Orlando, FL- The girls in Purple put on a show in the second half to get their first 3 points of the season against the Houston Dash in their inaugural home opener Saturday evening! The 23,403 fans that came out to the Citrus Bowl helped to set a new NWSL attendance record.
Early on, Houston was hurt with the early loss of FIFA World Player of the Year, Carli Lloyd, who got substituted in the 13th minute due to an injury. During the first half of the game, Coach Sermanni, proposed a balanced game taking precautions against the Houston Dash strengths, but after Lloyd got substituted, Orlando took a more offensive approach. In the 19th minute, Ashlyn Harris made a magical save against Janine Becky as they went 1-on-1 after a breakdown in the Pride defense. This gave Houston control of the game for a few minutes in the first half.
The Pride made some great runs with, Spencer and Catley early on, they were the most dangerous players for Orlando in the first half. But in the end the first half end up scoreless with the unfortunate highlight of Carli Lloyd injury.
The second half started with a tactical change with Coach Sermanni introducing, attacking midfielder, Lianne Sanderson on, and taking Dani Weatherholt, holding midfielder, out of the game. This substitution would change the entire pace of the game, as Orlando showed a more aggressive approach in the second half that push forward and got the Pride a goal through the bad luck of Houston Dash midfielder, Andressa, who score an own goal early in the 47th minute.
After Orlando opened the scoring, they went forward and scored a second goal, with the quick thinking of Lianne Sanderson. This came off of a free kick that showed the lack of concentration of the Houston’s defensive line. Three minutes later the Captain of the team, Alex Morgan, finished burying Houston down with a clinical finish and the 3rd goal of the game for the purple girls in the 61st minute. About 15 minutes later, Andressa got her chance of redemption and got one back for the Houston Dash with a shot from outside of the box. Coach Sermanni reacted to Houston’s goal and put on Sarah Hagen, a forward, in the game for Kaylyn Kyle, a defensive midfielder. With this change Orlando Pride look to get their 4th goal, but it end up giving more space to the Houston Dash which end up making the goalkeeper, Ashlyn Harris, the heroine of the last 10 minutes with 4 crucial saves that ended up locking up the Pride’s victory in their home opener.
After the game, Coach Sermanni, seemed happy with the performance of the team and the fans. “It was not only about the number of people but also the color and support they showed today”. Said Sermanni. He then spoke about the offensive risk that they took in the last 10 minutes playing with 4 forwards “The concept was good but we did not hold the ball too much, but we want entertain fans and score goals”.
Alex Morgan spoke about the team’s ability to put on a show for the fans in the home opener, “We wanted put a show for them and we want to keep fans entertain so they can keep coming” Morgan also addressed Lloyd’s injury saying, “She was playing as a forward and she is a dangerous player, It was really unfortunate her injury but for our team it helped our midfield to hold the ball more and take control of the game.”
Orlando Pride climbs to the 2nd place of the table (3 points) only behind the Portland Thorns (4 points), waiting for tomorrow games to complete this weekend fixtures. The Orlando Pride will play their next game in Toyota Park, in Chicago against the Red Stars. And they come back to town, Sunday May the 8th to play against Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe’s Seattle Reign.
Final Score: Orlando Pride 3-1 Houston Dash
Orlando Pride Score: 47’ Andressa (Own Goal), 58’ Sanderson, 61’ Morgan
Houston Dash Score: 76’ Andressa
Orlando Pride Lineup: #1 Harris (GK), #9 Belanger, #21 Monica, #5 Alleway, #7 Catley, #6 Kyle (81’ #8 Hagen), #14 Edwards (70’ #18 Evans), #17 Weatherholt (45’ #10 Sanderson), #12 Edmonds, #23 Spencer, #13 Morgan (C).
Houston Dash Lineup: #18 Williams (GK), #2 Poliana, #24 Brush, #4 Moros, #15 Chapman, #12 Brooks, #10 lloyd (13’ #7 Ohai), #17 Andressa, #3 Daly, #11 Beckie (77’ #23 Privett), #6 Brian (65’ #9 Ubagagu)
Orlando Pride: #14 Edwards, #23 Spencer
Houston Dash: #24 Brush, #15 Chapman.