ORLANDO – The Orlando Pride (3-11-2, 11 points) lost to the Utah Royals FC (8-6-3, 27 points) on Saturday night 2-0 at Exploria Stadium. The FC (8-6-3, 27 points) in attendance witnessed a little bit of the good, the bad, and the ugly on their home pitch.
Orlando and Utah had a good battle going on in the first half. Utah took 8 strikes in the first, but Orlando managed to hold of the attacks from Christen Press and Amy Rodriguez. Ashlynn Harris was strong in goal for the Pride.
Press proved to be a problem for the Pride defense which would prove to be bad.. At points, she blew threw 3 pride defenders only to shoot an open shot wide of the goal, but she kept getting into the danger zone with little problem.
Later on in the match, that problem led to a goal, with Press hitting the back of the net off of a Lo’eau LaBonta pass in the 60th minute. Later in the 77′, Rodriguez scored as well, giving an insurance goal to hold the match.
The ugly came on yet another controversial call on the Pride. It came when no penalty was called in the 65th minute which drew the fire of Orlando Pride coach Marc Skinner.
Pride forward Claire Emslie collided with Utah goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart in the box. Referee Malik Badawi ruled Emslie was at fault and whistled her for the foul and giving Utah a goal kick.Coach skinner reviewed the play and it was clear to him that Bernhard was at fault and Orlando should have been given a penalty kick.
It Orlando’s last match against Houston, they were called on a foul in the box which The Dash were awarded a PK and proved to be the winning score. The penalty was later called off after the match, but the damage was done.
This week, Orlando does not get the call, and video evidence showed Skinner it should have been.
“I think I sit here for the second week in a row and I’ll suggest that a referring decision has changed the complexity of the game,” Skinner said. “Having seen the picture of the challenge, not only is it a penalty it’s also the last player so it’s effectively a red card which we got given last week.
Rodriguez goal came after the pride were forced to press forward to try to tie the match. Ali Krieger slipped in the box, leaving A-rod open to send one through.
Marta, out due to Red card against Houston, was missed, and due to recovery plan limitations, the Pride could only play Morgan for a few minutes.
The Pride are back on it this week in Chicago as they face the Stars on the road on Wednesday at 7:30pm