Chicago Red Stars defeat Orlando Pride in crunch match

Orlando Pride failed to rescue their season as they lost 3-1 to Chicago Red Stars in front of 5,016 fans at Orlando City Stadium on Saturday evening.

In a winner takes all clash, Chicago outplayed and out-muscled Orlando as Sam Kerr (2) and Vanessa DiBernardo gave the visitors a 3-0 lead within the hour. Alex Morgan pulled one back but it was too little too late for a Pride side who can now only rue a wretched season that has failed to see them make the end of season play offs.

“Where to start… where to start,” Orlando Pride coach Tom Sermanni said in his post-match press conference.“To be honest, a little bit embarrassed by the performance tonight, if I’m being frank. Fundamental aspects of our game that should be an automatic are not an automatic. If you can’t go out and sort of match effort and willingness and work rate and organization and pick up some of the soccer cues that we should be picking up and be able to run, you’re going to struggle in this league. I think it’s been the story of the season that we’re kind of a team that seems to be waiting about for something to happen, whereas all the other teams we play roll their sleeves up and get out there and get on with it and make things happen.”

Red Stars forward Samantha Kerr opened the scoring in the 44th minute after repeatedly getting in behind the Pride’s back line. It seemed the Pride weren’t going to be happy until she scored as she wasted several other opportunities before receiving a through ball from Yuki Nagasato and calmly firing her shot past Orlando goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris.

Two minutes later, in the first minute of first half stoppage time, Kerr turned provider as she made her way to the end line and cut the ball back for midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo, who had a simple tap in to double the Red Stars’ lead.

Worse was to come for the Pride as Kerr notched her brace in the 59th minute as she pounced on a defensive mistake in the penalty area and delivered a right footed finish past a bewildered Harris.  At this stage it looked like the Red Stars would score every time they went forward but the home side managed to grab a goal back in the 65th minute as Alex Morgan headed home a Marta cross from the left side.

The Pride will play its season finale on Saturday, Sept. 8, at Sky Blue FC. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. ET.

Lineups/Substitutions:

Chicago Red Stars Lineup: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 5-Katie Naughton, 3-Arin Gilliland, 8-Julie Ertz (capt.), 6-Casey Short; 24-Danielle Colaprico, 10 Vanessa DiBernardo (22-Rosie White, 91+4), 4-Alyssa Mautz (15-Michele Vasconcelos, 73), 13-Morgan Brian; 12-Yuki Nagasato (2-Nikki Stanton, 86), 20-Sam Kerr
Substitutes: 14-Sarah Gorden, 21-Emily Boyd, 23-Brooke Elby, 25-Erin Yenney
Head Coach: Rory Dames

Orlando Pride Lineup: 24-Ashlyn Harris (capt.); 12-Kristen Edmonds (15-Rachel Hill, 54), 11-Ali Krieger, 16-Carson Pickett (7-Christine Nairn, 71), 4-Shelina Zadorsky,; 14-Alanna Kennedy, 17-Dani Weatherhold, 9-Camila (21-Monica, 64); 10-Marta, 13-Alex Morgan, 6-Chioma Ubogagu
Substitutes: 3-Toni Pressley, 5-Emily van Egmond, 8-Danica Evans, 28-Haley Kopmeyer
Head Coach: Tom Sermanni

Attendance: 5,016

More photos at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com

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