ORLANDO, Fla. (April 2, 2016) - Orlando Pride played its final preseason match on Saturday afternoon against NCAA opponent Florida State at the Orlando Citrus Bowl that was called after 32 minutes due to lightning.
Despite the shortened match, the Pride played a high-level and productive game, with Lianne Sanderson scoring in the 24th minute - the lone goal of the day.
“I think of all the preseason games we’ve played, today was the day when we looked like we stepped up a gear,” Orlando Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said after the match. “I thought our passing was good, I thought our movement was good, I thought our tempo was good. I’m just really disappointed the game finished after 32 minutes.”
Sanderson’s goal came after the midfielder found herself in the right place at the right time, collecting a deflected Jasmyne Spencer shot just outside the six-yard box and burying it into the left side of the net.
The Pride controlled possession for most of the half hour, producing its first scoring chance four minutes in. This time, it was Sanderson providing the service, as Sarah Hagen’s header attempt nearly created an early goal but was stopped by the crossbar.
Canadian defender Josée Bélanger also got into the offensive mix, running onto a ball laid off in the penalty area but her shot went wide of the net.
Playing with a four-back defensive line, the Pride were able to hold the Seminoles without a score and limited chances on net. Ireland native Megan Connolly gave Aubrey Bledsoe her a test in the 23nd minute, firing a hard shot from the right side but the Wake Forest product was able to make an acrobatic save, securing the ball while midair. Connelly forced Bledsoe into another save minutes later with an inswinging set piece, but the goalkeeper made a great move to come off her line and punch the ball away.
After a 4-0-0 preseason record which saw the Pride outscore opponents 17-1 in the friendlies, the Club will now turn its attention to preparing for its first-ever National Women’s Soccer League match on April 17 in Portland.
Tickets to the Pride’s April 23 home opener against the Houston Dash are on sale now and can be purchased at orlando-pride.com/singlegametickets.
Orlando Pride - Aubrey Bledsoe; Josée Bélanger, Laura Alleway, Monica, Steph Catley; Becky Edwards, Kaylyn Kyle, Lianne Sanderson; Sam Witteman*, Sarah Hagen, Jasmyne Spencer
Substitutes Not Used: Julia Kantor**; Kristen Edmonds, Maddy Evans, Cami Levin, Toni Pressley, Jackie Simpson**; Leah Fortune**, Sierra Lelii**, Dani Weatherholt*; Christina Burkenroad*, Jamia Fields, Allie Wisner**
*2016 NWSL Draft Pick