The Orlando Pride (3-10-2, 11 points) return to action after 3 weeks off of the pitch and lost to the Houston Dash (6-7-4, 22 points) 1-0 in front of a crowd of 5,602 fans.
The match, which happened to be goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris’ 100th MLS match, was a dramatic one in the end. Not one but two red cards were issued and the Pride wound up finishing the match with 9 players.
Orlando Pride newcomer Julie King was shown a red card in the 61st minute on a foul, and Marta, who was booked with a Yellow card in the 74th minute for arguing with the refee, was red carded in the 85th minute after a small fight broke out in the Houston box and it appeared the Brazilian superstar was involved and was booted for violent conduct.
Later in the 86th minute, the Dash were awarded an penalty kick after Kealia Ohai was fouled in the box. Rachel Daly stepped up to the spot, sending Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris the wrong way and finishing to the left side.
According to Ally Krieger, the team was frustrated by poor refereeing.
Ally did not hold back her criticism of the quality of the league’s officiating.
“We’re putting a good product out on the field, and every year we’re getting better, and the referees seem like they’re not,” Krieger said. “So, I beg the NWSL, the standard needs to be higher. It’s just unfortunate that you feel like the referee ruining the game. They’re taking the fun out of the game because they’re not good enough.”
“I don’t think we were quick enough first half.” said Pride coach Marc Skinner “I thought we could’ve cut them open, we could’ve hurt them. We didn’t do that and then second half, obviously it’s a bit of a joke.”
Saturday night was also the debut of defender Julie King, a recent addition to the team who fit right in on the back end after very little practice time. The Pride signed King via Discovery earlier this week on August 8. King last played in an NWSL match on September 10, 2017 for the Boston Breakers and recently recovered from ankle surgery.
“I thought she stepped in really seamlessly and that’s a huge credit to her.” Said Pride Defender Joanna Boyles “I think she’s practiced with us for a week or so, not even, so for her to be able to jump in and do what I thought a really great job, that’s a huge credit to her.”
The Pride struggled to get into since in the final third where it counts. They were able to fight off the Houston charges, but they only had 3 shots on target the whole match, and being two players down in the second half, they really only played about half a game
Ally was well said on what’s next for the Pride.
“We just have to honestly move forward, starting tomorrow. We can think about this game and review it and then honestly this week we need to start preparing for Utah because we have to start getting points. There’s points that we need to take, they’re not going to be given, and we can’t lose anymore. We have to just refocus and play with the players that we have, focus on the players that we do have and quickly get organized and prepare for Saturday.”
Orlando Pride close out a three-game homestand when it hosts Utah Royals FC on Saturday, August 17 at Exploria Stadium, with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. ET.