Pride Offense Rolling; Bledsoe Stepping Up

Pride offense

The Pride picked up a massive road victory Sunday night at Houston’s BBVA Compass Stadium. A 16th minute wonder strike from Camila gave Orlando a 1-0 lead and the Pride never took their foot of the gas.

Overall, it was a fantastic team performance. Marta tallied two clinical goals of her own and Alana Kennedy scored her first of the season en route to the Pride’s 4-2 road victory. Before the 89th minute, Orlando was up 4-0 and had a firm grasp on the three points. Two late consolation goals gave Houston fans something to cheer about, but the Pride were in complete control from start to finish.

In his post-match press conference, Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni shared some of his thoughts on the team’s performance:

“The best thing about the result from our perspective was how clinical our finishing was,” Sermanni told reporters. When Orlando had chances, they finished them. Pure and simple. Outshot 15-9 in the match, Pride players were more composed in front of goal and put away the quality chances they created. Houston, while formidable, could not keep up with the barrage of attacking threats all over the field for Orlando.

While offense stole the show on Sunday night, Pride goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe had herself an excellent match as well. 

“In the first half, I think she [Bledsoe] kept us in the game with a couple of outstanding saves,” Sermanni said about his replacement goalkeeper. With Ashlyn Harris still sidelined with a quad injury, Bledsoe has stepped up with some important saves in big moments. 

21 minutes into the first half, Houston had an excellent chance to tie the score at 1-1. Carli Lloyd found herself in some space near the edge of the box and fired a volley which looked to be headed for the the side netting. Instead of a Dash equalizer, Bledsoe dove to her left and parried the shot which spurred a lightning quick counter attack resulting in Orlando’s second goal of the match. That play swung momentum in the Pride’s favor and deflated Houston’s whole team.

The Pride looked dangerous every time they possessed the ball in the attacking third. With Marta pulling the strings and the team clicking on every level, Orlando will look to continue their surge up the NWSL standings.