Match Preview: Orlando Pride Face Another Test Sunday Against Seattle Reign FC
Pride sign Rachel Hill, add Caroline Stanley as goalkeeper replacement
A week after taking down the NWSL‘s top team in the standings, Orlando Pride (1-2-2, 5 points) will face another test when it travels to face Seattle Reign FC – the league’s top offensive side – on Sunday.
Sunday’s match will be streamed live on go90.com and the go90 app as well as at NWSLsoccer.com. The match will kickoff at 9:30 p.m. ET from Memorial Stadium with Tyler Terens and Shay Nonen on the call.
“It’s a different kind of game this week, [North Carolina were] a physical, strong, quick team with some good players,” Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “Seattle are very much a good soccer playing team who play with a great skill, touch and ability, but not quite as physical. So, it will give us a different challenge in how we approach it and on our levels of concentration.”
Last week, the Pride snapped North Carolina’s seven-game winning streak that dated back to the 2016 season when they were the Western New York Flash. Now the Pride will look to end another opponent’s streak as the Reign have remained undefeated at Memorial Stadium over its last nine games.
Orlando secured a big victory, its first of the season, and handed the Courage their first loss of the season with a 3-1 result from Orlando City Stadium on Mother’s Day. After a scoreless first half between the two sides, the scoreboard erupted over a three-minute span that saw a goal in each minute.
In the 49th minute, the Pride took a 1-0 lead after Chioma Ubogagu slammed in a cross from Ali Krieger then Camila quickly extended the home side’s lead to 2-0 with a goal in the 50th. The Courage responded with a goal from Debinha in the 51st minute, but Orlando’s Jasmyne Spencer sealed the game with her 82nd-minute score, slotting in a ball from Marta.
Entering the match, Seattle stands as the league’s leader in goal differential having scored 14 while conceding nine so far this year. The Reign are coming off their biggest win this season, coming one shy of tying the NWSL record for goals scored in a game with a 6-2 victory over the Washington Spirit last week. Seattle saw five different goalscorers, while Naho Kawasumi’s four assists earned her NWSL Player of the Week for Week 5.
The Pride will be without goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe as an option on Sunday after sustaining a concussion last week. In turn, the Pride have signed former Reign and Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Caroline Stanley as a goalkeeper replacement to back up starter Ashlyn Harris.
In addition, the Pride have signed rookie Rachel Hill to a contract ahead of Sunday’s match after acquiring her rights via trade with Portland Thorns FC in January. Hill was selected with the Thorns’ first pick (No. 14 overall) in the 2017 NWSL College Draft. A two-time MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist, Hill led UConn to three straight NCAA tournament appearances and two American Athletic Conference titles. Hill currently ranks second all-time in career goals, while her 140 points are fourth in Huskies’ history.
Stanley’s status as a goalkeeper replacement will see her take Bledsoe’s spot on the roster until she returns from injury, while Hill’s signing puts the Pride at a full, 20-player roster.
After Sunday’s match in Seattle, the Pride travel to Sky Blue FC next weekend for a 7 p.m. ET match on May 27. Orlando returns to Orlando City Stadium the following weekend, hosting the rebuilt Boston Breakers on June 3.
Tickets for all Orlando Pride home matches can be purchased at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.
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