The Last Dance
The match against the Reign will serve as the final match of the 2022 NWSL regular season. This season included a seven-consecutive unbeaten streak for the Pride from July 3 through August 20, which finished tied for the second longest in Club history. During that span, the team held a 3-0-4 record and scored 10 goals. The Pride were eliminated from playoff contention earlier this month.
Familiar Faces, New Territory
Saturday’s match will see a few Pride players return to face their previous club, with Celia, Leah Pruitt, Ally Watt, Darian Jenkins and Megan Montefusco all playing for the Reign during their career. Watt was the most recent to join the Pride, traded from OL on Aug. 15. Montefusco was acquired by the Pride on Jan. 28 from Houston, but played her 2018 and 2019 seasons with Seattle. Jenkins, like Montefusco, came to Orlando via trade (on Jan. 11), with the forward playing her 2019 and 2020 seasons with the Reign. Celia and Pruitt joined the Pride together, a draft day trade with the Reign on Dec. 18 which also saw the No. 10 selection and a 2023 pick come to Orlando. The match, however, will be the first for the Pride at Lumen Field, OL’s new home that is also shared with the Seattle Sounders (MLS) and Seattle Seahawks (NFL).
Many For Meggie
Meggie Dougherty Howard scored her team-leading third goal of the season in the Pride’s last match against the San Diego Wave. Dougherty Howard scored in the inaugural matchup between the two sides back on Aug. 13, providing the game-winning goal from the penalty spot in a 1-0 victory for the Pride. The Pride were scoreless in their last three games until Sunday night’s game, with Dougherty Howard also providing the team’s last goal against OL Reign in a 2-1 loss on Aug. 26.
The First and Last
Midfielder Gunny Jónsdóttir also found the back of the net for the Pride against the Wave, counting for her second goal in the regular season and her fourth across all competitions during the 2022 campaign. Jónsdóttir’s first regular season goal of the season came back on May 14, which was the first regular season goal the Pride scored at home. Therefore, with the finish on May 14 and the finish against the Wave, Jónsdóttir scored the first and last goal for the Pride at Exploria Stadium during the 2022 regular season.
Pride players Leah Pruitt and Courtney Petersen both tallied assists against the Wave. Pruitt provided the pass on the Dougherty Howard goal while Petersen recorded the helper on the Jónsdóttir finish. Pruitt’s assist was the first of the season for her, while Petersen picked up her second assist of the regular season.
Ain’t No Place Like Home
In the Pride’s final home game of the season against the Wave, they played in front of 6,466 fans at Exploria Stadium. That tally is the highest for a Pride game played at Exploria Stadium this season, with only the match at Daytona International Speedway being higher. The fans were treated to Fan Appreciation Night which included a free t-shirt, posters to get signed by Pride players and coaches postgame and special deal on merchandise at The Den.
Making an Impact
Throughout the month of September, the NWSL and Nationwide are calling upon fans to vote daily on Twitter for the Nationwide Community Impact Award by mentioning @ORLPride and using #NationwideImpactAward, or retweeting a tweet with the text. Team ambassador Gunny Jónsdóttir and the Pride are trying to win a $25,000 total prize for their selected non-profit, Special Olympics Florida, with the Twitter vote accounting for a $5,000 prize.
- Erika Tymrak is one goal away from 20 in her NWSL career
- Gunny Jónsdóttir is one appearance away from 100 across all NWSL competitions
- Darian Jenkins is one goal away from 10 across all NWSL competitions