Orlando Pride

Taking on the league leaders: Orlando Pride 'mindful' ahead of match against Washington Spirit

SANFORD, Fla. -- It's been a hectic last two weeks for the Pride. After spending six days on the road and playing two matches over that time, the team is finally back home, albeit for just a short time.

"It's nice to be back in Orlando on our own training field," Pride head coach Seb Hines said this week at Orlando Health Training Ground at Sylvan Lake Park. "We gave the players a couple of days off, I think that's important because of being on the road for so long. That time to reset, focus on the game on the weekend.

"It's a big game for all of us. Being back at home in front of our own fans, we're looking to get three points, obviously. We've got good momentum now, the players are excited to train and obviously looking forward to the game on Saturday."

Orlando will face the team sitting at the top of the league on Saturday, the Washington Spirit (7 p.m. | TV: Paramount+). It's a team they just played one week ago, in the NWSL Challenge Cup. While those lineups were heavily rotated and it being played in D.C., the expectation will be vastly different come matchday.

Despite that, there's still enough from game film that the team can learn from their mistakes a week ago and build into this next match.

"They're [Washington are] on a really good run right now, unbeaten all season," Hines said. "It was a tough game for us, we reviewed and some of the goals are exceptional. And we'll be aware of that. I think it'll be two different teams on the day, from what we saw in the Challenge Cup. But we're on a good run as well. So we have to be mindful of them and they have to be mindful of us. We're at home, we're in front of our own fans and we're looking to continue this momentum that we've put together."

"It's a big game for all of us. Being back at home in front of our own fans, we're looking to get three points, obviously," Pride coach Seb Hines says of Saturday's match.

Over the last few NWSL matches for the Pride, the coaching staff has gone with a consistent lineup three games running. That includes in-form goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse, who has put up consistent performances in those matches. The last two she's started have been clean sheets, which have been helping with the goalkeeper's confidence.

"For a goalkeeper, clean sheets is what we want, it gives us confidence," she said. "Even if you're playing well and you're conceding goals, it's kind of always hard. So getting clean sheets and two clean sheets in a row is always really good."

A major factor in her consistency in goal has been the backline in front of her. A pairing of veteran Megan Montefusco and rookie Emily Madril, framed between veteran fullbacks Haley McCutcheon and Kylie Strom have been influential in breaking up attacks and stifling key opposition.

"Just having the same players in front builds trust between us," Moorhouse said. "We know how each other play, we know our strengths, we know our weaknesses, and we can build off each other and just know what the other person is going to do. It's really good."

Orlando Pride (2-4-1, 7 points) vs. Washington Spirit (4-0-3, 15 points)

When: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Where: Exploria Stadium, Orlando

TV: Paramount+ (subscription required)

Tickets: View seats

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