Real WOrk Begins

After the Seattle Reign fell to FC Kansas City 1-0 on Sunday, the Orlando Pride officially clinched a spot in the NWSL Playoffs. After finishing towards the bottom of the table the year prior, the turnaround that Head Coach Tom Sermanni and the team made was an incredibly impressive one. 

“Just happy. Just delighted and for a whole range of reasons and a whole range of people,” Sermanni said, “I think first and foremost the players. They stuck by us and what we’ve tried to do this season. We had a really shaky start and it could’ve gone another way and not quite believed in what we were trying to do and they’ve stuck with us. The support staff behind us have been fantastic and our supporters and the people with the club, so I feel really happy for everybody involved with Orlando City and Orlando Pride.” 

Coming into the weekend, Orlando simply needed a point to put them in position to make the playoffs, which they grinded out against Portland. Seattle would have had to win both of their final games to even tie the Pride in points, but Orlando still held the advantage on goal differential. Seattle losing was all the Pride needed to start the celebration. 

“I think everyone was watching on this team,” Forward Alex Morgan said on Monday, “We have a little group text that we have going and we all kind of congratulated each other and were super excited after. I feel like we’ve done really well to turn our season around in the last two months. So, it’s nice to see this hard work paying off but at the same time the work has just begun.” 

With the team having clinched, the pressure is somewhat lifted from their shoulders as they head into the final game of the season with essentially nothing to lose. If anything, their upcoming match could provide a precursor to a potential playoff matchup with North Carolina FC. 

Now that the team knows they are into the semifinals, the focus shifts from just simply making the playoffs, to now getting to the championship game. To do so, the Pride will have to go on the road to either Portland or North Carolina and pull out a result there to make it to the final. Having played both of those teams in succession could be a big benefit for them as well, knowing what to expect when they play them in just a few weeks.  

Two games can separate Orlando from a championship in their own stadium. All the focus will be on the weekend of October 8th to see who makes it back to Orlando with a bid for the trophy