match recao

ORLANDO, Fla. (Aug. 26, 2022) - Orlando Pride (5-6-6, 21 points) lost a 2-1 heartbreaker on Friday night to OL Reign (7-4-6, 27 points) at Exploria Stadium. The loss snaps a seven consecutive unbeaten streak, which finishes tied for the second longest in Club history.

Meggie Dougherty Howard found the back of the net for the Pride in the first half of the match. The goal served as her second of the season after she scored the game-winning goal from the penalty spot in a 1-0 victory over the San Diego Wave. Dougherty Howard struck the ball from beyond the 18-yard box, marking the first regular season goal the Pride have scored from outside the box during the 2022 campaign.

Orlando Pride Interim Head Coach Seb Hines:
“[It was] a big challenge for us, we said that [it would be] going into the game. Reign are a top team in this league with really, really talented players. It was probably our biggest test in the run of games that we have had recently. I thought we started the game slow and scared. Our message at halftime was do what we have been doing well to get to this point. I thought the second half was better and it is a sucker punch at the end because I felt like we were starting to get momentum and we looked like the team that was going to get the winning goal, but football is a cruel game at times. It is a learning moment for all of us.”

Scoring Recap:

37’ Meggie Dougherty Howard - ORL 1, RGN 0
The Pride opened the scoring after Meggie Dougherty Howard picked off a Reign pass deep in the final third and fired a shot at goal. A Reign defender slid in to attempt to block the shot, but the ball took a deflection and left the goalkeeper no chance to save it.

54’ Bethany Balcer (Megan Rapinoe) - RGN 1, ORL 1
The visitors leveled the match when forward Megan Rapinoe sent in a cross from the left flank that found the head of Bethany Balcer who snuck it into the bottom corner of the goal.

90+2’ Megan Rapinoe (Sofia Huerta) - RGN 2, ORL 1
OL Reign found the match winner when defender Sofia Huerta floated a ball into the back post to a springing Megan Rapinoe who was able to do just enough to get the ball over the line for the late lead.

Match Notes:

  • Meggie Dougherty Howard’s goal counted as her second of the regular season for the Pride.
  • With the start, defender Celia made her 50th appearance in the NWSL across all competitions. The defender spent the first three seasons of her NWSL career as a member of the Reign.
  • Forward Ally Watt and defender Haley Hanson made their home debuts for the Pride, after both came in as second-half substitutes in the Pride’s last match away at NJ/NY Gotham FC. Watt was acquired by the Pride just 11 days ago from the Tacoma-based side.
  • The loss is the first time the Pride have lost since June 19, holding a 3-0-4 record over their last seven games.
  • Seb Hines made one change to his Starting XI on Friday, with defender Carrie Lawrence entering the lineup following the Pride’s 2-1 victory over NJ/NY Gotham FC.

Next Match: The Pride will look to bounce back after getting a week off when they welcome the Portland Thorns to Exploria Stadium on Friday, Sept. 9. Kickoff for that match is set for 7 p.m. ET.