For the next few weeks, the Pride will be without some of their biggest stars as players are called up to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Orlando will send seven players to the compete for the gold medal. Forward Alex Morgan and keeper Ashlyn Harris will be reporting to the USWNT, defenders Steph Catley and Laura Alleway to Australia, defender Monica to Brazil, and Josée Bélanger to Canada. Midfielder Kaylyn Kyle will also serve as an alternate for Team Canada.
While the Olympics don’t officially begin until the opening ceremony on August 5th, all four national teams with Pride players on their rosters will take the pitch on August 3rd. The United States will begin their defense of their 2012 Gold Medal against New Zealand, Canada and Australia will go head-to-head, and host nation Brazil takes on China, to start group play.
For women’s football at the Olympics, twelve national squads are separated into three groups of four teams each. The top two nations in each group qualify for the knockout stage, while the two third-place teams with the most points go through as well. The quarterfinals will be played on August 12, the semifinals on August 16th, and both the bronze medal match and the final will be played on August 19th.
All matches will be available on NBC, NBC Sports Network, or an NBC-affiliated network, or can be streamed at nbcsn.com.
The NWSL, meanwhile, will continue play without international players for the time being. The Pride will play four matches during this span, two at home in Camping World Stadium and two away. However, the league will take a break in their schedule for most of the month of August when the Olympic matches are scheduled.
Orlando’s first match after the break will be August 26th against the Washington Spirit. International players are scheduled to return around that time.