They Said It

💬 Messiah Bright: Pride showed 'strength in game management' in 1-0 win over OL Reign

Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines

Opening statement

It was exciting. The players put a lot of work into that performance today and they got the reward for it. They started the game really fast, on the front foot and put Seattle under pressure straight from kickoff. [We] got an early goal, probably could have scored a couple more if the ball just dropped inside the frame of the goal but they were brilliant from start to finish. That's what it takes to win a game of football in this league.” 
On the strides the team has made to see out these victories 

“Early on, we learned the hard way. It was obviously disappointing because we dropped points early on in the season. You have seen the progression that the players and team have made since that moment. Now we are holding the ball in the corner, seeing it out. We have that determination to not concede and that is brilliant. [We’re] managing games much better. Even just goal kicks in general and slowing the game down and seeing it out. Nine minutes is a long time, especially when you are winning the game 1-0 and the other team is trying to get back into it, but I thought the players did extremely well. You can see their fitness and energy levels going from the start to the end of the game. Subs made an impact as well, which is important. The intensity didn’t drop. Overall, it was a really good performance. You look at the development of the team and how far they’ve come. They’ve got a lot of good momentum right now, so I am really pleased with them and proud of them.” 
On the win carrying momentum into the break 

“You can go two ways right because you have good momentum. You’ve got 6 points the last two games, two clean sheets, four goals. You want the next game to come around quickly, but I think the players deserve this time off now. It’s important for them to reset their batteries and go again for the last push at the end of the season. There are still a lot of points left on the table. We need to keep moving up the table, as well. It's a competitive league, anyone can beat anyone on their day. Once we come back, we are straight into the Challenge Cup and that is another competition we want to do well in. Like I said, there are a lot of games. Players can recharge, but they know that when they come back, there is going to be that hunger and fight straight within that first training session.”

Orlando Pride Defender Megan Montefusco

On earning the clean sheet

“It's everything and is something we've been talking about and working towards forever. So, to finally see our hard work pay off, not just last game, but this game too, I think it's really exciting and just motivates us even more to keep it going.”

On the team’s defending late in games

“You never want to lose games. I always try to look at that as how can we do better? What can we learn from it? With a young group, I think that was almost the best thing that can happen to us. We've learned through experience and learned the hard way. It is not always the way you want to do it, but honestly, I look back and I am like thankful for it, because you see it tonight. We're so focused, we're so tuned in and locked in during those moments. The anxiety is there, the nerves are there, and you just don't want it to happen again. You have to do anything you can to see the game out. The look on everyone's face was just so motivated to finish out the game because we just wanted to end it and show the crowd and everyone here tonight that we deserve that win and we're not going to let it slide.”

On starting the attack from the back

“It changes every game, but we're looking for different pockets to play into. Obviously, we have some really talented forwards and really fast forwards. If there's an opportunity to play them in behind, I always look for that. Then its also just staying composed. If we can calm our team down on the ball and just move it and shift the defenders to open up space somewhere else, that's what we tried to do. It changes every game though. I mean, we're looking for different things every single time. Tonight, it was in the pockets and into Messiah [Bright] really and she had a lights out game again. The midfield was important tonight with Viviana [Villacorta] and with Mikayla [Cluff] and Kerry [Abello], just in terms of their pressing action, kind of causing problems and then in the middle of it to kind of make things easier for all of us.”

Orlando Pride Forward Messiah Bright

On what she saw on the goal

“Space and opportunity. I was just trying to make sure I stayed within the frame of the goal and making sure that I was in areas to put myself and the team in a position to get the finish. It worked out perfectly. The build-up was perfect, coming from each individual, so I was just happy to get on the frame of it.”

On the chemistry with the frontline

“Yeah, like you said, I think it is just the overall chemistry, being able to play with the same players on the field each and every game. That gives us an opportunity to build and just keep building with each other. I think that [chemistry] is the key to everything.”

On if she considers herself playing with a chip on her shoulder

“I don’t think it’s necessarily a chip on the shoulder anymore. For me personally, it is just my confidence. That has been an area where I’ve been lacking. I am taking this opportunity to just play free and be myself. I think that is working for me perfectly, instead of overthinking everything.”

UKG Challenge Cup: Orlando Pride (0-1-1, 1 point) vs Gotham FC (1-0-1, 4 points)

When: Sunday, July 25, 7:00 p.m.

Where: Exploria Stadium, Orlando, Fla

TV: Paramount+ (subscription required)