The Orlando Pride picked up a massive three points on the road against Sky Blue FC last night. Goals from Chioma Ubogagu, Marta, then a late game-winner from rookie forward Rachel Hill earned Orlando a 3-2 victory.
Marta, the Pride’s focal playmaker, created problems for Sky Blue FC all night long. Her natural ability - combined with her innate longing for victory - has been setting her apart from the competition for over a decade.
“Brazilians are like that,” a grinning Tom Sermanni said in his interview after the win.
The Pride head coach, along with soccer fans all over the planet, have marveled at Marta’s ability to consistently produce at the highest level for so many years.
“There’s nobody more passionate about playing than Brazilians and Marta leads the way with that. She’s an absolute consummate professional and she plays for 90 minutes every game. She’s such a good player. She understands the game, she rarely makes a poor decision, she’s got a knack of being able to read the game before other players.”
In the 77th minute, Marta netted her sixth goal of the season to level the match at 2-2.
As time was winding down in the 86th minute, it looked as though Tom Sermanni’s side would leave New Jersey with a hard-fought point.
Second half substitute Rachel Hill had other ideas.
Hill, the rookie out of UCONN, stole the headlines with her emphatic 86th minute game-winning header. The play started with some clever work by Marta who slipped a through pass for Stef Catley down the left. The Aussie whipped in a cross which Hill leaped for and clinically headed into the back of the Sky Blue net.
A delighted Rachel Hill was interviewed after the match and, among other things, she talked about the thrill of scoring her first NWSL goal:
“I knew at some point it would come - when that day was I didn’t know - but to have it be in front of all my friends and family, and for it to be the game-winner, I couldn’t have pictured it any better.”
Three points for the Pride means the team now sits fifth place in the NWSL standings. Orlando takes on Christen Press and the second place Chicago Red Stars this Saturday at Orlando City Stadium in what promises to be a highly-competitive match-up.