Orlando Pride (0-1-1, 1 point) vs. Gotham FC (1-0-1, 4 points)
When: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Red Bull Arena, Harrison, New Jersey
TV: CBS Sports Network
As the Orlando Pride prepare for their third Challenge Cup match of the season, here are five storylines to watch during Wednesday's UKG Challenge Cup match against Gotham FC:
Stepping up to the Challenge
On Wednesday, the Pride square off against the UKG Challenge Cup East Division leader, NJ/NY Gotham FC. The match up will serve as the Club's third match of the Challenge Cup and the first match up between the clubs throughout the tournament. Across all competitions, the Pride are unbeaten in their last six matches on the road at Gotham, the team’s longest away unbeaten streak against any opponent. With a win, Orlando would jump into a tie for first place in the East Division.
The Pride have a quick turnaround for the midweek match against Gotham. The match will serve as their second match in five days and will mark the end of a three-game road span. On Saturday, the Club will return to Exploria Stadium for one game to host the Portland Thorns for the first time in the 2023 regular season before traveling to North Carolina.
A Strom Month of May
On Monday, Pride defender Kylie Strom was announced as a member of the league’s Best XI for the month of May. Over the month, Strom led all NWSL defenders with three Big Chances created, duels (53) and duels won (29). The Boston University product also totaled 320 touches, 13 clearances and 5 interceptions to go along with her game-winning goal on May 20. That goal at Exploria Stadium led the Pride over the Washington Spirit and handed the visitors their first loss of the 2023 NWSL season.
Playing For Keep(er)s
Goalkeepers Carly Nelson and Kaylie Collins have each recorded one appearance in between the sticks during the Challenge Cup, making Anna Moorhouse the only Pride netminder yet to step on the pitch during the tournament this year. Collins led the Pride to a draw in the Challenge Cup opener against North Carolina while Collins guarded the net in the loss at Washington. In 2022, Moorhouse made three appearances throughout the tournament, while Collins recorded one.
Forward Ally Watt has scored in both of the first two matches of the UKG Challenge Cup for the Pride. Watt scored her first goal of the campaign against the North Carolina Courage in the second half of the match with an assist from forward Summer Yates, who tallied her first assist with the Pride during her rookie year. The duo worked their magic again during the second leg of the UKG Challenge Cup against the Washington Spirit, combining once again in the second half of the match.
Saturday's matchup against the Houston Dash saw Spaniard Celia record her first appearance with the Pride during regular season play and her second appearance across the 2023 campaign. Celia stepped onto the pitch in the 67th minute, subbing in for midfielder Mikayla Cluff. In 2022, Celia made 18 appearances, earning the start in 17 matches. Celia notched her first appearance with the start during the Pride’s first match-up against the Washington Spirit during the second leg of the Challenge Cup playing 76 minutes of the match.