The Orlando Pride made a long awaited return to Comping World Stadium last night after a 26 day league wide Olympic break and 41 days away from home cooking. The team had to can the league leader, the Washington Spirit, and they came up short 2-1.
With Sarah hagen, Ashlyn Harris and team captain Alex Morgan back in house, fans looked forward to seeing their home team in action. The team put up a good fight, but Washington’s time together as a solid unit was evident in midfield play, as Orlando is still feeling each other out.
“We knew we were coming up against a team that was at the top of the league and in really good form. They have had a really consistent lineup for some time, so we knew it was going to be a very difficult game tonight,” said Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni. “I think we played with a lot of passion and a lot of commitment in the last 30 minutes and really got ourselves back in the game. Overall, I was pleased with the effort of the team. They leave everything on the field. I was happy with the effort, but disappointed with the result.”
Sarah Hagen scored her second goal of the season, beating Washington goalkeeper Kelsey Wys after coming into the match just eight minutes prior. Cami Levin sent a low cross into the box, bouncing under the foot of the Washington defender to Hagen, who put in a Pride goal that the crowd had been awaiting.
“It was really good to play in front of our fans again. For myself it’s been almost two months since I’ve played at Camping World Stadium.” said team Captain Alex Morgan. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t our best game. We had a lot of holes in the midfield and defensively. I thought they were able to possess pretty easily around us.”
““I think the effort was there. I think that playing against the No. 1 team made me realize that they aren’t much better than us.” Said Morgan. “We had moments where we played well, but you could tell that [Washington’s] midfield has played together for the entire season. No one has left to go play in the Olympics and they worked together well. We have been unlucky against them.”
With four matches remaining in their inaugural campaign, the Pride travel to face the Houston Dash for the fourth and final time this year on Saturday, Sept. 3. Orlando returns to Camping World Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 10, for the second half of a home-and-home series with Sky Blue FC.