WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 10, 2023) – The Orlando Pride (0-1-1, 1 point) fell 4-2 to the host Washington Spirit (1-1-0, 3 points) on Wednesday night, in what marked the second match of the 2023 UKG Challenge Cup for both teams. With a heavily rotated lineup, the Pride took the lead early in the match and, despite falling behind in the first half, nearly rallied to an equalizer but a late insurance goal from the Spirit sealed all three points for the home side.
The night saw the first-ever career starts for three Pride players in rookies Amanda Allen and Brianna Martinez, as well as second-year player Haley Bugeja.
Rookie Tori Hansen scored the opening goal for the Pride, the first of her professional career, with Ally Watt adding the team’s second, her second over as many Challenge Cup matches. Midfielder Summer Yates earned the assist on Watt’s goal, with the pair combining previously in the Club’s opening Challenge Cup match for a score.
10’ Tori Hansen – ORL 1, WAS 0
The Pride took the early lead off the corner kick, leading to a loose ball in the box that eventually fell to the foot of Tori Hansen, who flicked it in with the back heel for her first professional goal.
33’ Lena Silano – ORL 1, WAS 1
The Spirit leveled thanks to a ball that was blocked by the Pride defense, eventually landing outside the area for Lena Silano, who cut it to her right foot before slotting her shot into the far post from right outside the box.
38’ Sam Staab – WAS 2, ORL 1
The home side took the lead off a free kick from the right edge of the area, with Sam Staab sending in a curler straight to the far post.
42’ Marissa Sheva (Chloe Ricketts) – WAS 3, ORL 1
Washington added to its lead with another effort from outside the box, this time coming at the left edge of the area off a strike from Marissa Sheva that sailed into the right top corner of the net.
49’ Ally Watt (Summer Yates) - WAS 3, ORL 2
The Pride halved the deficit shortly after halftime, with Summer Yates winning the ball at midfield and fending off her defender before sending a long ball over the top for a running Ally Watt. Watt sped by a Washington defender and took a touch before sending her shot into the bottom right corner for the finish.
90+4’ Ashley Sanchez (Riley Tanner) - WAS 4, ORL 2
With the Pride pushing for an equalizer, the home side added an insurance goal late after intercepting a clearance from Kaylie Collins, which came with the goalkeeper outside of the penalty area. Sanchez took a quick touch then fired into the vacant net for the final goal of the match.
Head Coach Seb Hines:
“Disappointed, you never want to lose a game by four goals. It’s a hard one because we took a lead, Tori [Hansen] scored a terrific goal, and you go one-nil up early in the game. You’re looking for the team to manage it from that moment and I don’t think we did; I don’t think we managed the game too well. I think we showed a little bit of naivety within the team and we allowed them to get back into it. The goals, I’m disappointed, I don’t know how many goals they’ll score like that in the season let alone in one game. But we have to learn from it, we had a really young team [tonight], a team that hadn’t played together [before]. Again, we use every game as a learning moment for us so we’ll review it and ultimately be better come the next game.”
- Defender Tori Hansen scored her first professional goal in the match in what served as her second start for the Pride.
- Ally Watt netted her second goal of the Challenge Cup, combining with Summer Yates for the second time on the finish in the competition.
- Midfielder Kerry Abello sported the captain’s armband for the first time with the Club since being selected by the Pride at the 2021 NWSL Draft.
- Forwards Amanda Allen and Haley Bugeja, and defender Brianna Martinez each earned their first starts as members of the Pride.
- Defender Celia and midfielder Thais Reiss both made their 2023 debuts with the starts on the night.
- Head Coach Seb Hines rolled out an entirely new lineup for Wednesday’s match, rotating his full starting XI from last Saturday’s win against Racing Louisville.
Orlando Pride return to action on Sunday, traveling to face NJ/NY Gotham FC on May 14 in a 5:30 p.m. ET kickoff at Red Bull Arena. That match is set to be locally televised on FOX35 PLUS in addition to Paramount+ domestically and NWSLSoccer.com internationally.