ORLANDO, FL – The Orlando Pride (2-2-1, 5 points) lost to the Chicago Stars (2-1-0, 6 points) by score of 4-2 on Sunday at Exploria Stadium.
The match was Orlando’s third in eight days.
The Stars started scoring early, with Sarah Griffith taking a deflection from her shot and heading it in past goal keeper Erin McLeod for the opening score in the 11th minute. Vanessa DiBernardo earned the assist with a nice cross from the line that set Griffith up.
Chicago scored once again in the 54th minute when Mallory Pugh got a ball behind the Pride’s back line and Blanca St Georges fired an angle shot into the net, making it a 2-0 lead.
Not to be out done, Pugh put one in herself off of a pass from Ava Cook. Pugh dribbled the ball to the top of the box, and kicked it in on the bottom right corner of the goal. 3-0 Chicago.
In the 83rd minute, Amy Turner gave Orlando some life with a score. Sydney Leroux was fouled just outside of the box. Courtney Petersen sent the free kick to the back post, where Turner was able to head the ball in for Orlando’s first score of the match. The goal was a NWSL for for Turner. Chicago 3 Orlando 1.
But Pugh wasn’t finished yet.
Because Chicago was given a penalty kick. Pugh took the shot. McLeod was able to block it, but it found Pugh’s foot and she sent it in for goal number 4 for the Stars and the hat trick for Pugh.
Abi Kim shoot two defenders on Chicago’s wing and got the ball to Leah Pruitt. Pruitt spun around and blasted the goal into the net, for Orlando’s second goal of the match.
Orlando head coach Amanda Cromwell was apologetic to the fans, and said that fatigue due to the tough schedule was no excuse.
“Obviously, we had tired legs.” Said Cromwell “We had three games this week and they did not. There is still no excuse for that. We rested players [at the midweek] so we would be ready for this game. We had multiple players get minutes on the Wednesday game. The lack of energy is inexcusable. I really want to apologize to our home crowd because they deserve better when they come out to see us. You saw some of that energy at the end when we get two goals and also had a penalty. Their penalty, I don’t know, I was too far away to see really what happened. Even with all that, it is a penalty or a non-penalty away from being three-three, which is crazy.”
The Pride once again hit the pitch this week. They go up against the Washington Spirit on Friday, May 27. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET at Exploria Stadium