ORLANDO, Fla. (March 18, 2022) - Orlando Pride returns to action on Saturday, March 19, set to host the Washington Spirit in a 7 p.m. ET kickoff at Exploria Stadium. The match will serve as the NWSL Challenge Cup opener for both sides.

Fans can watch the match on Paramount+ with international viewers able to tune in on Twitch. Tickets for Saturday’s contest can be found here or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.

“We’re really excited. The glimpse of the [preseason] scrimmages and being at Exploria gave us that excitement in the prelude of what’s to come. Everyone’s in good spirits, working hard,” Head Coach Amanda Cromwell said ahead of the match. “[We’re] just hammering home some of the key points to how we’re going to defend and build on what we’re looking to do against Washington. They offer some challenges with their pace and their ability, obviously, they won the championship for a reason. We’re very familiar with this team, but we’re excited.”

The Cromwell era begins on Saturday at Exploria Stadium with the former UCLA and UCF head coach joining the Pride to serve at the helm this past offseason following a decorated 25-year coaching career at the collegiate level. Leading the Bruins to a NCAA Championship in 2013, Cromwell took UCLA to three College Cups, seven Sweet 16 appearances, and four Pac-12 team titles, with the most recent conference title in 2021.

Along with a brand new coaching staff, the Pride roster boasts a myriad of new faces, 10 in total, including NWSL veteran defender Megan Montefusco, 2021 NWSL Draft selection and MAC Hermann Trophy finalist Mikayla Cluff and dynamic forward Darian Jenkins.

Returning to the side are six-time FIFA World Player of the Year Marta, along with FIFA World Cup Champion forward Sydney Leroux, who led the Pride in goals a year ago. In addition, goalkeeper Erin McLeod, defender Amy Turner and midfielder Gunny Jónsdóttir are set to return for the Pride for the 2022 campaign.

Washington enters the 2022 campaign after winning their first NWSL Championship a year ago, returning most of their roster from that very side. Goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury (née Bledsoe) will once again occupy the sticks with USWNT defenders Kelley O’Hara and Emily Sonnett set to anchor the backline. On the attack, 2021 Rookie of the Year Trinity Rodman, Ashley Sanchez and 2021 NWSL Golden Boot winner Ashley Hatch are set to spearhead the Spirit offense once more.

Following Saturday’s match, the Pride will travel to take on the North Carolina Courage on Saturday, March 26, at WakeMed Soccer Park. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET.