Preview: Orlando Pride host North Carolina Courage on Saturday
ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - Orlando Pride (0-6-1, 1 point) host the North Carolina Courage (2-2-3, 9 points) on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET at Orlando City Stadium. The match will be nationally streamed on Yahoo! Sports. International fans can tune in on NWSLsoccer.com.
“They’re a good team, I think they’re hurting a bit at the minute, but they’re the championship team for a reason,” Head Coach Marc Skinner said of Saturday’s opposition. “They know how to win, they know how to come back from disappointing results. I think what we’re trying to get with this [Pride] team is that they want to take on anyone and that’s all I can ask. I think they’ll be ready to take on North Carolina, I think they’ll want to beat North Carolina. They want to go and beat them and I think that’s the character that we’re trying to create and I know we’re starting to get there.”
The Pride fell at Utah Royals FC last Saturday 2-0, after goals from Amy Rodriguez and Makenzy Doniak in the 31st and 89th minutes, respectively. Rodriguez converted from the penalty spot to give the home side the lead and Doniak put the game away late as the Pride were hit on the counter pressuring for an equalizer.
The Courage enter Saturday’s contest after a 2-1 loss to Reign FC on Monday. The Reign scored early in the first half via a strong header from Bethany Balcer in the 13th minute and then tacked on another when Shea Groom capitalized on an error from NC’s keeper Katelyn Rowland in the 86th minute. Abby Erceg pulled one back for the Courage in the 89th, but the rally for the visiting side came up short.
The Courage are without their top goal scorer in Crystal Dunn, who is with the U.S. WNT for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France this summer. Despite that, North Carolina has plenty of firepower as the team is tied for first in the NWSL in goals scored with 13. Among active players, Lynn Williams leads the Courage with three goals, while three other players have a goal apiece.
Saturday’s match will be the second between the two clubs this season, with the Pride looking to avenge a 5-0 loss at WakeMed Soccer Park on April 17. The Pride travel to North Carolina once more for a match in Cary, N.C. on September 14.
Following Saturday’s contest, the Pride will have two weeks off as the FIFA Women’s World Cup break begins. The tournament kicks off on June 7. The Pride will return to action on Saturday, June 15, when they travel to Houston for the second time this season.