Recap | Sydney Leroux Nets Game-Winner as Pride Defeat Portland Thorns at Exploria Stadium

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 26, 2021) - Orlando Pride (2-0-1, 7 points) defeated Portland Thorns FC (1-2-0, 3 points) by a score of 2-1 on Wednesday night at Exploria Stadium, marking the Club’s third-consecutive result to start the season.

Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux found the back of the net in the match, the former scoring her third goal in as many fixtures for the Club and the latter for the second-consecutive week. The pair were also responsible for both of Orlando’s finishes this past Saturday at North Carolina in that 2-1 victory, accounting for each of the Pride’s last six goals throughout all competitions.

Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris recorded seven saves as the Pride defense held off a Portland attack that tallied 21 shots total in the match. The Orlando backline has conceded just three times through three regular season matches, yet to give up multiple goals in a game this campaign.

Orlando Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner:

“I think tonight’s win is bigger than a result on the field. It’s a moment where a group is choosing to come together and they’re choosing that their destiny lies within their own hands. They’re putting performances on where we might not necessarily be the best footballing team at times, but we are grinding together, we are working together and those are the foundations we want. For us it’s that togetherness, that commitment, that energy as a group that I am just the most proud coach as I could be for that. The football stuff we can critique, but the energy and the commitment to each other and the commitment to die for each other on the field is what wins you games like that and that’s what we had tonight and that’s what we’re going to continue to build.”

Scoring Recap:

22’ Alex Morgan (Taylor Kornieck) - ORL 1, POR 0

The Pride got on the board first with Alex Morgan receiving the ball just outside the area before dropping a pass back to Taylor Kornieck. The 2020 NWSL College Draft selection then chipped a ball over the top for Morgan running in behind the Thorns’ defense, who rifled it on the bounce straight into the right side-netting for the finish.

42’ Simone Charley (Natalia Kuikka) - ORL 1, POR 1

The Thorns equalized just before the halftime break, with a cross from Natalia Kuikka from the right flank finding the head of Simone Charley at the far post to level the two sides.

46’ Sydney Leroux - ORL 2, POR 1

The Pride regained the lead just seconds into the second half, this time with Sydney Leroux picking the pocket of Thorns defender Kelli Hubly, sliding across the center back and slotting the ball into the back of the net.

Match Notes:

  • The victory marked the first for the Pride over Portland since May 12, 2018 and the first at Exploria Stadium. Alex Morgan became the first member of the Club to score multiple goals over the Thorns as a member of the Pride, netting her second career goal against her former Club. 
  • Alex Morgan scored her third goal in as many matches for the Pride on the night, continuing her best start to a campaign in Orlando and scoring in three-consecutive matches for the first time since 2017 when she found the back of the net in five straight fixtures from Aug. 5 to Aug. 26. 
  • Sydney Leroux netted her second goal in as many fixtures, tied with Morgan for the team lead across all competitions this season with three finishes of her own. 
  • Taylor Kornieck recorded her second assist of the season, finding Morgan for the second-consecutive week to tally a goal contribution. 
  • The Pride continued their best start to a campaign in the Club’s history with the win on Wednesday night, now unbeaten through three matches to begin the 2021 regular season.
  • Ally Haran made her NWSL regular season debut in the match, entering in the 84th minute for Marta. The minutes marked the first for Haran of 2021, last featuring for the Pride on Oct. 17, 2020 when she netted the game-tying goal against North Carolina in second half stoppage time at Exploria Stadium during the finale of the Fall Series. 

Next Match:

The Pride return to Exploria Stadium to close out a two-game home stint on Sunday, May 30, set to take on Kansas City in the inaugural matchup between the two clubs. 

Scoring Summary:

ORL - Alex Morgan (Taylor Kornieck) 22’

POR - Simone Charley (Natalia Kuikka) 42’

ORL - Sydney Leroux 46’

Misconduct Summary:

POR - Simone Charley (Yellow Card) 38’

POR - Angela Salem (Yellow Card) 45+3’

ORL - Ashlyn Harris (Yellow Card) 90+7’


Orlando Pride

- GK Ashlyn Harris ©; D Courtney Petersen, Phoebe McClernon, Ali Krieger, Ali Riley; M Meggie Dougherty Howard (Marisa Viggiano 64’), Marta (Ally Haran 84’), Gunny Jónsdóttir; F Sydney Leroux (Chelsee Washington 90+1’), Alex Morgan, Taylor Kornieck

Substitutes Not Used:

GK Erin McLeod; D Konya Plummer, Toni Pressley; M Erika Tymrak; F Abi Kim, Crystal Thomas

Portland Thorns FC

- GK Adrianna Franch; D Natalia Kuikka, Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelli Hubly (Emily Menges 61’), Madison Pogarch (Meghan Klingenberg 61’); M Lindsey Horan, Angela Salem (Rocky Rodriguez 70’), Crystal Dunn; F Tyler Lussi (Sophia Smith 46’), Christine Sinclair ©, Simone Charley (Morgan Weaver 70’)

Substitutes Not Used:

GK Bella Bixby; D, Christen Westphal; M Celeste Boureille; F Marissa Everett

Details of the Game:

Time: 7 p.m. ET

Weather: Clear

Date: May 26, 2021

Attendance: 3,407

Stats Summary: ORL / POR

Possession: 44.7% / 55.3%

Shots: 12 / 21

Shots on Goal: 3 / 8

Saves: 7 / 1

Corner Kicks: 4 / 3 

Fouls: 5 / 9

Offside: 1 / 3


REF: Laura Rodriguez

AR1: Ashlee Varnson

AR2: Laura Waliski

4TH: Alejo Calume

Heineken Star of the Match:

Sydney Leroux