Orlando Pride (2-4-0, 6 points) at Gotham FC (4-2-0, 12 points)
When: Sunday, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Red Bull Arena, Harrison, N.J.
TV: FOX35 PLUS, Paramount+
With the Orlando Pride heading back to NWSL league play, here are six storylines to watch out for during their match against Gotham FC:
Tar (Back) Heel
Pride defender Tori Hansen scored her first professional goal in the Club’s last match against the Washington Spirit in the UKG NWSL Challenge Cup. The 2023 draft pick got the Pride on the board after the ball fell to her in the box and she flicked it with her back heel into the net. The University of North Carolina product also earned the second start of her career in the match and played the full 90 minutes.
Forward Ally Watt recorded her second goal of the season in the match against the Spirit shortly after halftime. All of Watt’s goals so far this season have come in the Challenge Cup, after she found the back of the net in a 1-1 draw against the North Carolina Courage in the Club’s opening match of the tournament. Midfielder Summer Yates picked up the assist and has provided the helper on both of Watt’s goals this season. The duo both lead the Challenge Cup in their respective categories with Watt being tied for the team’s golden boot and Yates sitting all by herself as the leading assist holder, so far.
The match against NJ/NY Gotham FC will serve as the Club’s third game in the last nine days across all competitions. With the busy schedule, it has allowed Head Coach Seb Hines to go into the depth of his team and give some minutes to a number of players. The match against the Spirit saw three players earn their first start for the Club with Amanda Allen, Haley Bugeja and Brianna Martinez all getting the nod in the Starting XI. Defender Celia and midfielder Thais Reiss both made their 2023 debuts, also earning a spot in the starting lineup.
The Pride are unbeaten in their last five trips to NJ/NY Gotham FC. The Club’s last road loss to Gotham came back on September 8, 2018. Their most recent trip to play Gotham was a match played in Philadelphia at Subaru Park and resulted in a 2-1 victory for the Pride. The team was backed by goals from Celia and Ally Watt, with the latter making her debut for the Club in the match, coming on as a second-half substitute and scoring just minutes in.
Returning to NWSL regular season play, the Pride will look to extend their winning streak to three games against Gotham. The team’s most recent road trip in the regular season resulted in a 3-1 win over the San Diego Wave at Snapdragon Stadium. The match saw Mikayla Cluff, Haley McCutcheon and Adriana all find the back of the net. The Pride followed that win up by returning home to Exploria Stadium and earning a 1-0 victory over Racing Louisville behind a goal by Messiah Bright and goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse making seven saves to preserve the team’s first clean sheet of the season.
Pride midfielder Erika Tymrak is the only player in league history to record an assist in every regular season. Through the first four games of the year, Tymrak has two assists, one against Angel City FC and one against San Diego. Additionally, should Tymrak score one goal this year and add one more assist, she will increase her career totals to 20 goals and 20 assists, becoming just the 12th player in league history to accomplish that feat.
- Erika Tymrak is one appearance away from 175 across all NWSL competitions and three from 50 with the Pride.
- Haley McCutcheon is eight appearances away from 100 in the regular season across her NWSL career.
- Marta is 11 appearances from across 100 in her NWSL career, all with the Pride.
- Megan Montefusco is nine appearances away from 175 across all NWSL competitions.
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