CARY, N.C. (July 31, 2021) - Orlando Pride (4-4-5, 17 points) earned a point on the road on Saturday night, drawing the North Carolina Courage (5-4-3, 18 points) 1-1 at WakeMed Soccer Park. The match served as the first in charge for interim Head Coach Becky Burleigh, the former University of Florida coaching legend who was appointed just a week earlier. With the result, Burleigh became the first Pride coach to earn at least one point in their opening game at the helm.
The Pride got on the board first in the match, with defender Ali Krieger displaying a strong individual effort that started in the back, before finding Sydney Leroux who buried the ball away for her sixth goal of the season. With the goal, Leroux moves into a tie for first place in the NWSL in the category.
Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris made two saves in the outing, including an outstanding effort in the 68th minute to keep the game level. With the start on Saturday, Harris also moved into first place for all-time regular season appearances in Club history, tying former midfielder Dani Weatherholt (73) in the category.
Orlando Pride Interim Head Coach Becky Burleigh:
“It's really impressive that this group played a system that they hadn't played, basically on really two days of training and the way they really put a lot of effort into what we did. We talked about ‘next play speed’ all week in terms of being resilient and recovering from mistakes. I thought they executed that very well...But I think there's a part of that too, it's trust and willingness from the players. They were willing to trust us, somebody that they don't even know that they've met less than a week ago, to put in a plan and execute it. I just think that says a lot about the character of this team.”
50’ Sydney Leroux (Ali Krieger) - ORL 1, NC 0
Orlando got on the board first when Ali Krieger intercepted a ball in the defensive half and pushed forward towards the 18-yard box. The defender then found Sydney Leroux to the left, with Leroux slotting it past the keeper to the bottom right corner.
52’ Brittany Ratcliffe (Meredith Speck) - ORL 1, NC 1
North Carolina answered back quickly when Meredith Speck found Brittany Ratcliffe in the box for a quick shot from inside the area.
- Saturday’s match served as the first game at the helm for interim head coach Becky Burleigh. With the draw, Burleigh became the first coach in Pride history to earn a result in their coaching debut.
- Sydney Leroux scored her sixth goal of the season, tying her for most in the league.
- Ali Krieger provided the assist to Leroux, with the helper marking her first since Sept. 29, 2019 at then-named Sky Blue FC.
- Courtney Petersen recorded her second-straight start in midfield for the Pride.
- Burleigh lined the Pride defense up in a three-back system on Saturday night, the first time the team has started in that setup this year.
- Orlando recorded its second-straight result at North Carolina this season with the draw, after previously defeating the Courage 2-1 in Cary on May 22. The result closes the teams' regular-season series at 1-1-1.
- With the start on Saturday, Ashlyn Harris moved into first place for all-time regular season appearances in Club history, tying former midfielder Dani Weatherholt (73) in the category.
Next Match: The Pride will play its second consecutive road match on Sunday, August 8, traveling to face the Chicago Red Stars at Toyota Park. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. ET.
ORL - Sydney Leroux (Ali Krieger) 50’
NC - Brittany Ratcliffe (Meredith Speck) 52’
ORL - Ali Krieger (Yellow Card) 16’
NC - Cari Rocarro (Yellow Card) 39’
ORL - Kylie Strom (Yellow Card) 45’
Orlando Pride - GK Ashlyn Harris ©; D Ali Krieger, Amy Turner, Phoebe McClernon; M Kylie Strom, Gunny Jónsdóttir, Courtney Petersen, Taylor Kornieck (Meggie Dougherty Howard 71’), Marisa Viggiano; F Jodie Taylor (Erika Tymrak 66’), Sydney Leroux
Substitutes Not Used: GK Brittany Wilson; D Ally Haran, Konya Plummer, Toni Pressley; M Chelsee Washington; F Abi Kim, Crystal Thomas
North Carolina Courage - GK Casey Murphy; D Merritt Mathias, Abby Erceg ©, Kaleigh Kurtz, Carson Pickett; M Angharad James, Havana Solaun, Cari Roccaro (Meredith Speck 46’), Denise O’Sullivan, Brittany Ratcliffe (Taylor Smith 76’); F Amy Rodriguez
Substitutes Not Used: GK Sam Murphy; D Lindsay Agnew, Diane Caldwell, Schuyler Debree, Kendall Fletcher; M Caeley Lordemann; F Rylee Baisden
Details of the Game:
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Date: July 31, 2021
Stats Summary: ORL / NC
Possession: 49.0% / 51.0%
Shots: 11 / 15
Shots on Goal: 6 / 4
Saves: 2 / 5
Corner Kicks: 2 / 8
Fouls: 9 / 4
Offside: 2 / 2
REF: Karen Callado
AR1: Laura Chambers Waliski
AR2: Nicholas Seymour
4TH: Emma Richards