Match report: Orlando Pride Cruise Into Playoff Position with 5-0 Win Over Sky Blue FC
Ashlyn Harris earns shutout in return; Maddy Evans plays final pro match
The Orlando Pride (7-6-5, 26 points) offense was firing on all cylinders on Saturday night, as the Pride rolled to a 5-0 victory over Sky Blue FC (7-9-2, 23 points) at Orlando City Stadium.
With the five goals, the Pride set a team record for most goals in a match as well as the Club’s record for most goals scored at Orlando City Stadium.
With the win, the Pride jump above the playoff line, now sitting in fourth place in the league table with six games left to play.
The match marked the final game for midfielder Maddy Evans, who entered the match in the 62nd minute to the roars of 5,243 fans in purple.
“I was pleased with the performance tonight. I think it was a comprehensive win. I was really happy with how we played. We were really tight defensively, we kept possession better and more consistently than we had been. We can still do a little better, but I felt when we kept possession and broke their pressure, we looked really dangerous,” Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “I think we had much better cohesion attacking wise, with Alex [Morgan] and Marta and Camila and Jasmyne [Spencer]. If we can keep tight defensively, I think we can create chances in games and score goals. The good thing today is we got ourselves in front. That’s so important.”
After a weather delay of 1 hour and 15 minutes, Alex Morgan got the scoring started just four minutes into the match, netting the fastest goal in Orlando Pride history off a classy ball from Marta. After scoring off a pass from Morgan in Tuesday’s match, Marta returned the favor with a well-placed ball to Morgan in stride before the forward took a nifty touch around Christie Pearce for her fourth goal of the season.
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Morgan would earn a brace two minutes into the second half, after Jasmyne Spencer sent a pass through two defenders, springing Morgan for an uncontested shot on Sky Blue goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan.
Morgan’s two goals bookended midfielder Dani Weatherholt’s first professional goal, as the Santa Clara product made the match 2-0 in favor of the home team in the 43rd minute. Weatherholt was found alone in the box by Camila, who picked up her fifth assist of the season. Weatherholt’s goal was the 50th goal scored in Orlando Pride history.
Marta scored the game’s final two goals, picking up a her third brace of the season in a span of five minutes. In the 53rd minute, Marta capitalized on a misplay by Sheridan, waiting to head the ball in at the goal line after a bobble by the goalkeeper. The Brazilian celebrated by running to the sideline to celebrate with Evans, who later made her final appearance in purple.
Morgan and Marta teamed up once more to end the night, with Morgan picking out Marta on a long outlet pass, sending her on a breakaway. The forward made no mistake, putting in her 11th goal of the season, which moved her into a tie for second place in the NWSL’s Golden Boot race.
The Pride defense held Sky Blue, and explosive striker Sam Kerr, quiet all night en route to the team’s third shutout and second in as many matches. Harris finished with three saves in her first game since May 21, including big saves in both the 68th and 70th minute.
Saturday’s win closes out a three-match week for the Pride, picking up seven total points and going unbeaten over the homestand. Orlando drew Chicago 1-1 on Aug. 5 and defeated Washington 3-0 on Tuesday.
The Pride will hit the road for their next two matches, first traveling to face the Boston Breakers at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 19, before featuring on Lifetime on Aug. 26 at FC Kansas City.
Orlando returns home on Sept. 2, starting another three-match home swing against the Breakers at 7:30 p.m. ET. Tickets for the Pride’s three remaining home games can be purchased at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Orlando Pride vs. Sky Blue FC
Date: August 12, 2017
Venue: Orlando City Stadium
Kickoff: 8:45 p.m. ET
ORL – Alex Morgan (Marta) 4′
ORL – Dani Weatherholt (Camila) 43′
ORL – Alex Morgan (Jasmyne Spencer) 47′
ORL – Marta 53′
ORL – Marta (Alex Morgan) 58′
Orlando Pride: Ashlyn Harris ©; Kristen Edmonds, Monica, Ali Krieger, Steph Catley; Dani Weatherholt (Maddy Evans 62′), Marta, Alanna Kennedy; Jasmyne Spencer (Nickolette Driesse 69′), Camila (Danica Evans 76′); Alex Morgan
Substitutes Not Used: Aubrey Bledsoe; Toni Pressley; Jamia Fields, Chioma Ubogagu
Sky Blue FC: Kailen Sheridan; Erica Skroski, Mandy Freeman, Christie Pearce, Nikki Stanton; Raquel Rodriguez (Daphne Corboz 46′), Madison Tiernan, Sarah Killion (Maya Hayes 62′); Taylor Lytle, Sam Kerr, McKenzie Meehan
Substitutes Not Used: Caroline Casey; Kayla Mills, Domi Richardson; Tasha Kai
Stats Summary: ORL / NJ
Possession: 63.4% / 36.6%
Shots: 18 / 11
Shots on Goal: 12 / 3
Saves: 3 / 7
Corner Kicks: 7 / 7
Fouls: 2 / 5
Offside: 1 / 2
Referee: Elvis Osmanovic
Assistant Referee 1: Benjamin Wooten
Assistant Referee 2: Ian McKay
Fourth Official: Erika Barahona