Pressley Returns to the Pitch in Pride’s 2-2 Draw Against Reign FC

Pressley Returns to the Pitch in Pride’s 2-2 Draw Against Reign FC

ORLANDO, Fla. (Oct. 12, 2019) - Orlando Pride (4-16-4, 16 points) earned a 2-2 draw against Reign FC (10-6-8, 38 points) on Saturday night at Exploria Stadium. The match saw Pride defender Toni Pressley make her return to the field for the first time since undergoing treatment for breast cancer, entering the match in the 72nd minute in the Club’s first ever Breast Cancer Awareness Match.

Forwards Rachel Hill and Marta scored for the Pride in the match, with the latter’s 86th-minute finish serving as the late equalizer.

During halftime of the match, the Club announced that over $40,000 has been raised for Libby’s Legacy, an Orlando-based nonprofit that provides breast cancer resources to the underserved. The total accounts for the league-wide auction that ran over the last month, as well as merchandise and ticket sales proceeds. A final total will be announced at a later date. 

Orlando Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner:
“I’m really proud of them tonight. We were woeful against Washington and tonight we were aggressive, we were front foot. We conceded two goals, which we’re not happy with of course, but I think for the first time the stats represent what I felt the game was like...but tonight absolutely belongs to Toni [Pressley] and the amazing woman she is. I’m so glad the girls fought hard for her and for anybody that has suffered or will suffer from breast cancer. I think that it’s tremendous, tremendous that we have superwomen in terms of they have the ability to face that, come back and aggressively take on the challenge. I’m so, so proud of the girls fighting for that tonight and I haven’t got the words to express just how I feel about Toni because she’s Wonder Woman, so I suppose I’ll use that.”

Scoring Recap:

24’ Rachel Hill (Claire Emslie) - ORL 1, RFC 0
The Pride took the lead early with Claire Emslie sending a through ball in behind the Reign defense for Rachel Hill, who dribbled around Reign goalkeeper Casey Murphy before slotting home the finish.

34’ Darian Jenkins (Steph Catley) ORL 1, RFC 1
The Reign equalized with Steph Catley getting on the end of a deflected clearance by the Pride and whipping in a cross from the left side of the area, finding the head of Darian Jenkins at the far post for the score.

41’ Jodie Taylor (Rumi Utsugi) - RFC 2, ORL 1
The visitors took the lead after Rumi Utsugi sent a ball in from the left side that found Jodie Taylor at the edge of the penalty box. Taylor dribbled her way around the Pride defense before firing a left-footed shot into the back of the net.

86’ Marta - ORL 2, RFC 2
The Pride leveled the match once more off of a corner kick from the left side that deflected off the head of a Reign defender out to the edge of the box, falling to the foot of Marta who fired off a low, driving shot with her first touch into the near post. 

Match Notes:

  • Toni Pressley recorded her first appearance since undergoing treatment for breast cancer in August, entering the match in the 72nd minute for Julie King.
  • Marta extended her team lead in goals to finish out the season, scoring her sixth of 2019 to level the two sides in the 86th minute. 
  • Rachel Hill scored her fourth goal of the season with her finish in the 24th minute, trailing only Marta on the year with six.
  • The Pride were forced into a substitution before the end of the first half, with Claire Emslie leaving the match in the 45th minute with an injury.
  • Saturday’s match served as the Club’s first Breast Cancer Awareness match, with the match bolstered by a league-wide auction to benefit Libby’s Legacy that raised over $40,000 for the Orlando-based non-profit. 
  • The draw served as the fourth-consecutive for the Pride against the Reign at home, dating back to 2017. It was the seventh all-time stalemate between the two sides. 
  • The Pride finished with 22 shots in the match, the most recorded in a single game during the 2019 season.