SANFORD, Fla. -- It was exactly what the Pride needed this past weekend.
A convincing, dominant 3-0 win on the road against one of the top four teams in the NWSL has been a massive confidence boost for Orlando heading into the week of training.
After back-to-back matches of disappointing performances leading into the match against the Washington Spirit, it was important for the Pride to get their groove back and come out firing.
Two goals in 16 minutes from Julie Doyle certainly set the tone for the night, something that head coach Seb Hines wants to see more of as his team faces another top-four team in the league.
"You just got to stay hungry," he said this week at Orlando Health Training Ground at Sylvan Park. "We’re starting to run out of games, every game matters. Every game is a final right now. So it’s important that we create that momentum that we showed previously when we went on a good run. We need to go on a good run again."
Friday's opponent, OL Reign, has been hit hard by the international call-ups for the ensuing Women's World Cup, which is set to start in two week's time.
Eight players, six of them regular starters for the Seattle-based team, will be out for this matchup, making it a perfect opportunity for the Pride to take advantage of the heavy rotation.
"They’re still a good team, they have a lot of depth in positions," Hines said. "They are missing their internationals, but they also have some really good players that can fill the spots up, so we have to be mindful of that. We can’t take them for granted, but also, it’s an opportunity to focus on ourselves and again, build up momentum, make it a difficult environment to play in Exploria Stadium. We have our fans behind us as well."
A few of the Pride players are very familiar with OL Reign, having played there fairly recently. Celia, who was with them from 2019-2021, is very familiar on how the team wants to play, hoping to use that as an advantage on the other end of the pitch.
"They’re a possession-based team and I think that if we actually press them and put them under trouble and bring the heat to them, we’re definitely going to have an advantage, especially at home," she said. "We definitely know their style and we pretty much have a set plan on how we’re going to tackle them and how we’re going to come into this game. but I am very confident in how the team is feeling, the things that we’ve been working on lately, and I really hope that we’re going to get a positive result."
Odds and ends
-- Two new signings were announced by the Pride this week, with Brazilian National Team defender Rafaelle Souza and Argentina National Team forward Mariana Larroquette signing multi-year contracts with the team. With both of them called up to their respective national teams for the World Cup, they won't be making their Pride debuts until after their run in the Cup comes to an end.