Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines
On what he expects to see in the match
"We’re feeling good. We’ve had a couple of training sessions since the trip from LA to Louisville. They feel ready to go. It’s one game, and that’s what it comes down to. We’ve put ourselves in a terrific position, and yeah, we are going to leave everything out on the field, and that should be enough."
On if the players understand the current “playoff” mentality
"You have the highs of, you know, winning against LA in their environment and walking away with three points, and then, against Louisville, we put ourselves in a terrific position, and ultimately, we let ourselves down with the goals that we’ve conceded, but maybe it wasn’t meant to be. Maybe it was a chance for us to win at home in front of our fans, in front of the whole staff and [have] everyone be around for this moment. So that’s very much the message, that’s very much our mindset. It’s a game. We’ve played Houston before, we’ve played at home before, I don’t want to put added pressure on the players. We want them to play with freedom because again, a lot of people wrote us off at the start of the year and for us to be in a position where we’re going into the last game of the season with a fighting chance to get into playoffs, is massive for this group. You see the progression and development that they’ve shown. The maturity that they’ve shown throughout the season has been really important. so I’m super proud of all of them. It’s been a real team performance from staff to players and we’re all excited for Sunday. It should be a great day for everyone."
On what the current standings say about the competitiveness of the league
"It’s exciting, right? You know, we were moments away from being in a third-place position, but we’re still stuck in seventh, which is fine. Again, we’re going into the last game knowing that we have to win. But yeah, the league has been super competitive. It’s probably been the most competitive season for NWSL history. I think a lot of compliments have to go to the players and the coaches. Anyone can beat anyone on a day, and that’s the excitement of the league. It’s whoever shows up on that day and gets the three points so yeah, a lot of compliments for the coaches throughout the league and the players throughout the league. It’s probably not happened in this manner where everyone really doesn’t know what position they’re going to finish in the season. So we have to control the controllables, which is ourselves, and it’s just nice that we’re going into the final game at home in front of our own fans."
Orlando Pride Captain Marta
On how the team feels ahead of the match
"We feel good. We know it [isn’t] going to be an easy game, but it’s a huge opportunity for us to go to playoffs in front of our fans. It’s the last game [of] the season, at home, so yeah, we’re going to do everything to get that."
On the opportunity to make the playoffs again after doing it in 2017
"Yeah, it’s big for us because if you think about every single year, people don’t give credit a lot to Orlando Pride. So, yeah, we have a young team with a lot of talented players, and I don’t think they still realize that we have a chance to go to the playoffs. We work on that, we talk a lot, and we’re going to be prepared to do everything and take the spot in the in the playoffs."
On if the stakes gives more energy to the players
"For me? Yes. I don’t know what the other players think about it, but I like that situation. You know, this shows how competitive the NWSL is and everybody still has a chance, it’s still so exciting. And it’s the first time like we’re going have the last round [decision day] and everything is going to happen. It’s nice to be in this situation and I hope we enjoy it a lot and at the end we can have the result that we want."
On what the close table says about the league
"For us, especially, this shows that we need to play every single game as a final. We had good games against good teams in very hard situations and we got three points. And all the other games where we started good and then looked like it should be a little bit more easy, but it wasn’t. So it just shows that we need to find a balance and try to play every single game as a final now and show a high quality, because look, nothing comes for free for us. So I hope we can show our best game Sunday because I’m really disappointed about the last game against Louisville. We score two goals and then let them get back from that situation. I think some things are important to have, but we can’t just allow teams to do this against us after we work so hard. So I hope we learn [from] that."
Her message to the fans
"We want everybody there in Exploria Stadium, of course. The Orlando community always shows up for us, and right now is a special moment that we need everybody there because we’re going to do this together."