ORLANDO, Fla. (April 12, 2019) - Orlando Pride will begin its fourth National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season against the 2018 NWSL Championship runner-up Portland Thorns FC on Sunday, April 14. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. ET at Orlando City Stadium.
The match will be nationally streamed on Yahoo! Sports and in the NWSL app. International fans can tune in on NWSLsoccer.com. Tickets are available at orlando-pride.com or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.
“I think we have to look at consistency. We know that the opposition are one of the two best teams in the country so we can’t take anything lightly. We have to prepare as effectively as we always do. I’m happy with the progress of the players. I keep saying this and I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face, it needs to have a little bit of time to do the things we need them to do. But, from where they’ve been to where they are now, I couldn’t have asked for a more monumental growth,” Orlando Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner said. “It’s going to be an extremely tough challenge but it’s one that we relish. We don’t see it as a pressure situation. We’ve got to go out and perform against a really tough team and look to get the result that we want.”
Sunday will serve as Skinner’s first match at the helm for the Pride after being named the second head coach in Club history on January 14. Skinner comes to Orlando from Birmingham City of England’s FA Women’s Super League, where he spent two and a half seasons as head coach. Prior to his role at the helm, he served seven years as technical director for the club’s development structure in the Centre of Excellence.
The Pride return 17 players from the 2018 season, including each of its top five goal scorers in forwards Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan, Rachel Hill, Chioma Ubogagu and Marta. Leroux, who led the Pride with six goals in 2018, will miss the start of the 2019 season due to pregnancy. U.S. WNT goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris returns in the net after registering 70 saves and four clean sheets in NWSL play in 2018.
Five new players have been added to the roster for the coming year, with the Pride signing 2019 NWSL College Draft picks Erin Greening and Marisa Viggiano. Bridget Callahan and Abby Elinsky have also been signed after serving as National Team Replacement Players in 2018. Morgan Reid rounds out the newcomers for 2019, after the Pride acquired the Duke alum from the North Carolina Courage on April 4. The team has also signed three Supplemental players in goalkeeper Lainey Burdett, midfielder Joanna Boyles and forward Caitlin Farrell.
The Thorns roster includes four U.S. WNT allocated players in Adrianna French, Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan and Emily Sonnett, along with Canadian forward Christine Sinclair. Horan finished the 2018 season tied for second in NWSL in goals scored with 14, while Sinclair sat tied for second in the league with seven assists. Portland finished the season as the NWSL Championship runner-ups after falling 3-0 to the North Carolina Courage in the final.
Sunday’s match will mark the third time the Pride have opened the season against the Thorns and the first in Orlando. The two will face off once more in Orlando on May 11 and at Providence Park on July 14.