Orlando Pride (0-1-1, 1 point) vs. Gotham FC (1-0-1, 4 points)
When: Sunday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Exploria Stadium, Orlando, Fla
TV: Paramount+ (subscription required)
With the Pride getting back to action, here are six things to watch for on Sunday night:
Florida’s First Messi
In the Pride’s last match, Messiah Bright netted the fourth goal of her career, leading the Pride to victory against OL Reign and becoming the NWSL current rookie scoring leader of the 2023 campaign. Bright has appeared in 14 of the Pride’s regular season matches and in both of their UKG Challenge Cup matches, totaling 1,131 minutes on the pitch. With four goals under her belt, Bright became the highest-scoring rookie in Pride’s history while also earning NWSL Player of the Week honors, becoming the second Pride player in a row to earn the title after Julie Doyle did the same the previous week.
This week's UKG Challenge Cup match against NJ/NY Gotham FC serves as the Pride’s first match during the NWSL regular season break which takes place from July 9th until August 18th. The Pride will play three more Challenge Cup matches during the break where they will square off against North Carolina Courage and the Washington Spirit during the final leg of the group stage, in addition to another meeting with Gotham.
Coming in Hot
Forward Julie Doyle’s last match saw her record her first assist of the season and of her professional career on Messiah Bright’s game-winning goal. Doyle, who has appeared in nine matches, now totals two goals and one assist after recording a brace against the Washington Spirit on July 1, securing the Pride’s win.
Playing For Keep(er)s
Goalkeepers Carly Nelson and Kaylie Collins have each recorded one appearance between the sticks during the Challenge Cup, making Anna Moorhouse the only Pride netminder yet to step on the pitch during the tournament this year. Nelson led the Pride to a draw in the Challenge Cup opener against North Carolina, while Collins guarded the net in the loss at Washington. In 2022, Moorhouse made three appearances throughout the tournament, while Collins recorded one.
Moor Clean Sheets
Goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse logged her second-consecutive shutout win and fourth clean sheet of her NWSL career in the side’s last outing against OL Reign. Moorhouse has stepped onto the pitch 13 times and is currently ranked second across the league in saves (56), coming just one save shy of Louisville’s Katie Lund who leads at 57.
Forward Ally Watt has scored in both of the Pride’s previous two matches of the UKG Challenge Cup. Watt scored her first goal of the campaign against the North Carolina Courage in the second half of the match with an assist from forward Summer Yates, who tallied her first assist with the Pride during her rookie year. The duo worked their magic again during the second leg of the UKG Challenge Cup against the Washington Spirit, combining once again in the second half of the match.
- Defender Megan Montefusco is one appearance away from her 175th across all NWSL competitions
- Defender Haley McCutcheon is two appearances away from 125 across all NWSL competitions
- Forward Ally Watt is one appearance away from 50 across all NWSL competitions