Written By: Brian Pohl
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(Photo Credit: Diego Bonilla/ The SkyBoat)

Orlando, FL- The Orlando Pride took on the Washington Spirit Tuesday, August 8th, as the Pride looked for a quick turn-around after their 1-1 draw against Chicago on Saturday. A rematch of the Pride’s first ever match inside Orlando City Stadium; the Pride looked to win their first game over the Spirit, who has an all-time record of 0-2-2 against Washington.

From the first touch, the Pride were looking to be aggressive, getting 10 shots off in the first half of play. However, only 2 of those shots were on target, as they were unable to capitalize on any of their opportunities in the first half. Forward Marta led the team with 6 first half shots (which put her within 1 shot of tying the clubs single game shots record) but was unable to connect as the Pride were unable to score in the first half.

Defensively, the Pride were able to keep the Spirit in check, holding them to only 4 shots, and 0 on target. The only real fault in the first half was a Yellow card on Maddy Evans in the 45th minute, which stopped a threat by the Spirit heading into the half tied 0-0 of an otherwise clean half for the Pride.

The second half was completely dominated by the Pride. The 0-0 tie was broken after Marta was able to break through the defense on an assist by Alex Morgan. Marta was able to keep enough control to tap the ball in just before going out of bounds in the 51st minute. From here on out the game was all Pride, as the Orlando squad was able to secure 2 more goals in the half. The next goal came in the 57th minute, as Camila Pereira scored on a long goal after Spirit’s goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe was caught out of position after a header. The final goal came in the 65th minute, a long pass from Steph Catley opened up Alex Morgan for a strike into the top of the net, making the score 3-0. The goal marked Alex Morgan’s third straight home game with a goal, which will be needed by the Pride to continue into a playoff push. Marta was able to gain sole possession of the club’s single game shot record with her 8th shot in the 68th minute.

Defensively the Pride completely shut down the Spirit, holding them to 8 total shots for the whole match, with none of the shots on target. This made for a pretty uneventful day for goal keeper Aubrey Bledsoe, who watched as her defense stalled any potential threats that came from the Spirit. This was not a flawless game for the Pride though, as they committed two yellow cards, the second of which came in the 62nd minute by Chioma Ubogagu for not retreating after play had stalled. The Pride also committed 7 offside penalties, which was one short of the club record of most offsides in one match.

Overall, this was an extremely impressive performance by the Pride after a quick turn-around from their match on Saturday. The first-half was without a goal, but was fast paced, with tons of shots coming from the Orlando squad and an impressive defense to take the 0-0 tie into the half. The second half was total control by Orlando, scoring three goals in approximately 12 minutes of game time to take full control of the match on offense. The Pride also won the possession duel of the match, holding possession for 50.8% of the match.

This victory brings Orlando their first win over the Washington squad, bringing their overall record against the Spirit to 1-2-2. The Pride, who entered the match in 6th place in the standings, brought their overall record for the season to 6-6-5, earning themselves 3 points. These 3 points put the Pride in a tie for 5th place in the standings, and set up what is almost a must-win matchup against who they share the 5th place spot with, Sky Blue FC. This matchup will take place on Saturday, August 12, back in the Orlando City Stadium, where the Pride will be looking to continue to build upon the momentum they have created.

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