Orlando Pride

After 'building block' first win, Orlando Pride turn attention to Racing Louisville

SANFORD, Fla. -- As the final whistle blew last weekend out in San Diego, you could almost hear a sigh of relief from Pride head coach Seb Hines all the way in Orlando.

After heartbreaking results to start the season, the Pride finally got over the line to win against the Wave, 3-1. It was a collective effort from the team, with three different goal-scorers getting on the scoresheet.

"Obviously there's an element of relief," Hines said this week at Orlando Health Training Ground at Sylvan Park. "We've talked about the players putting the work in and rewarding themselves for all the work that they've put in. So now we have to keep moving forward.

"We said to them this morning, that three points away at San Diego means nothing if we don't get three points against Louisville. So it's just a building block right now and we have to keep pushing forward and keep up momentum."

One of those players that is fast gaining in momentum is Brazilian forward Adriana, who got her first goal and assist in San Diego. Her 69th-minute finish was a nice way to close out a tremendous result. Now that she has that goal under her belt, Hines says that keeping up her form will be the key to both her and the team's success going forward.

You could see what she can bring," he said. "I'm so happy for her to get her first goal here and the first assist. There's many more to come as well. She's a phenomenal player. She's very aggressive and in the attack, and that's what we ask of her. We want her to be aggressive in the attack, take players on 1v1, get more shots off.

"She showed that so now that's her standard. She has to bring that every game and put fear in defenders and I think that's what she's doing right now. Teams have noticed her qualities and that's a credit to her and recent performances."

The Pride now look ahead to this weekend as they take on the other purple team in the NWSL, Racing Louisville. The last time these teams faced off in Florida the game actually took place in Daytona during the Fourth of July weekend as a part of the Daytona SoccerFest.

This time around, the game will be played back in Exploria Stadium, where the Pride will look to turn their luck around and secure a win this Saturday.

"We haven't played bad at home, we just haven't got that reward," Hines said. "That little bit of luck as well. We bring the energy, we feed off the fans' energy as well. We want to make it a difficult environment and I don't think it's a lot between winning and losing right now.

Obviously, we just want to be on the positive end of it, but we just got to keep battling, keep working hard, keep fighting for three points and as long as we do that we put ourselves in a good position to win the game."

This year's Louisville team has changed compared to their 2022 iteration, having added players like former Pride defender Carson Pickett and former North Carolina Courage defender Abby Erceg, two players Hines mentioned at training on Tuesday that add veteran experience to a team still searching for their first win of 2023.

"It's a different team to previous years," he said. "They've obviously added to their roster, they've added more experience as well. It'll be a difficult game, every game is a difficult game in this league, and that's why we love it.

"It should be a competitive game, a good game for both teams and we have to go there and get a win in front of our fans because our fans deserve that as well. So yeah, looking forward to it."

Orlando Pride (1-4-0, 3 points) vs. Racing Louisville (0-1-4, 4 points)

When: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Where: Exploria Stadium, Orlando

TV: Paramount+ (subscription required)

Tickets: View seats