Orlando Pride Cap Historic Night with 3 Points

The Orlando Pride (1-1-0, 3 points) and their fans took what was an already historic night, and made it that much more memorable for everyone involved when 23,403 fans cheered the Pride to a 3-1 victory over the Houston Dash (1-1-0, 3 points). The match was the first for the Pride at the Citrus Bowl and it could not have gone any better for them. The crowd set a National Womens Soccer League record for attendance, beating the previous record by over 2,200 fans.

In the first half both teams were very conservative and neither team could really create any chances, this was in large part due to Houston Dash #10 and the current FIFA World Player of the Year, Carli Lloyd, getting taken off early in the match with what appeared to be a serious, non-contact, knee injury. The highlight of the first half was when Houston forward Janine Beckie was released on breakaway and put a quality shot on target, only to be swatted away by Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris.

The Pride came out of the halftime talk with an attacking mentality, thanks in large part to the introduction of substitute Lianne Sanderson and within 30 seconds of the restart they had their reward. Jasmyne Spencer, who was an absolute beast down the wing all night, got the ball at the end of a slicing diagonal run to smash a volley that was blocked by a defender, but when the rebound trickled back to Spencer, she back heeled the ball to Alex Morgan, whose shot from the corner of the six yard box took a mean deflection off of Houston’s Andressa and trickled into the net, behind the already diving body of the Dash’s goalkeeper.

The Pride’s second goal was one that even the most seasoned soccer fans don’t see very often. In the 57th minute, the ref gave Orlando a free kick from about 28 yard from goal. While Lydia Williams, the Dash keeper, was setting up her wall on the near post, the referee whistled play to continue and Sanderson took advantage of the distracted William’s placing a controlled free kick in to the middle of the goal.

A 60th minute finish from US Women’s National Team superstar Alex Morgan, put the Pride up 3-0 and capped a euphoric 15 minute spell from the ladies in purple. Although the result seemed safe, credit is due to the Dash who kept fighting, Andressa scoring a 75th minute screamer and forcing Harris to make 4-5 really impressive saves.

The Pride’s next game is next Sunday, on the road against the Chicago Red Stars (1-1-0, 3 points). The match kicks off at 6:00 and can be watched via live stream on the NWSL’s YouTube channel.