A combined 15 players will be absent when the Pride travel to play the Royals on Saturday. Those players, eight from Orlando and seven from Utah, have been called up to their respective national teams in preparation for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France. Between the two teams, six players will represent the United States, while three players will feature for Canada and two players will play for both Australia and Brazil. New Zealand and Scotland will both feature one player from Utah on each respective team. This will be the Pride’s first match without the entirety of their international players.
Defender Toni Pressley scored her first goal of the season against Portland on May 11 in her first appearance of 2019 after being sidelined with an injury to start the season. The Florida State-product used her head to get on the end of a corner from fellow Seminole Carson Pickett to open the scoring in the match. This served as Pressley’s third goal for the Pride, scoring one in each of her previous two seasons in 2017 and 2018. It was also the second goal scored by a center back for Orlando this season after Alanna Kennedy’s bicycle kick against Reign FC on April 21.
Saves on Saves
After her performance two weeks ago, Haley Kopmeyer’s 14 saves through her three appearances this season places her at fifth overall in saves across the NWSL. Her double-save off Caitlin Foord’s penalty kick in the May 11th match against Portland earned her NWSL Save of the Week honors, the second time she has received this accolade as a member of the Pride. The first came last season against her former club, Reign FC, to maintain a scoreless draw between the two sides.
Home Away From Home
Since Utah’s inception into the NWSL last season, the Pride is unbeaten at Rio Tinto Stadium, home of the Royals. Orlando traveled to Utah twice last season, with the Pride drawing, 0-0, in the first matchup and winning, 2-1, in the second meeting of the season. Overall, Orlando is 1-1-2 against Utah, with the lone loss for the Pride coming earlier this season at Orlando City Stadium.
Though Orlando Head Coach Marc Skinner and Utah Head Coach Laura Harvey will be in opposite technical areas on Saturday, it hasn’t always been that way. Skinner and Harvey shared the area years ago when they worked together at Birmingham City Women. The Pride’s head man was Harvey’s assistant for one season. Skinner remained with Birmingham City from 2006 until his appointment in Orlando, while Harvey moved on to coach Arsenal and Seattle Reign FC before moving to Utah.
Welcome to The City Beautiful
On Thursday the Pride added three members to their roster to serve as National Team Replacement Players in defenders Alika Keene and Hana Kerner, as well as midfielder Taylor Porter. A graduate of Harvard University, Keene spent the preseason with the Pride as a non-roster invitee. Porter and Kerner both played at the collegiate level in the Atlantic Coast Conference with Porter attending NC State University and Kerner the University of Virginia. All three will help aid the Pride in the loss of their eight international players to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.