Written By: Rafael Morazzani

(Orlando, FL) The Orlando Pride dropped points again at home, after a 1-0 loss against the Chicago Red Stars. Chicago forward and captain, Christen Press, scored the winning goal from a penalty kick. Orlando forward Alex Morgan entered as a substitute for the Pride and played twenty-five minutes.

Although Orlando dominated most of the match, Chicago’s defensive approach to the match resulted in a victory for the visiting side at Orlando City Stadium.

The goal that gave the Red Stars the three points came from the penalty kick. At the 67th minute, the referee called the penalty after Orlando defender Toni Pressley tackled Chicago defender Casey Short. One minute later, Press scored the penalty on the right-hand side of Orlando goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe. As the visiting team celebrated their goal, the stadium was completely silent.

The Pride had the chances throughout the game to score. At the 30th minute, Orlando forward Marta took a shot towards the right of Chicago goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, on her left-hand side. However, Marta’s shot was not powerful enough and was easily blocked by Naeher.

At the 67th minute, Pride forward, Jasmyne Spencer, shot the woodwork out of the ball with a shot that every fan expected to celebrate as a goal but it unfortunately, they did not. In the 73rd minute, midfielder Orlando outside back Camila attempted to score from outside of the box, but the ball went slightly out, off the right-hand post.

Another great chance of a score for Orlando came from Marta when in the 75th minute, she sent a cross that Orlando midfielder Alanna Kennedy fought for in the air against Naeher. Kennedy won the battle with a header inside the small box, but the ball went over the post.

The most dramatic and best chance for Orlando came in the 90th minute. It was the last play of the game and the Pride had a corner kick. Bledsoe left the goal and went into the box to help score. Marta sent the ball into the box and the most unexpected player received it, Bledsoe. The ball hit her face but it was still heading into the net. Unfortunately, the ball was deflected with a header from a Chicago defender.

However, that was not it. After the ball traveled through the air, Orlando captain Ali Krieger shot a wonderful volley that, once again unfortunately struck the post. Everyone at the stadium could not believe how unlucky the Pride had been. Then, the referee ended the game shortly after.

The Orlando Pride had a total of twenty shots (four on target), while Red Stars had six in total (two on target). The Pride also dominated ball possession with 62%, while Chicago Red Stars had 34%. Moreover, the Pride had 9 corners and 23 open play crosses, whereas Chicago had one corner and one open play cross.

These numbers illustrate what the match broke down to. A home team with lots of chances and encouraged to play the game on the opposite side of the field. While, the visiting side basically “parked the bus” the entire game and encountered a goal thanks to a foul committed in a counter-attack.

“It is very difficult to play against a discipline team as Chicago is. So, when the teams come here and park the bus it is difficult for us to score. These is something we need to work on and do better.” said Orlando Pride head coach Tom Sermanni at the postgame press conference.

Furthermore, Morgan made her 2017 debut with the Orlando Pride after coming back from a loan spell with French club, Olympique Lyonnais.

Orlando Pride line-up: [G] Aubrey Bledsoe; [D] Kristen Edmonds, Ali Krieger (C), Toni Pressley, Stephanie Catley; [M] Maddy Evans, Monica, Alanna Kennedy; [F] Rachel Hill, Marta, Jasmyne Spencer.

Red Stars line-up: [G] Alyssa Naeher; [D] Sarah Gorden, Katie Naughton, Samantha Johnson, Alyssa Mautz; [M] Sofía Huerta, Julie Ertz, Danielle Colaprico; Vanessa Di Bernardo; [F] Christen Press (C), Taylor Comeau.

The Orlando Pride will travel to face the Washington Spirit at the Maryland SoccerPlex on July 8th, 2017. The Chicago Red Stars will play against the Boston Breakers at the Jordan Field on July 7th, 2017.

FACT: The match had a total attendance of 5,476.

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