Written by Manuel DeLeon
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(Photo Credit: SaJorden Miller / The SkyBoat)
Orlando, FL- Entering into Friday’s match riding a three-game losing streak, the Orlando Pride (6-9) looked to right the ship against the top-ranked Washington Spirit (10-3-2). Despite a strong push in the second half, the Pride suffered their fourth loss in a row falling 2-1. The expansion team with dreams of making the playoffs saw those hopes all but come to an end with the loss. Sarah Hagen scored the lone goal for Orlando in the loss bringing her season total to two.

“I feel like we had a lot of holes in the mid-field, and defensively I felt they were able to possess pretty easily around us. When we did win possession we gave it up too easily. We were easily broken down, I felt that was our weakness tonight.” Said Pride forward Alex Morgan after the match.

The Spirit squad came out aggressively attacking the goal, and that pressure continued throughout the game as they outshot the Pride 5-3. Though she played a solid defensive game, defender Toni Pressley and the Pride were no match for the aggressive style of play by Washington forward Cheyna Williams early on. Williams put the Spirit ahead with a goal in the 37th minute. Washington’s ball movement and the stifling defense allowed the Spirit to take a 1-nil lead going into the half.

When asked about playing against the number one team Morgan responded by saying “Playing against the number one team, I don’t think that they are much better than us. I feel like we had moments that we played really well.”

Those moments came in the second half, as Orlando came out looking to take control of the game. Looking to get on the board early in the second half, Orlando’s Kristen Edmonds took a shot in the 52nd minute that sailed just above the net. To get more shots on goal, Orlando attacked Washington’s defense, allowing Jasmyne Spencer to use her speed to put Washington’s defenders on their heels.

Then in the 64th-minute head coach Tom Sermanni for the Pride elected for two subs that changed the dynamic and tempo of the match. He replaced Becky Edwards with Sarah Hagen at Forward and added Monica in replacement of Dani Weatherholt The move ended paying off. Assisted by Cami Levin and great ball movement, Sarah Hagen was able to put Orlando on the board in the 71st minute, but it was a little too late.

Despite an impressive second half, Orlando could not overcome the 2-0 deficit, dropping their season record to (6-10). The Pride will look to end their current losing streak, which now stands at four, next Saturday, Sept. 3rd when they travel to play the Houston Dash(3-8-3).

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