GAINESVILLE, Fla. - March 22, 2016 - Just three days after its first match of the 2016 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) preseason, Orlando Pride returned to action, facing the University of Florida in Gainesville on Tuesday afternoon. The NWSL’s newest team continued its strong start to the season, beating the Gators 5-1 behind braces from both Alex Morgan and 2016 draftee Christina Burkenroad.
“I was very pleased by the level of play from the team today against a highly-competitive Florida team,” said Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni. “Today was a great test for our club and everyone who was on the pitch went out, worked hard and we came away with a great result.”
Morgan, a U.S. Women’s National Team allocation, continued her impressive start to 2016, scoring her fifth and sixth goals of the preseason in the affair.
With the teams playing three, 30-minute periods, Morgan opened scoring in the match in the 37th minute and tallied again in the 54th minute, bookending a Sarah Hagen goal. Burkenroad, who was drafted No. 15 overall in the 2016 NWSL College Draft, entered as a substitute in the final stanza and added the Pride’s final two goals.
After scoring four goals in her debut with Orlando Pride on Saturday, Morgan looked to open the scoring in the 19th minute, collecting a blocked Jasmyne Spencer shot in the penalty box and firing a quick shot at Gator goalkeeper Valerie Tysinger. However, Tysinger was able to hold the game scoreless, coming up with a point-blank save and parrying the ball away.
Hagen had a chance of her own shortly after, collecting a through ball from Morgan, traveling through the left side of the box and trying a crafty outside of the foot chip but she was unable to get enough power on the shot.
The duo of Spencer and Morgan wouldn’t be denied, eventually combining for the Pride’s first goal of the afternoon. After Toni Pressley blocked away a through-ball effort from the Gators, Spencer used her speed and strength to maintain possession for the Pride and found Morgan on a run through the middle. Behind the defense, Morgan took one touch before sending the ball past Tysinger seven minutes into the second period.
Hagen doubled the Pride lead after Lianne Sanderson put a fantastic test on net from distance, forcing the Gator ‘keeper into a punching save on the far post. Crashing the net, Hagen was able to pounce on the ball and make the score 2-0 in the 51st minute.
Morgan added her second goal of the night three minutes later, driving down the left side of the box and firing a shot into the far sidenetting.
With a new-look 11 on the pitch for the last 30 minutes, Burkenroad scored two more goals for the visiting Club, first putting home a pass from trialist Allie Wisner and later hammering in a loose ball off a corner kick.
Tuesday’s match also marked the first appearance of the preseason for the Pride’s Canadian internationals, with Kaylyn Kyle starting the match and Josée Bélanger entering for the final period - her first time playing with the Pride.
Florida pulled a goal back in the final moments, with Pamela Begic scoring from long distance just before the final whistle blew.
Orlando will play two more preseason matches, facing the University of South Florida on March 30 and Florida State on April 2. The Club opens its inaugural 2016 NWSL season on the road, traveling to Portland Thorns FC on April 17 before hosting the Houston Dash on April 23 in its first home match.
Season tickets for the Pride are currently available starting at $15 per game. To purchase season tickets, fans can call 855-ORL-CITY or visit: www.orlando-pride.com/tickets. Single match tickets go on sale on Wednesday, March 23 at 10 a.m. and can be purchased at www.orlando-pride.com/singlegametickets.
The full 2016 Pride schedule is now available at www.orlando-pride.com/schedule.
|Univ. of Florida||0||0||1||1|
|1||37||Orland Pride||Alex Morgan||Jasmyne Spencer|
|2||51||Orland Pride||Sarah Hagen|
|3||54||Orland Pride||Alex Morgan|
|4||64||Orland Pride||Christina Burkenroad||Allie Wisner|
|5||85||Orland Pride||Christina Burkenroad|
|6||90||Univ. of Florida||Pamela Bigic|
Orlando Pride - Ashlyn Harris (Aubrey Bledsoe 61’); Kristen Edmonds (Sierra Lelii** 75’), Monica Hickmann Alves (Dani Weatherholt* 61’), Toni Pressley (Jackie Simpson** 61’); Cami Levin (Leah Fortune** 61’), Kaylyn Kyle (Maddy Evans 46’), Becky Edwards (Sam Witteman* 61’), Lianne Sanderson (Josée Bélanger 61’), Jasmyne Spencer (Jamia Fields 46’, Kim Reynolds 85’); Alex Morgan (Allie Wisner** 57’), Sarah Hagen (Christina Burkenroad* 61’)
Substitutes Not Used: Chelsea Leiva**
*2016 NWSL Draft Pick