Orlando Pride

💬 Defender Megan Montefusco on Pride's rising confidence: 'We like being the underdogs'


Orlando Pride head coach Seb Hines and defenders Kylie Strom and Megan Montefusco give their thoughts following Saturday's 1-0 home victory over Racing Louisville at Exploria Stadium:

Orlando Pride head coach Seb Hines

Opening statement 

“It is a nice feeling. I thought this game was an opportunity to really show how far we have come from the start of the season. It is nice to get a clean sheet, but I think it could have been a three-or four-nil game and that is where we need to be better. We need to be more ruthless in front of goal and that is something we will discuss after the game with the players, but I am happy for them. I am really pleased with them. It was a nail-biter at the end, and you start thinking about the previous games and how they ended but you know, we saw it out and we will take a lot of confidence on how we finished the game.” 

On the progression of this team and the mentality of being able to see the game out  

“We have obviously reviewed every game, home and away, and we said at the start of the year that it is going to be a learning season for us. We have so many young players and a new team and new staff. Now you are seeing the development of the players, the progress that we have made, and I am so happy for them to start getting the results that they deserved. So, again, it is two games, we have to make up for the games early in the year, but we are starting to create good momentum each game now.” 

On wanting to get a win at home for the fans and what does it do for the team moving forward 

“Yes, it is not only the team, but also the fans as well. We want to leave them happy and smiling, it helps their weekends as well. You build a team with the energy of the fans. The more we can win, the more we put performances together and more fans will come out and watch us play, and it is a hostile environment for the opponent to come here. We just got to keep doing our job. The more fans that come here to Exploria Stadium, the more of an advantage that we can have here. It is pleasing to see the fans out here today supporting the team pushing the team all the way to the final whistle and you can really use that energy when you perform. It is a two-way street, both our fans and the players, again, it helps getting the three points.”

Orlando Pride defender Kylie Strom

On how the team is feeling about back-to-back wins  

“It’s massive. It feels so good to get that momentum. It was a tough beginning of the season, but we never gave up. We always knew that [consecutive wins] was coming. We were so close, we could taste it. We just had to fix minor little things and now we are fixing those minor little things, and we feel great.” 

On her perspective on the team’s underdog mentality  

“We know what everyone says about the Orlando Pride. Honestly, I think it’s good. We play with a chip on our shoulder, and we have to start changing the narrative. Every game, we have to earn respect. It is not going to be handed to us. We have to earn the right to play. Seb talks about it all the time. I think game by game, we are doing the right things and continuing to earn respect. I think it’s really exciting. We are going to be a team that people are going to have to look out for.” 

On the adjustment from the first to the second half  

No two halves are the same. We always know that. We talked about it at halftime. You have to be ready for anything. It’s football. There are ebbs and flows and different momentum in the game. We didn’t break and we weathered the storm. Sometimes, that is what it takes. It’s not always pretty. I think there were moments in the second half where we got [the ball] back, possessed the ball, had good game management and got the three points.”  

On her evolution as an Orlando Pride player 

“It has been quite the journey, for sure. I have been here for two and a half seasons now. We've had a lot of changes; players, management, coaches, personnel. We stuck through it all and it is good to see that it’s all finally paying off. For us and for the fans, it has been a long time coming for the Pride. It’s really exciting. I think we are finally turning the page and we have something really special here.”

Orlando Pride defender Megan Montefusco

On her mindset starting the season on the bench to being in the Starting XI 

“It was tough. You come in every season, wanting to play. Every player on this team wants to play and wants to be on the field. I had to take a step back and just kind of work my way back into the lineup. I had to get to game fitness and get back in there and it took time. It took preseason, and just really re-establishing relationships with players on the team and I thought I did a good job in that role. I was trying to be as supportive as possible, elevate the group and just help people learn and grow with my experience and just share it out with them. It definitely was tough, but we're a team and the team comes first and, anyone can play on this team.” 

On the growth of the team in the first few games 

“I think we've said it since day one, we're a young team. We're developing and trying to grow as a young group, and we knew it was going to take a bit to build relationships and to get confidence. I think that was a big thing for this team was just playing with fear at first. Once we finally figured out our identity and got that confidence, all it took was just a little bit of cohesion with the group and I think just playing hard at training and that belief in ourselves and we finally got that win and took it to the next level. So now, there's no looking back. We know who we are, we know what we can do, the desire and motivation is there. We like being the underdogs. I think that's something that we don't talk about, but it's fun. People don't think that we can beat them, and we come out and we just show them what we can do. I love being in the backline just watching players like Marta and Adriana just go off on teams, and they just don't see it coming. It's so fun and I'm just excited for the rest of season.” 

On the defensive performance and maintaining a clean sheet 

“It felt amazing to finally get a clean sheet. We've been working toward that for a long time, so it felt right to finally get that tonight. We're building our relationships too. I feel really good next to Emily [Madril]. Obviously, me and Haley [McCutcheon] go way back, I think we’re just solid and then Anna [Moorhouse] came up huge as she does. Just a great team performance and our backline is just really coming together. It's exciting for us.”