They Said It

💬 Emily Sams: 'It's a great feeling' scoring first NWSL goal in win over Seattle Reign FC

Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines

Opening Statement

“I think most importantly, the win and a win away from home, as well. It’s something we talked about last year, picking up more points away from home. I thought the first 43 minutes of the game we were really good. I thought we played some terrific football, played some good lines, caused Seattle a lot of problems. And to concede so late on in the first half is something that we need to reflect and review moving forward. The second half, it was a grind. It was great determination, getting through that adversity, as well, [after] conceding so early in the second half to come back and get that third goal was really important for us. We just continued that momentum. It’s now seven wins on the run, which is really nice. It’s pleasing to see that everything has started to come together but we have a lot of room to continue to improve.”

On the growth that the team has shown over the last year to be where they are

“[It’s] massive. Going into this game today, we spoke to the players about how we felt two years ago, coming here and losing and Seattle winning the Shield. Those memories stick in your mind. There were some players who were here at that point, and they felt today was a great opportunity to come back here, in Seattle, and get three points. So they used that as fuel. Of course we’ve come a long way, a lot of credit has to go to the players, because of their personality and the character that they’ve shown this year. There’s a lot that’s gone against us and they’ve just continued to work and grind it out and be together in every moment. So I’m really pleased with the character within this seven-game stretch and, even going back to last year, losing the first four games in 2023 was not easy, but after that we went on a good run and so we’ve just continued that. It’s nice to say that it’s continuing and we’re not done yet. We want to go out on Friday in front of our fans and make it eight. So there’s a lot of excitement around this team.”

On having scored in every game so far this season

“Goals win games so we make it a priority of ours to score. Whether it's the first goal or our last goal, you have to put yourself in areas to score the goal. So getting the early goal really settled the team down I thought. We played some really good football today. I was really pleased with the football and how we used everyone in our build up, the character and personality and desire to try and play, even in this environment where it's difficult to come and get anything. They [the players] showed what they're capable of doing and it takes everyone to buy into it. I think Seattle's first goal really changed the emphasis of the game because I felt if we got that third one that got disallowed, I think we would have been talking very differently at the end of the game.”

Orlando Pride Defender Rafaelle

Opening Statement on earning the team’s first win in Seattle

“I didn't know that was the first win. I think it was a hard game, a tough game. But I think with the first half that we played, we deserved that win, that three points. I think what we showed in the first half led us to get the win.”

On the emotions of conceding close to both sides of the half

“I feel like it was a mental game. Because after conceding in the first half, and conceding again in the beginning of second half, it was just mental. I think we just proved that we're ready. We're really strong mentally. Then what are we going to take from this game? I think mentally we deserve to win because of what we've been through in this game. It showed us how strong we are.”

On having the opportunity to set the league’s win streak in front of fans on Friday

“That's really important. I think first we're going to think about this game and see what we did wrong. And then, we're going to fix it for the next game. I think going home and playing at home in front of our fans, and to [possibly] be able to break that record, we're going to give everything. I feel like we deserve it. We have been proving how strong we are, and we're just going to do that on [Friday] and go from there. I think that thing [being at home] is going to push us a little harder to break that record next game.”

Orlando Pride Defender Emily Sams

Opening Statement

“I think the first half was definitely the better half. We did well, got those two goals but [Seattle] putting in that goal at the very end [of the first half], gave them some momentum. Then I think the second half, we kind of let our standards drop and we had to fight for that win. But we got the win and that's amazing, shows our character. So obviously we're satisfied with that.”

On her first NWSL goal

“I just wanted to support the play and it just happened to fall to me and I just took my chance and I scored.”

On being able to set the tone with the opening goal

“I mean, it's a great feeling. Of course, as a defender, we take a lot of pride in keeping the goals out so it was kind of fun to be on the other side of it and my goal to be the first one on scoresheet. And then, it being my first goal, it was just a lot of fun.”

On having the opportunity to set the league’s win streak in front of fans on Friday

“It's going be a great game. I think we'll be really psyched for it. I mean, it's an honor and a privilege to try to break that record and to be able to do it at home in front of our fans. I think it'll be easy to be really excited for that and against a top opponent. But again, we're just trying to not focus so much on the records and just focus on getting those three points every weekend and stay at the top of the table.”