Orlando Pride

💬 Orlando Pride prepared for crucial playoff position battle with San Diego Wave

Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines

On what he’s expecting from the match

It is another exciting and competitive game and comes around quickly. The highs of our last performance and we are right back at it on Friday against San Diego who are a good team. They are in the playoff position that we want to be in, so we expect nothing less than a competitive game. We will be more than ready for it.

On how he is keeping the team balanced after Sunday's big win

You look at the performance, it was probably one of our most well-rounded performances, certainly since I’ve been here. Everything came together. Defensively we were very strong and we executed in our finishing as well. So that was pleasing. I think it’s just keeping the players driven and hungry. Again, we’re not in the position that we want to be in, we’re still below that [playoff] line. So yeah, there’s a real incentive to keep pushing and keep getting better each week.

On how he pushes the importance of this game with the team

That [win in San Diego] was a really big turning point for us. obviously, the start of the season didn’t go the way that we wanted and so to go to their place in front of their fans and in a hostile environment and get three points was massive for us. But again, the focus is on ourselves and our goals and what we want to achieve towards the end of the year. we don’t want to just say we had a good season, we beat some of the top teams, we don’t want to be remembered for that. We want to reach the goals that we set out for the start of the year. Again, it’s another game that we feel we have a great chance of winning. So I think the players are still driven, we as staff are driven. We want to keep getting better and the players have raised a really high standard, and we want to keep that standard high, regardless of who we play.

On the competitiveness between players for starting roles

There’s not a lot between them. You can look around the whole team and we know what we have here and everyone’s fighting for a starting position. Players are fighting to be on the bench. It’s a difficult position that I’m in and there are fine margins between all positions within the team. And that’s great. It’s a competitive environment. For Kayla [Cluff] to come in and make such an impact off the bench was amazing for her and the team because it can be disappointing [not starting]. I’ve been in that position, the staff have been in that position, where you’ve started in a couple of games and then you’re left on the bench and how much can you make an impact? She did really well when she came on to get a goal and the assist was tremendous. You look at that forward line as well, you take Messiah Bright off and put [Mariana] Larroquette on and she gets a goal. So, it’s really pleasing to see that every player has to stay on their toes because they know what’s behind them, and I think that that could be the recipe for us to get over that line that we want.

On what she expects from the match

We obviously know what kind of team they are: very direct team, like to get in behind, lots of pace up top and a high pressing team. So we’re just preparing for them as we would any other game and we’re ready for the matchup.

On scoring in the last match

It always feels good to score a goal and contribute in different ways. but I think the game in itself just kind of spoke to what we’re capable of here, I think things just kind of came together for us. When things are flowing good like that, it’s a good feeling, and it just shows what we’ve put all this hard work into and comes as a result.

On how the result helps coming out of the break

It’s always good when coming off a game like that, just because sometimes you can play really well but the scoreline doesn’t necessarily reflect that. So it’s nice to feel rewarded for our good play and be able to take that into the next game. It’s a huge confidence builder and it’s just big for momentum all around. And we just carry that same energy through training this week and prepare the same way for Friday and then expect the same result.

On the impact of the World Cup players

I mean, they have such a big presence. I think all of us look up to them and in many ways, and I think they just elevate the standard around here both in training and matchday. So it’s great just to have more people to push us all to elevate the game for the team as a whole and perform together.

On how she approaches starting vs. coming off the bench

I try to approach every game the same way regardless of if I’m in the starting lineup or not, try to always be ready whether my time comes coming off the bench, or, like I said, starting. So I try to be prepared and know that I have an opportunity to contribute either way. And, also, there’s just a lot of energy that can come from the bench as well. In the team, it’s a team win, whether you’re on the field coming off the bench or on the bench the whole game. But I think it’s just important to contribute in any way that we can and win as a team and lose as a team.