ORLANDO – The Orlando Pride beat the Washington Spirit 4-3 in front of an announced crowd of over 3,000 fans at Exploria Stadium.
It was a dark and stormy night… really, it was. Thunderstorms and torrential rain delayed the match for 50 minutes. The torrential rains did not stop until well after 9 pm.
The match finally got underway at 8:20 pm and Washington’s Cheyna Matthews got right to work by scoring in the 7th minute with a blast from the right side that was back heeled in by Bailey Feist putting the Spirit up 1-0.
Orlando Speedster Chioma Ubogagu took a blast past goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe off of a ball from Joanna Boyles to tie the match in the 21st minute.
Orlando kept the scoring going when Emily van Edmund got a pass through to Rachel Hill who then ripped a ball over the head of Bledsoe for another Pride goal in the 26th minute, taking the score to 2-1.
Cheyna Matthwes wouldn’t let it stay at that. The forward took a ball from teammate Tori Hunter from the Washington defensive half and took it deep to the Orlando defense, shooting it past Orlando goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer to level the match before the half.
In the second half, Marta took a big step forward for the Pride by scoring 2 goals (48′ and 78′) giving the Pride a commanding 4-2 lead.
But Washington was not done. Jordan DiBiasi took a ball headed her by off of a poorly cleared out ball and put it in the net to make this a nail biter in stoppage time. Orlando Held on to take the win, but coach Marc Skinner was not pleased.
“I’m going to be consistent with the message that I always say when we haven’t got the result…You can’t keep conceding three goals and scoring four at home. I know American sport love the drama and it’s all well and good but, we can’t concede three goals at home and win every game. I thought we were very, very dangerous today in possession. I thought out of possession we were quite controlled and just had moments of madness. I’m pleased with all of the girls’ attitude and I’m pleased that they got the win for them, because they commit everything to what we are trying to do. I’m really, really pleased and proud of them, but we’ve still got loads and loads of work to do.”
Saturday’s win was Orlando’s first home win this season, and the two goals by Marta were the first two goals in the same half for the Pride this season.
The Pride head out on the road to face the Portland Thorns on Sunday, July 14 at the newly renovated Providence Park, with kickoff scheduled for 3 p.m. ET. The match will be the first game of the season aired on ESPNEWS as part of the NWSL’s newly announced broadcast deal.