The Orlando Pride got off to a quick start in their first public preseason game, scoring just 40 seconds in against the KC Current and winning 2-0 at Exploria Stadium.
Julie Doyle scored the first goal after rookie Messiah Bright got in behind the defense and centered off the ball for the forward to finish.
“Obviously pleased with the result,” Head Coach Seb Hines said after the match, “Anytime you score two goals and keep a clean sheet, you’re going to be happy. I think the biggest thing for me was making sure everyone played a part. So that’s why we wanted to make sure that we played every single player. Everyone got minutes on the field in front of the fans. We’re building something here and it’s great to get the results at the end of it as well, so really pleased with how the night went.”
Almost every available player got minutes, including six non-roster invitees. Former Gotham FC midfielder Nicole Baxter started for the Pride, while former Pride players Konya Plummer and Thais Reiss came off the bench later in the game. Clemson alum Maliah Morris, former Chicago Red Stars midfielder Channing Foster, and local goalkeeper McKinley Crone, who last played at Alabama, all came in later in the second half.
In that second half, the Pride added a second goal thanks to Ally Watt, who scored just two minutes after coming into the game. Pride draftee Summer Yates got on the ball and slotted it into the path of Watt to finish, doubling Orlando’s advantage.
“I think something I’ve just like learned, and I was talking about with Julie yesterday, is to learn as a forward that you need to take the opportunities that come to you,” Watt said, “So I think I really try to focus, just to pass the ball in the back net and Summer (Yates) did an amazing job playing the ball in the transition. So just making sure I control my first touch and my first few touches in the game were solid and clean, and that was really just able to help me carry on throughout the game.”
The Pride will continue their preseason preparations for the regular season to start on March 26 as they host another preseason scrimmage on Tuesday, February 28, against UCF. The match will be held behind closed doors.
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