They Said It

💬 Messiah Bright: Pride 'playing as a unit' in dominant win over the Red Stars

Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines

Opening statement  

“The players were brilliant today from start to finish and the intensity of how they did everything from attacking to defending. We talked heavily about taking our opportunities and end products in the final third and they were brilliant. I can’t speak highly enough of them. We've felt like that performance has been coming, but it's nice to finally get a good scoreline at the end of it.” 

On the players returning from the World Cup and the impact they have on the team 

“It's massive. They've come in and they've settled in really well. Obviously, Rafa is a world-class center half and she's been threatening in her career off of set pieces. And it's nice to get that early goal, nice for her to get that goal early [in her Pride career] on as well. But just [she’s] so comfortable in possession and out of possession. So yeah, for her to settle in and get a goal and a clean sheet is pretty remarkable. And same for [Mariana] Larroquette, coming in and you can see the hunger that she brings to try and score every moment. She wants to score. And like I said, they fit in really well to the group and what we expect from them.” 

On if this win puts the league on notice in playoff chase 

“Who knows, I mean, it's up to them. We’ve said it all season that we're a dark horse. You know, there was not a lot of expectation around this team [from the outside]. We're here to prove people wrong, we're here to stake a claim in this league. We've shown performances against some of the bigger teams that we can challenge them in 90 minutes. And then, today, obviously after the break we knew that we had to carry the momentum that we showed after the Seattle game and keep that going all the way to the end. It's not going to be easy. It's a difficult run of games, a lot of traveling, but you can see that there's a real togetherness within the group and they're hungry for more wins.”

Orlando Pride Defender Emily Madril

Opening statement 

“I think the team put on a great performance tonight. I'm personally more happy with the zero [goals allowed] than I am the five [goals scored], always feels good to get a clean sheet. And I think it's great that the new girls came in and made an immediate impact. I think Rafa and [Mariana] Larro[quette] did a great job. And it's nice to have Marta and Adri[ana] back and just finding our groove again with the whole team back.” 

On adjusting to playing on the right with Rafaelle instead of on the left 

“I like the right side because I'm right footed. So it's a little bit easier for me, but either side is fine for me and, yeah, building that relationship with Haley [McCutcheon] I think I've gone back and forth a couple of times throughout the season, so it's nothing new for us. Playing with Rafa was great. I mean, you can see, she raises the level in the backline and I look up to her already as a role model, you know? She just came back from the World Cup so I'm trying to see all the little things that she does try to improve my game. So, you can see, she made an immediate impact and we locked it down tonight.” 

On how the early goals from Rafaelle and Messiah Bright set the tone 

“I think we've had games before where we've had those chances in the first 15, 20 minutes and we haven't put them away. Then it just puts more pressure on us to try to get that goal and then  we'd have to work harder to just get those goals. So I think it's great to get those two goals early so we can calm down and play more composed soccer and keep the ball and have Chicago chase the whole time because they had to chase for 90 minutes. So, yeah, I think it was great.”

Orlando Pride Forward Messiah Bright

Opening statement 

“I'm feeling really good. I've been searching for that career brace for a minute now. So, it was pretty good to just get that. I was actually aiming for a hat trick but, take it one game at a time. I'm just happy with the team's performance and how we played so well together. And that's what Seb [Hines] said at the beginning of the game, just playing as a group and playing as a unit and I feel like we did that tonight.” 

On her first goal of the match 

“I think when you just think about it in the moment, think is just picking your moments. Usually, I'm more of an attacking player that looks to go in box. I was just trusting myself with my shot and knowing that I do have the range to kick it outside of the 18-yard box as well, so I just took a chance. Just really had a good technique on it and just hoping it went in.” 

On if she’s paying attention to the Golden Boot race 

“I mean, yeah, anything is possible. You never, I never, really knew where I was going to be joining the league. So anything is possible. I'm down to chase anything as a rookie, first year [player]. So I'm all about setting trends and setting goals. And I'm just happy to just be a part of it and have my teammates along with me.”

Orlando Pride (7-8-1, 22 points) vs San Diego Wave (7-6-3, 24 points)

When: Friday, 7:00 p.m.

Where: Exploria Stadium, Orlando, Fla.

TV: Paramount+ (subscription required)