It's a new era for the Orlando Pride. New head coach Amanda Cromwell is looking to finally realize the potential of a franchise that's brought in big names and talented faces, but has yet to find any real success in the National Women's Soccer League. The club also lost USWNT superstar Alex Morgan, one of the clubs best players, but also one of its more inconsistent ones.
This new era will start with a 22-game regular season, 11 home and 11 away. The Pride start the year with a relative home stand, hosting four of their first six matches, including NY/NJ Gotham FC on opening day on May 1st. That early home-heavy stretch leads into a loaded run of road fixtures, with seven of the next 10 games coming on the road. Orlando closes the year with another home-heavy run, with four of the last six matches coming at home.
In match-week two, the Pride will travel all the way across the country for their first ever matchup with the new hotness of the league; Angel City FC in Los Angeles. That is the first of four matches against expansion teams. Orlando will travel back to southern California on August 13 to face San Diego Wave FC, led by Alex Morgan. The week before, Orlando hosts Angel City FC and it hosts San Diego in the penultimate week of the season.
Other notable matches include a visit to Portland on June 19th before a multi-week break for the league, a big home match on the other side of that break on July 2nd against Racing Louisville FC and the Pride host the reigning NWSL champions the Washington Spirit on Friday, May 27th.
The NWSL Challenge Cup starts this weekend, with the Pride opening the competition on Saturday night against the Spirit. The Pride will also play the North Carolina Courage and Gotham in the group stage of the tournament. The knockout round starts on May 4 with the semi-finals and the final is scheduled for May 7.