Match report: Orlando Pride and Seattle Reign FC battled to a hard-fought draw on Thursday night
Orlando Pride (10-6-6, 36 points) and Seattle Reign FC (8-7-7, 31 points) battled to a hard-fought draw on Thursday night, saving the goal scoring for late heroics during second-half stoppage time.
Alex Morgan broke the deadlock in the second minute of extra time, pushing the Pride ahead in their hunt for the playoffs, but the lead didn’t last long as Seattle’s Jessica Fishlock equalized two minutes later for the 1-1 final.
Orlando will now see over two weeks before its next match, as the NWSL heads into a FIFA break following the conclusion of the rest of the Week 20 matches. Orlando will play its final home match of the regular season on Saturday, Sept. 23, against Portland Thorns FC.
Though the Pride were unable to earn all three points to clinch a playoff spot, the draw extended the Pride’s unbeaten streak to seven straight matches and keeps Orlando in playoff position.
“It’s difficult at this moment in time because of the frustrations of the emotions. We worked really hard tonight against Seattle. It was a different kind of game tonight than some of the other games we’ve had here. Very open game at times and some good football being played,” Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “I thought we had more than enough chances in the second half to win the game and then I thought we had won the game. This sport comes back and gives you lessons sometimes, but I thought we did enough to win the game and it’s eating at me at the moment that we switched off straight from the kickoff and gave a goal away in the last minute. Apart from that, delighted with our players’ efforts. [We] still kept the unbeaten run going and we’re getting to the top four.”
The midweek match, which was moved up from Saturday due to the impending landfall of Hurricane Irma, had the feel of a postseason battle, with the Pride entering the match five points ahead of the Reign and in the final playoff spot.
After close chances for both teams through 90 minutes, Morgan slotted in her ninth goal of the season after a 92nd minute counterattack. Dani Weatherholt collected an attempted Reign FC clearance near the midfield line and found Morgan open to her left. The forward took her defender one-on-one down the left side and caught Seattle goalkeeper Lydia Williams leaning, firing in a hard, driven shot to the far post. It was Weatherholt’s first career assist.
But the lead didn’t last long, as Fishlock capitalized on a lofted service from second-half substitute Nahomi Kawasumi with a header goal in the 94th minute.
The Pride had chances throughout the match, totaling 20 shots to Seattle’s 10. Rookie Rachel Hill, fresh off two goals in the team’s last match, had a chance to put Orlando ahead just after the halftime break, but her open header from Camila’s service blasted off of the crossbar.
Camila attempted to get ahead with a shot of her own two minutes later, but Williams was able to make a diving save to punch away the Brazilian’s curling, right-footed attempt. Camila also had a long-range blast in the 60th minute that screamed just wide of the net.
Tickets to the Pride’s final regular season home game against Thorns FC, who are one of two teams to have already secured a spot in the NWSL’s four-team playoff, can be purchased at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Orlando Pride vs. Seattle Reign FC
Date: Sept. 7, 2017
Venue: Orlando City Stadium
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
ORL – Alex Morgan (Dani Weatherholt) 90 +2′
SEA – Jessica Fishlock (Nahomi Kawasumi) 90 +4′
Orlando Pride: Ashlyn Harris ©; Camila, Monica, Ali Krieger, Steph Catley; Dani Weatherholt, Alanna Kennedy; Rachel Hill (Jasmyne Spencer 75′), Marta, Chioma Ubogagu (Toni Pressley 84′); Alex Morgan
Substitutes Not Used: Aubrey Bledsoe; Nickolette Driesse, Jo Blankenship; Danica Evans, Jamia Fields
Seattle Reign FC: Lydia Williams; Rebekah Stott, Rachel Corsie, Lauren Barnes, Carson Pickett; Christine Nairn (Maddie Bauer 73′), Rumi Utsugi, Jessica Fishlock; Beverly Yanez (Naho Kawasumi 61′), Merritt Mathias (Katie Johnson 80′), Megan Rapinoe
Substitutes Not Used: Haley Kopmeyer, Elli Reed; Kristen McNabb; Kiersten Dallstream
Stats Summary: ORL / SEA
Possession: 51.4% / 48.6%
Shots: 20 / 10
Shots on Goal: 5 / 3
Saves: 2 / 4
Corner Kicks: 13 / 8
Fouls: 12 / 8
Offside: 1 / 10
SEA – Carson Pickett (Yellow Card) 37′
SEA – Merritt Mathias (Yellow Card) 57′
SEA – Lauren Barnes (Yellow Card) 90 +1′
Referee: Daniel Gutierrez
Assistant Referee 1: Sammie Gillispie
Assistant Referee 2: Erika Barahona
Fourth Official: Janessa Gunn