Orlando Pride (0-3-1, 1 point) vs Washington Spirit (2-3-0, 6 points)
When: Friday, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Exploria Stadium, Orlando, Fla.
With the Pride back at home this Friday for another UKG Challenge Cup match, here are five things to watch for:
Playing with Spirit
Friday’s match will serve as the fourth game between the two sides so far this season. The Pride hold a 2-1-0 record against the Spirit this season, with both their wins coming in regular season play. In the most recent match, the Pride walked out of Audi Field with three points following a 3-0 win. The Pride were backed by a brace from forward Julie Doyle as well as a Spirit own goal. In the other regular season matchup, Kylie Strom provided the game winning goal with a 77th minute finish to earn a 2-1 victory.
The Pride have seen a multitude of players appear in their four UKG Challenge Cup run. Every player on the roster, aside from Marta, has seen the field during Challenge Cup play. The Pride have also had two players make their professional debut in the Challenge Cup in Tori Hansen and Maliah Morris, while also providing valuable minutes to their young core, including rookies Messiah Bright and Summer Yates, who has appeared in every Challenge Cup game so far.
Back in Friendly Confines
The Pride are set to return home to Exploria Stadium for their match against the Spirit. Turning over to the NWSL regular season, the Pride are just one of four teams to record at least four wins at home so far in the 2023 campaign. The four home wins are already the most the Club has had since their 2017 season, when they recorded six.
A Dependable Ally
Forward Ally Watt leads the Pride in minutes played in the UKG Challenge Cup. She has appeared in all four matches, making the start of three of them. Watt is one of four Pride players to appear in every Challenge Cup game. She also leads the team in goals scored, shots and shots on goal during Challenge Cup play.
World Cup Update
All three of Pride’s Brazilian internationals earned the start in their final group stage match of the World Cup. They drew Jamaica 0-0 and in combination with other results, were knocked out of the World Cup. The match served as the final World Cup game that Marta will play in, finishing off a record sixth World Cup appearance in her historical career. Recent Pride signing Mariana Larroquette and Argentina were also eliminated from the World Cup, following a 2-0 loss to Sweden.
- Defender Haley McCutcheon is two appearances away from 125 across all NWSL competitions.
- McCutcheon also is two appearances away from 25 as a member of the Pride, having joined midway through the 2022 season.
- Forward Julie Doyle is one appearance away from 30 in her professional career.