In her long-awaited league debut, the Pride’s No. 3 overall selection at the 2020 NWSL College Draft forward Taylor Kornieck did not waste any time in bagging her first NWSL goal, opening the Pride’s 2021 account by heading in a cross from Meggie Dougherty Howard just before the halftime break on Saturday in Louisville. Kornieck finished the night with two shots, one shy of Sydney Leroux for the team high, logging 78 minutes in her first match in purple.
Making her Pride debut on Saturday night, midfielder Meggie Dougherty Howard quickly made an impact in purple, earning the assist on both of the Pride’s finishes on the evening. Dougherty Howard first lofted a ball into the box to the head of Taylor Kornieck before slotting in a through ball for Abi Kim to register the first multi-assist performance for the Pride since Marta did so on May 26, 2018 against Chicago.
Abi Kim had logged just 10 minutes of NWSL play before scoring her first professional goal in the 88th minute of Saturday’s match at Louisville. Getting in behind the expansion side’s defense, Kim ran onto a ball from Meggie Dougherty Howard before roofing a finish over the head of Michelle Betos in what served as the go-ahead goal at the time.
Ad Astra in Action
Wednesday will see the Pride don its 2021 Ad Astra kit for the first time in match play. With a literal launch into space just two weeks ago, the jersey pays homage to Central Florida’s Space Coast whilst honoring trailblazing women throughout history, particularly in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) industry and received worldwide recognition for its investment in the promotion of the women’s game.
The midweek will see the Pride feature in front of its home fans for the first time since Oct.12, 2019, with Wednesday’s match open at a limited capacity for spectators. A total of 550 days in between, that match saw defender Toni Pressley make her return to the pitch less than three months after undergoing treatment for breast cancer, in which she was welcomed to the field by a standing ovation from the crowd.
A New Look
Wednesday’s opposition will look a little different than in years past, with Sky Blue FC rebranded to Gotham FC NJ/NY, it was announced last week. Retaining its new colors from a year ago, Gotham FC will don it’s new name and crest for the first time on Wednesday, a tribute to its New Jersey roots while also recognizing its expanded reach into the New York City market.
Last Time at Exploria…
Unbeaten in their last three matches against previously named Sky Blue FC, the Pride last faced off against Wednesday’s opposition in The City Beautiful on July 20, 2019, 635 days ago. That match resulted in a 1-0 victory for the Pride, with then rookie Marisa Viggiano scoring the game-winner for her first professional goal.