Match Preview | Orlando Pride Open 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup at Racing Louisville

Match Preview | Orlando Pride Open 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup at Racing Louisville

 
ORLANDO, Fla. (April. 9, 2021) - The Orlando Pride begins competitive play in the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup on Saturday, April 10 with a visit to the league’s newest expansion side, Racing Louisville FC. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET at Lynn Family Stadium.

The match will be broadcast on Paramount+, with international viewers able to watch on Twitch. The contest will also mark the first time the Pride will play in front of fans since the end of the 2019 NWSL campaign, with Lynn Family Stadium open to a limited number of spectators for Saturday’s fixture.

“It’s a unique situation in terms of you have to try and predict rather than prepare for. How many times do you play a team when you’ve never seen any video on them?,” Marc Skinner said ahead of Saturday’s match. “It’s a unique situation for them, [Louisville has] a great opportunity to play at home and get up and running, so we have to be prepared for all of that. We welcome the challenge of that. What it does do is let us see how quickly we can adapt to something we’re not used to.”

The Pride return to the pitch with several new faces on the roster, many of which are looking to make their NWSL debuts such as defenders Ali Riley and Phoebe McClernon, midfielders Jade Moore and Taylor Kornieck, as well as forward Abi Kim. FIFA World Cup Champions Ashlyn Harris, Ali Krieger and Sydney Leroux along with six-time FIFA World Player of the Year Marta will each be available for the Challenge Cup, while two-time FIFA World Cup Champion Alex Morgan will miss the start while away on international duty along with midfielder Gunny Jónsdóttir and goalkeeper Erin McLeod.

In addition, those returning to the roster are 2020 NWSL College Draft selections Courtney Petersen, Konya Plummer and Chelsee Washington. With the signing of Kim this past offseason, six of Skinner’s seven selections in that very draft have been signed by the Club. After joining the Pride for the Fall Series a year ago, defenders Carrie Lawrence and Ally Haran have too received full contracts for the coming season.

Saturday will serve as the inaugural match between the Pride and Racing Louisville FC, as the Kentucky-based side serves as one of two franchises to begin play this year, along with Kansas City NWSL.

Louisville Head Coach Christy Holly makes his return to the NWSL for the first time since 2017 with a 22-player roster highlighted up top by forwards Yuki Nagasato and Savannah McCaskill, acquired via trade with Chicago this past offseason. At the middle features UNC-alum Taylor Otto along with former Courage midfielder Lauren Milliet. Fellow Tar Heels Emily Fox and Julia Ashley will anchor the backline along with Addisyn Merrick and Erin Simon, with former Reign goalkeeper Michelle Betos expected to start between the posts.

Following Saturday’s match, the Pride will return home for two-consecutive contests, first set to host Gotham FC, formerly known as Sky Blue FC, at Exploria Stadium on Wednesday, April 14 before welcoming the Washington Spirit a week later. Tickets for both of those matches are available at Orlando-Pride.com or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.
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