Pride Win First Friendly

MELBOURNE, Fla. - March 19, 2016 - Orlando Pride started its inaugural season with a commanding performance, picking up a 8-0 win against 2015 NJCAA National Runner-Up Eastern Florida State College in front of a soldout crowd at Titan Soccer Complex on Saturday afternoon. Despite inclement weather, the Pride, and Pride supporters, showed up in full-force for the historic match - the Pride’s first of four preseason contests.

“The first thing, most importantly, is to thank Eastern Florida State for allowing us to come to this fantastic facility and play a game,” said Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni.  “It was a good first game for us - we’ve only been in camp for five days. It was an ideal ‘first up’ game for us.”
In fitting fashion, U.S. Women’s National Team forward Alex Morgan scored the first-ever goal for Orlando Pride - putting the team ahead in the fourth minute on a penalty kick. Morgan created the opportunity, weaving through the Titan defensive before being fouled inside the 18-yard box. She then stepped up and calmly slotted the ball into the left side of the net for the game’s first score.

Morgan made it 2-0 in the 11th minute, after a flicked header by Sarah Hagen. The forward used her speed to poke the ball past the Titans’ goalkeeper and into the net on a backheel to earn the brace.

Kristen Edmonds, who has primarily featured as a defender in her first two NWSL seasons, collected a brace of her own with two goals in just two minutes. First, at the 17-minute mark, Edmonds found herself in perfect position to collect a deft touch from Morgan, wasting no time and firing the ball in. The midfielder then scored in a similar fashion in the 19th minute, capitalizing on a loose ball in the penalty area.

With just two training sessions under her belt, center defender Monica Hickmann Alves got into the mix, scoring on a strong header in the 25th minute. Morgan then closed the half with another two for Orlando, ending her night after 50 minutes and four goals.

The Pride opened the second half with a new-look lineup, with only Morgan, Ashlyn Harris and Toni Pressley the lone carryovers from the first 45. The trio, however, was quickly substituted out and the Pride finished the remainder of the match with a mix of 2016 Draftees, trialists and substitutes.

Allie Wisner, a trialist out of the University of Utah, added the Pride’s eighth and final goal, beating Eastern Florida’s Asmara Holmes in the 49th minute.

“Anytime we can get out and get a competitive 11v11 game, it’s always valuable to us and it helps the general cohesion [of the team],” Sermanni added.  “Players are getting used to each other, players are getting used to what other players do around them, and that’s been really beneficial today.”

The Pride will next face the University of Florida on Tuesday, March 22 in a closed-door match. Orlando opens its inaugural National Women’s Soccer League season on April 17 at Portland Thorns FC and has its first home match on April 23 against the Houston Dash.
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