goal, getting denied by Ashlyn Harris, with the rebound hitting off the crossbar in the 22nd minute.
Rodman again tested the Orlando backline, beating Ali Riley on a 50/50 challenge before this time striking the ball off the near post in the 26th minute.
As the match approached halftime, Sydney Leroux almost gave the Pride the opening goal before the halftime break, striking the ball from close, but getting denied by goalkeeper Audrey Bledsoe twice in the same sequence in the 42nd minute.
The game’s and Orlando’s opener eventually came when Jodie Taylor dished the ball over to Marta following a turnover. The Brazilian beat Andi Sullivan before sending a curling shot in from 25 yards out, beating Bledsoe and giving Orlando the 1-0 lead in the 68th minute.
The lead for the Pride would not last long as moments later, the Spirit equalized. A ball sent into the area from Kelley O’Hara was poorly cleared by substitue fullback Kylie Strom and Ashley Hatch was there to finish the play for the equalizing goal in the 70th minute.
With the game drawing to a close, Ashley Sanchez scored the go-ahead goal in the 89th minute. Following a turnover and transition the other way, Sanchez received the ball 25 yards out firing a strike past Ashlyn Harris to give the Spirit the 2-1 lead, one that would remain until the final whistle.
The Pride continues their road stretch, visiting NJ/NY Gotham FC next week at Red Bull Arena. Kickoff is slated for 5:30 p.m. and will stream live on Paramount+.
68′ – Marta, assisted by Jodie Taylor (ORL)
70′ – Ashley Hatch (WAS)
89′ – Ashley Sanchez, assisted by Trinity Rodman (WAS)
How the Pride lined up
Orlando Pride XI: Ashlyn Harris (c); Courtney Petersen (Kylie Strom, 65′), Amy Turner, Ali Krieger, Ali Riley (Phoebe McClernon, 65′); Meggie Dougherty Howard (Taylor Kornieck, 68′), Gunny Jónsdóttir, Marisa Viggiano (Erika Tymrak, 68′); Marta, Sydney Leroux, Jodie Taylor.
Substitutes: Erin McLeod; Ally Haran, Toni Pressley, Abi Kim, Crystal Thomas.
For more soccer news, follow the Soccer Journal on Twitter: @OSJSoccer