5 for 5
Ashlyn Harris denied her third penalty kick of the regular season Saturday night at Exploria Stadium, stopping Jess Fishlock from the spot in the 62nd minute. The denial marked the fifth penalty stop for Harris across all competitions this season, two of which came in the Challenge Cup. Harris is the only goalkeeper across the NWSL to tally multiple penalty kick saves this season.
At the Helm
The Pride have hired Becky Burleigh as the Club’s interim head coach. The former University of Florida head coach spent 26 seasons with the Gators, garnering a 513-160-46 record, as well as 14 SEC titles, and an NCAA Championship. Saturday’s matchup against North Carolina will be Burleigh’s first match coaching the Pride, with her former assistant Alan Kirkup also joining the Pride coaching staff.
Debut in Purple
Jodie Taylor made her Pride debut against her former club OL Reign this past Saturday at Exploria Stadium. Taylor had not played in the NWSL in 651 days, but that changed when she started up top for Orlando and logged 63 minutes. The English international signed with the Pride on July 8 after spending the 2020-21 Division 1 Féminine season with Lyon.
Club & Country
Alex Morgan and the U.S. WNT reached the Quarterfinals after accumulating four points in Group G at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Morgan started two of the three games for the U.S., scoring in the 88th minute after being subbed on against New Zealand. In the U.S.’ last group game against Australia, Morgan found the back of the net but ultimately the goal was disallowed by VAR. The U.S. WNT went on to defeat the Netherlands in penalty kicks on Friday morning to reach the Semifinal round, with Morgan netting her shot from the spot.
Marta led Brazil to the knockout round, netting three goals during group play to become the first player to score a goal in five Olympics games. Erin McLeod and Canada advanced to the Quarterfinals following a 1-1 draw with Great Britain, with the two meeting in the Quarterfinals. Canada ultimately came out victorious, taking the win in PKs. Ali Riley and New Zealand were eliminated from the 2020 Olympics after finishing at the bottom of the table in Group G. Riley wore the captain’s armband for all three of the Football Ferns’ group stage matches, playing every minute for the side.
Last Time in NC
Saturday's match at North Carolina will be the Pride’s second road trip this season to WakeMed Soccer Park. In the first between the two teams, the Pride handed the Courage their first home loss in 1,071 days, snapping a 23-game unbeaten streak. The final score was 2-1 with both Sydney Leroux and Alex Morgan scoring in the affair and Jess McDonald pulling one back for the Courage.