ORLAND, FL- Orlando Pride (5-9-6, 21 points) faced the North Carolina Courage (8-8-4, 28 points) at Exploria Stadium on Wednesday night, and lost in a 3-0 drubbing. The match happened on a rain soaked “Woof Wednesday” where, for the first time ever, the Pride allowed fans to bring their dogs to the game.
The loss is the fourth in a row for Orlando after losses to OL Reign, Portland, and Louisville.
Carolina won on a brace from Debihna with goals in the 2nd and 53rd minute as well as her assist in the 45th minute on a goal by Tess Blade going into half time. Carolina took advantage of Orlando mistakes to hit the net.
“[A game] defined by three moments really.” Said Orlando Interim Head Coach Set Hines “It’s always difficult when you go down a goal so early on, but I felt like we didn’t really get out of control, I didn’t think the game really got away from us and it was defined by a couple of moments that North Carolina took. We had chances, we had chances to attack and get something on frame and it could be a completely different result if we take those moments.”
A bright spot in the match was the first playing time of rookie Haley Bugeja, who not only made her Pride debut but became the fourth youngest player to ever appear in an NWSL match.
Early in the match, the Courage were rewarded for being on the spot when a ball headed towards Orlando’s back line took an unlucky deflection off the head of Megan Montefusco and directed right into the path of a running Debinha, who slotted the ball low into the left side of the net to open the scoring.
In first half stoppage time, Debinha was able to assist when she chipped in a pass to Tess Boade at the top of the Orlando box, who brought the pass down and shot a low ball to Erin McLeod’s left and in for North Carolina’s second goal.
Finally, in the 53rd minute, the Courage scored after a corner kick Wass cleared out b Celia, but the ball was picked up at the right corner of the box by Debinha, who fired in a high-arcing shot to the left-side netting of the net for her second of the night.
Orlando was officially eliminated from playoff contention on Wednesday night against Louisville, so the final matches give them a chance to play spoiler.
Wednesday’s match marked “Woof Wednesday” for the Pride, the first time the Club allowed fans to bring their dogs to the stadium for a match.