CARY, N.C. (May 22, 2021) - Orlando Pride (1-0-1, 4 points) earned its first win of the 2021 regular season on Saturday night, picking up a 2-1 win on the road at 2019 NWSL Champion North Carolina Courage (0-1-1, 1 point). The win marked the first time the Courage lost at home since June 16, 2018, a span of 23 undefeated games over 1,071 days.
The Pride scored on both sides of the half, with Sydney Leroux netting her second goal of 2021 across all competitions, and Alex Morgan scoring her second goal in as many matches. Goalkeeper Erin McLeod started between the posts for the Pride, her first NWSL appearance since September 6, 2015 after a five-year stint overseas.
The win marks four-straight unbeaten matches for the Pride, dating back to an April 21 win over the Washington Spirit, with the Pride conceding just two times over the span.
Orlando Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner:
“That is a monumental win for us. I think if you look at the statistics, 23 unbeaten at home [for North Carolina] and we’ve come here and taken the three points with an epic fight, commitment. What we were asking for was to play for the badge, play for what we’re asking and then obviously with the qualities that we have to hurt the opponent. That was a little bit of justification for the commitment that the players and staff give every single day. It means we’re building step-by-step to what we have asked and I can’t ask anymore of anyone in that room tonight. They were magnificent and they should be applauded for what they have done tonight.”
36’ Sydney Leroux - ORL 1, NC 0
The Pride got on the board first, after Sydney Leroux jumped on an errant backpass from Cari Roccaro. The forward made a quick cut to her left foot before slotting home a shot to the near side.
79’ Alex Morgan (Taylor Kornieck) - ORL 2, NC 0
The Pride doubled their lead late in the second half, with Alex Morgan scoring what would prove to be the game-winner in the 79th minute. After Taylor Kornieck flicked on a long ball to Morgan was able to collect it in stride before turning the corner on a Courage defender. One-on-one with the keeper, Morgan fired home a shot that hit off the far post and in.
88’ Jessica McDonald (Lynn Williams) - ORL 2, NC 1
The home side ended the shutout bid with minutes to play, after Jessica McDonald was able to poke home a loose ball in the box after a scramble.
Goalkeeper Erin McLeod’s four save performance on Saturday marked her first NWSL start and appearance since September 6, 2015, when she played for the Houston Dash. Signed in early 2020, McLeod did not appear for the Pride after a COVID-shortened season, instead going on loan to Iceland for the majority of the year.
After making her first three starts for the Pride on the backline, Gunny Jónsdóttir started at midfield for the first time. Jónsdóttir, a natural midfielder, has played all 360 minutes of which she has been available this year.
Orlando became the first team to beat the Courage at their home ground in 1,071 days, a span of 23 games with their last loss in Cary coming on June 16, 2018.
The Pride have earned points in each of their last four matches, dating back to the 2021 Challenge Cup. Orlando has gone 3-0-1 over that span, with the lone draw the 2021 regular season opener last week.
Sydney Leroux scored her second goal of 2021 after netting her first on April 21 against the Washington Spirit in the team’s third match of the NWSL Challenge Cup, a 1-0 Pride win.
Alex Morgan’s 79th minute goal marked her second goal in as many matches, after also netting the Pride’s lone goal in a 1-1 draw against Washington last week in the team’s regular-season home opener.
With the win, the Pride sit tied with Gotham and Louisville atop the NWSL table with four points heading into Sunday’s matches.
The Pride return home for two matches over the next week, first facing Portland Thorns FC on Wednesday, May 26 at Exploria Stadium. Kickoff for that match is slated for 7 p.m. ET with tickets available at Orlando-Pride.com.
ORL - Sydney Leroux 36’
ORL - Alex Morgan (Taylor Kornieck) 79’
NC - Jessica McDonald (Lynn Williams) 88’
NC - Kristen Hamilton (Yellow Card) 39’
ORL - Marisa Viggiano (Yellow Card) 83’
ORL - Courtney Petersen (Yellow Card) 89’
NC - Carson Pickett (Yellow Card) 90+7’
Orlando Pride -
GK Erin McLeod; D Ali Riley, Ali Krieger ©, Phoebe McClernon, Courtney Petersen; M Gunny Jónsdóttir, Meggie Dougherty Howard (Crystal Thomas 90+6’), Marta (Toni Pressley 85’); F Taylor Kornieck, Alex Morgan, Sydney Leroux (Marisa Viggiano 76’)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Brittany Wilson; D Ally Haran, Konya Plummer; M Chelsee Washington; F Abi Kim
North Carolina Courage
- GK Casey Murphy; D Merritt Mathias (Taylor Smith 69’), Abby Erceg, Kaleigh Kurtz, Carson Pickett; M Denis O’Sullivan, Debinha, Cari Roccaro (Havana Solaun 74’); F Lynn Williams, Jessica McDonald, Kristen Hamilton (Hailie Mace 69’)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Kaitlyn Rowland; D Schuyler Debree, Ryan Williams, Diane Caldwell; M Meredith Speck; F Brittany Ratcliffe
Details of the Game:
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Date: May 22, 2021
Stats Summary: ORL / NC
Possession: 40.8% / 59.2%
Shots: 11 / 16
Shots on Goal: 3 / 5
Saves: 4 / 1
Corner Kicks: 3 / 10
Fouls: 6 / 6
Offside: 4 / 1
REF: Alexandra Billeter
AR1: Kali Smith
AR2: Justin Howard
4TH: Emma Richards