Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines
On the matchup
"They have had some success with winning the Challenge Cup. They’ll have some good momentum and high spirits but as always, we have to focus on ourselves. We’ve lost our last two games, but the performance has been good obviously there have been different circumstances, but the performances have been pretty consistent all season. We want to continue to make this a difficult environment to play in and we are playing against arguably the best footballing team in the league. It’ll be a really good challenge for us, but our mindset is to win every game that comes toward us."
On if its advantage that North Carolina is coming off of a game last week
"I mean, it's mixed, right? Because since we played our last game, they've had two games, some tough games, obviously. A final, emotions are high after winning a final also. So, yeah, we would have liked to have played them games but it also gives us an opportunity to reset, look at ourselves, look at areas that we need to improve on. And, you know, the spirits are high, still a competitive environment, even in training, it's competitive. So we're in a really good place right now and we're all looking forward to the game on Sunday."
On having games ahead against playoff contenders
"It feels like everyone's in a similar situation. Obviously, some teams are higher [in the standings] than others but, right now, I feel like every game is a final. Doesn't matter where you are in the standings. So it should be an exciting end to the season, it probably hasn't happened since the league started. But, for us, it's a challenging game [on Sunday]. We're excited, we want to go out there and put a performance in front of our fans. We know we've got the support of our fans and as long as the players go out there and give 110%, I think that transfers to the fans and the excitement around the fans. If we get to the end of the season, where everything relies on that last game will fully thrive in that moment versus Houston at home."
On if the team is paying attention to other results around the league
"I don't think we're quite there yet. I think there's still some games, there's still a lot of points left on the table. Obviously, we'll watch games that are playing before us and analyze them, but the focus is on ourselves. We still hold our own destiny, we're not quite relying on other teams. You can see that everyone can beat everyone in this league. So, again, the main focus is what we do on Sunday versus North Carolina."
On the importance of the fans in the remaining two home games
"Massive. I've said it from the start, making [Exploria Stadium] a hostile environment, a place that's difficult to play in for the opposing team. So having the backing of the fans, being that 12th player pushing the players on, it's going to be vitally important that we get as many fans into the stadium as possible to really encourage the players to go above and beyond what they've done all season. And if that's the case, it should transfer into a positive result for all of us. So yeah, we want to bring the excitement back to Exploria. We want to bring fans into the stadium. And I think everyone can see the players putting so much work into it and hopefully they'll get the result and the fans will want to come back and watch the last game of the season where the stakes are still high to get in playoffs."
Orlando Pride Defender Emily Madril
On what type of game she expects
"I think they're a great opponent. We've played against them three other times, so we know them pretty well and I think we know that we have to be really, really good in that game and be very on defensively and then take our chances in the attack."
On how she has adapted to playing with Rafaelle
"It's been really good. I mean, she's a world-class player, and it's been awesome playing with her. She's got so much experience, so just trying to learn from her and I think she's come in and made a great impact already on the team. She's gelled perfectly with the team, so it's been great."
On what needs to improve on the offensive end
"You know the last game, going down a man, that's not easy. And then the game before that we gave away two set-piece goals. So I think tidying up those details, and I think we've had chances in both games. So, like I said, just take advantage of those chances and make sure that we're being ruthless in front of our attacking goal."
On the mentality of the team with four games remaining
"I mean, we have to win all four games, we want to make it to playoffs. And so I think that's what's on everyone's mind right now, and that's the goal for everyone, is to just get three points in all the rest of the games and try to make that final push for playoffs."
On the importance of the fans in the final games
"It's amazing. Every time we get those fans, they're with us, and they're yelling at the refs, encouraging us to play even harder. So, yeah, the fans mean everything to us and we love playing at home. So these last two home games are going to be really crucial."