A SERIES OF FORTUNATE EVENTS
While the Pride were on international break, eight Orlando players represented their respective national teams in the Tournament of Nations. Ashlyn Harris and Alex Morgan suited up for the U.S. WNT. Morgan recorded a hat-trick against Japan, a goal against Brazil and started as the team’s captain in all three matches to help the United States win the tournament; Harris did not appear. Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond both appeared for Australia. Kennedy scored for the Matildas in the final match against Japan. The Pride’s quartet of Brazilians, Camila, Marta, Mônica and Poliana, all made appearances for the Seleção. Marta scored a goal in the second match against Japan.
THE IRON LADIES
With Toni Pressley’s goal against Seattle Reign FC, she became the 10th player to score a goal for the Pride this season. Her goal earned her the Goal of the Week award as voted by fans, marking the team’s sixth time winning the award this season and the third in a row. In 2017, Pride players were awarded the honor seven times, the most in the league, and with five matches remaining this season, the Pride once again have the most Goal of the Week wins.
OUT OF ORLANDO
If she plays on Sunday against Sky Blue FC, mid elder Dani Weatherholt will make her 50th NWSL and Orlando Pride appearance. Weatherholt was drafted 31st overall by Orlando Pride in the 2016 College Draft and is the only player drafted by Orlando from that class to still be with the Club. Weatherholt has scored two goals and had one assist in her career.
BIG LITTLE STAT LINES
With five games remaining, the Pride rank in the top three in several categories, including goals scored, assists and shots on goal. The team has the second-most assists this season with 18, the third-most goals with 27 and the third-most shots with 197. In 2017, the Pride led the league in all three categories.
Entering Sunday’s match, Orlando Pride defender Shelina Zadorsky is the only Pride player to have been in Tom Sermanni’s lineup for every minute and one of seven players in the league to have played every minute this season. Zadorsky is also tied with North Carolina Courage defender Abby Erceg for the most consecutive minutes this season with 1,710. Since joining the Pride on Jan. 23, the defender has assisted on two goals in 19 appearances.
MAMMA MARTA! HERE WE GO AGAIN
Last week Orlando Pride forward Marta was shortlisted for 2018 FIFA Women’s The Best award, given to the World Player of the Year. The forward is one of three players in the league to receive the nomination and the only one from Brazil. She won the previous iteration of the award five consecutive years from 2006 to 2010, the most in women’s soccer and is tied with Lionel Messi for the most all-time. In the years before and following her reign as FIFA Women’s Player of the Year, she finished second in the standings four times and third in the standings twice. Megan Rapinoe of Seattle Reign FC and Sam Kerr of the Chicago Red Stars represent the league alongside Marta as this year’s nominees.
THE DEVIL WEARS BLUE
This match will mark the seventh time the two clubs face each other, with the Pride owning a 3-2-1 all-time record against Sky Blue FC. Orlando won the last meeting 3-2, riding Sydney Leroux’s second brace of the season and forward Rachel Hill’s fourth goal of the year. On Sept. 12, 2017, Orlando defeated Sky Blue 5-0 to set a Club record for goals scored in a single match, a record that has since been matched once, and the greatest goal differential. The match saw Alex Morgan and Marta both record a brace and Dani Weatherholt score her first goal for the Pride.