Orlando Pride (6-8-1, 19 points) vs Chicago Red Stars (5-9-1, 16 points)
When: Sunday, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Exploria Stadium, Orlando, Fla.
TV: Paramount+ (subscription required)
As the Pride get back to league play at Exploria Stadium this weekend, here are six things to watch for:
Diving into the Regular Season
After a month-long break, the Pride return to regular season play this Sunday and are set to host the Chicago Red Stars. The match will serve as their second encounter with the Bridgeview-based side, with the first resulting in a 1-0 loss for the Club. Prior to the break, the Pride ended the first half of the season on a high note, taking a 1-0 victory over OL Reign at Exploria Stadium on July 7.
Raising the Bar
In her debut year, forward Messiah Bright notched her fifth goal of the season across all competitions and her first in Challenge Cup play, further extending her lead as the top goal-scorer on the team of the 2023 campaign. Throughout the campaign, Bright has recorded a total of 38 shots across 21 appearances coming in behind Brazilian International Adriana who currently leads the team with 45 attempts in all competitions.
Back from Down Under
Brazilians Marta, Adriana and Rafaelle, as well as Argentinian Mariana Larroquette, have all returned to the Pride from international duty where they represented their countries during the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup hosted in Australia and New Zealand. Adriana earned the start for the Seleção in all three of the group stage matches along with Rafaelle, who also started all three matches. Marta made three appearances and earned the start in one match before the country was eliminated in the group stage of the tournament, Marta’s final World Cup. Larroquette also played in all three group stage matches for Argentina, her second career World Cup appearance.
Playing with Pride
Upon returning from the international break, the Pride welcomes two new players to the Club. Brazilian defender Rafaelle and Argentine forward Mariana Larroquette enter the fold as the newest members of the Pride. Rafaelle joins the Club after spending the 2022 season at Arsenal of the Women’s Super League, where she logged 22 appearances and netted three goals. Larroquette spent one year at Club León of the Liga MX Femenil side, where she totaled 26 appearances and scored nine goals.
Madril in the Middle
Entering into the final seven matches of the season, rookie defender Emily Madril remains the only Pride player to have played every possible minute thus far this season. The Florida State University product has totaled 1,350 minutes this season and is the only 2023 NWSL Draft selection to have played every minute. Madril ranks first on the Pride in blocks (10), recoveries (124) and possession won in the defensive third (82), as well as second in clearances (43) and dribble success rate (70.0%)
Lending a Helper
Defender Kerry Abello tallied her first assist of the 2023 season adding a helper on Messiah Bright’s finish in the Pride’s last UKG Challenge Cup match vs. Gotham. Abello’s assist served as her second as a member of the Pride with the first also occurring during Challenge Cup play in 2022. Abello joined the Pride in 2022 and has since logged 43 appearances with the Club. This season, she has totaled 18 appearances, earning the start in 13 matches.
- Forward Marta is five appearances away from 100 across all competitions as a member of the Pride. The Brazilian is on track to become the first Pride player to hit the century mark milestone for the Club.
- Marta’s next goal will mark her 30th while with the Club.
- Celia is one appearance away from 30 appearances with the Pride and three appearances away from 50 across all NWSL regular seasons.
- Kylie Strom is one appearance away from 50 all-time NWSL regular season appearances.