The Pride are currently unbeaten in three straight games and are looking to extend it to four as they take on Chicago Red Stars at Exploria Stadium on Sunday. The last time the Pride had a four-game unbeaten streak was the beginning of last year when they started the season with seven-straight matches unbeaten.
Early and Often
Pride forward Sydney Leroux netted her second goal of the regular season at the four-minute mark putting a rebound effort into the far post and in the back of the net. Leroux’s first goal of the season was scored at the three-minute mark in their last road matchup at Angel City FC on May 8. Leroux has now scored three of the six fastest goals in Club history, with finishes in the second, third and fourth minutes in her Orlando career.
On Wednesday, Sydney Leroux became the 12th player in Orlando Pride history to play in 50 regular season matches. Leroux passed former midfielder Camila (49) and is just three matches away from tying former defender Monica for ninth all-time in Club regular season appearances at 53. Marta (74) and Toni Pressley (68) are the only two players on the Pride’s current roster with more regular season appearances. Rachel Hill, who will line up on the opposite side of the field on Sunday, sits in seventh place all-time for the Pride with 60 appearances in purple.
Orlando put out a starting lineup with a number of young players including forward Julie Doyle as well midfielders Jordyn Listro and Viviana Villacorta, who all recorded their first NWSL starts. Doyle was instrumental in setting up Cluff’s game winner, using her speed down the right side to keep the ball in play. The Santa Clara product slid for the end line cross, sending the ball into the box where it eventually found Cluff. Forward Abi Kim also got the nod for her first start of this year’s campaign.
The Orlando Pride have totaled five goals to start the regular season, with all of them coming off of the left foot. Each goal has been scored in the run of play outside of Toni Pressley’s stoppage time equalizer last week against Kansas City, which came from the penalty spot. The left foot has, historically, been the preference for the Pride attack with 79 goals scored across all competitions compared to 58 with the right foot.
A Professional First
Midfielder Mikayla Cluff notched her first professional goal against the North Carolina Courage netting the game-winner for the Pride. Cluff took a deflection in stride and hit it first time with her left foot past the North Carolina goalkeeper. The midfielder’s attempt also led to Leroux’s opening goal, forcing Casey Murphy into a diving save and the ball falling to Leroux open in the box for the rebound score.
Staying in Orlando
Goalkeeper Erin McLeod and the Orlando Pride agreed to new contract terms this week. The contract will keep the Canadian international with the Club through the 2023 season. McLeod has been with the Pride since the 2020 season and has started every match of the 2022 regular season for the Pride so far.
Green is the New Purple
Sunday’s match will kick off Sustainability Week for the Club, with the game presented by the Orlando Utilities Company (OUC). Exploria Stadium, the home of the Pride, last year announced its Zero Waste Initiative and this year is continuing to build toward a better future. The venue became the first in Orlando to sign OUC’s Solar Pledge, which vows to have the site become 100% solar powered by 2030.