Pride Fall 2-1 to Houston in Return to Orlando

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (Oct. 9, 2020) - Orlando Pride (0-2-1, 1 point) fell 2-1 on Friday evening to the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup champion Houston Dash (3-1-0, 9 points) at Osceola County Stadium, housed on the grounds of the Orlando City SC Training Ground.

Sydney Leroux scored the lone goal for the Pride in the match, her first since July 11, 2018 also against the Dash, after missing the majority of the 2019 season while pregnant with her second child, daughter Roux. Abby Elinsky earned the assist on the finish, her first goal contribution of her NWSL career.

Goalkeeper Brittany Wilson made her professional debut in the match, registering five saves including a swatting save in the 56th minute to keep the Dash advantage at one. Reggae Girlz Konya Plummer and Deneisha Blackwood each registered the first NWSL starts of their career, both having come off the bench in prior matches. 

Orlando Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner:
“It was an absolute tale of two halves. I don’t know how many games I’ve been involved in where that’s applied, that kind of adage. We were nowhere good enough in the first half, we weren’t brave enough on the football. We didn’t want the football enough, we were running like we were a yard off the pace. At halftime we spoke about what it means to play for Orlando. There was no real tactical kind of adaptation, it was more about the energy and the fire that it needs to take to wear our jersey and it just wasn’t present in the first half from the collective. In the second half they got better, they understood that and it took a bad situation in the first half to get a reaction for the second period and I was really, really pleased.”

Scoring Recap:

13’ Shea Groom (Kristie Mewis) - HOU 1, ORL 0
The visitors took the early lead, with Kristie Mewis running into open space down the left flank before teeing up a cross that found the head of a flying Shea Groom in the box for the finish.

29’ Veronica Latsko (Kristie Mewis) - HOU 2, ORL 0
The Dash doubled their advantage in the 29th with Mewis again creating the play, this time sending a through ball in behind the Pride defense for Veronica Latsko, who was able to cut back and lay the ball into the back of the net.

47’ Sydney Leroux (Abby Elinsky) - HOU 2, ORL 1
The Pride halved the deficit just after the halftime break, with Abby Elinsky getting free down the right hand side and sending a ball across the face of goal, finding the foot of Sydney Leroux who hammered it straight up into the goal. 

Match Notes:

  • Forward Sydney Leroux scored her first goal of the year in the match, the first time she has found the back of the net since July 11, 2018 after missing the majority of the 2019 season.
  • Forward Abby Elinsky earned the first goal contribution of her NWSL career, recording the assist on Leroux’s finish in the 47th minute.  
  • Goalkeeper Brittany Wilson made her NWSL debut in the match, starting in between the sticks for the Pride in net. Wilson was signed by the Pride ahead of the Fall Series after joining the team earlier this year as a preseason trialist.
  • Defender Konya Plummer recorded her first professional start on the afternoon after making her NWSL debut in the Pride’s last outing against the Dash. Plummer was selected 10th-overall by the Pride at the 2020 NWSL College Draft out of the University of Central Florida. 
  • Midfielder Deneisha Blackwood registered her first NWSL start in the match, having come off the bench in the Pride’s previous two matches in the Fall Series. Blackwood was signed to a short-term contract by the Pride ahead of the competition. 

Next Match: The Pride will close out the Fall Series on Saturday, Oct. 17 against the North Carolina Courage in its first match at Exploria Stadium in the calendar year. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. ET.