Watt Debut Goal Leads Pride to Three Points at Gotham


CHESTER, Pa. (Aug. 20, 2022) — After being acquired just five days ago, forward Ally Watt led the Orlando Pride (5-5-6, 21 points) to a 2-1 win over NJ/NY Gotham FC (4-11-0, 12 points) on Saturday night with her first goal just minutes into her debut. The Pride were also bolstered by a score from defender Celia, who put the Pride ahead just four minutes into the second half. 

With the win, the Pride sit just two points out of playoff position with five games remaining in the regular season. 

Coming into the match in the 64th minute, Watt made an impact almost immediately, taking her defender one-on-one to score the game winner in the 73rd minute. The forward was acquired via trade with the OL Reign on Monday by the Pride in exchange for $125,000 in Allocation Money. Midfielder Meggie Dougherty Howard picked up the assist on the goal, her second of the campaign. 

The win pushed the Pride to seven-straight matches unbeaten, with the team now 3-0-4 over the run. It also marked back-to-back wins for the Pride after earning a 1-0 victory last week in San Diego. 

Goalkeeper Erin McLeod earned her fifth win on the year, making six saves on the night including an important point-blank stop on Paige Monaghan just before the half ended. 

Haley Hanson also made her Pride debut on the night after being acquired by the Pride on Thursday. 

Acting Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines:
“Really, really good performance. We knew it was going to be difficult, playing away from home it’s never an easy game but we were going to stick to our principles and our style of play. We spoke to the players about just playing, enjoy it, just go out. Some of it was first class, it was brilliant and that’s what we’re asking for. To see it out all the way to the end of the game, it was terrific…Every game right now is massive. I’ve said it from the start, we’re not settled with where we’re at. We want to be in playoffs and this is another big step to where we want to be.” 

Scoring Recap:

49’ Celia - ORL 1, NJNY 0
The Pride got on the board minutes into the second half after building down the left hand side. After Celia’s initial header attempt fell in the box, the defender continued to clean up and sent the ball into the back of the net with her left foot. 

73’ Ally Watt (Meggie Dougherty Howard) - ORL 2, NJNY 0
Debutant Ally Watt put the Pride ahead just minutes into her appearance, a goal that would prove to be the game-winner in the 73rd minute. After a chipped pass over the top from Meggie Dougherty Howard, Watt took her defender one-on-one, driving to the right side before tucking a tight-angle shot inside the far post and in. 

75’ Kristie Mewis (Naho Kawasumi) - ORL 2, NJNY 1
The home side pulled one back just two minutes after Watt’s goal, with Naho Kawasumi finding Kristie Mewis in the box, who headed one home for the consolation goal. 

Match Notes:

  • Ally Watt scored in her Pride debut on Saturday, putting the Pride up 2-0 in the 73rd minute on a strong individual effort. 
  • Celia scored her second goal of the season, previously picking up her first on July 31 at Kansas City. 
  • Meggie Dougherty Howard picked up her second assist of the season, providing the helper on Watt’s game-winner. 
  • Defender Haley Hanson and forward Ally Watt made their Orlando Pride debuts on Saturday, entering the match in the 57th and 64th minute, respectively. Hanson was acquired by the Pride on Thursday via trade with the Houston Dash while Watt was picked up via trade with the OL Reign on Monday. 
  • The Pride totaled 17 shots on the night, a season high for the Club, with eight shots on target which tied a season high. 
  • Erin McLeod made six saves on the night, tying her season high and marking her eighth match of the regular season with five or more saves. 
  • Seb Hines made no changes to his Starting XI on Saturday, playing the same lineup as in the Pride’s 1-0 win over San Diego last week. 

Next Match: The Pride return home on Friday, Aug. 26, hosting west coast side OL Reign at Exploria Stadium in a 7 p.m. ET kickoff.