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Orlando Pride returned to Camping World Stadium on Saturday night to host Sky Blue FC in the second leg of a home-and-home series. The two teams played just three days prior, drawing 1-1 at Rutgers University, but this time the New Jersey-based team took a deserved three points by a 2-1 margin.
A dull first half came to life in the 44th minute when Alex Morgan was taken down 30 yards out and the Pride were awarded a free kick. Kristen Edmonds, a New Jersey native, curled a shot over Sky Blue’s five-player wall, into the upper 90 and beyond the reach of goalkeeper Caroline Casey to give the home side the lead.
The Pride took the one-goal lead into half time for the second-straight game against the Sky Blue, but Sam Kerr grabbed the equalizer in the 49th minute. Kerr collected a ball outside the box and drove into the penalty area without a challenge before slotting home past Ashlyn Harris in the Pride goal.
Maya Hayes then gave Sky Blue the lead five minutes later as she found herself clear to net a rebound after Harris had made the initial save from her shot.
Looking to create the well-known Orlando City SC late-game magic, Sermanni introduced Laura Alleway in the 79th minute, pushing the 5-10 defender up the field. It was Alleway’s first game with the Pride since June 26, missing four matches for the Rio Olympics–then returning with a quad injury. The Australian center back came close to scoring her first goal of the season in stoppage time, finding herself open from a cross from Morgan, but could only head wide.
“Obviously at halftime, we were quite happy. I thought the game was fairly even in the first half, and we got the opportunity and scored. We came out for the second half feeling quite confident and quite comfortable,” said Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni. “Almost a carbon copy of the goal Sky Blue scored against us in mid-week, happened early in the second half despite our best efforts. We struggled to break them down from there. The last 10-15 minutes, the effort from the players was great.”
Orlando will have a week off next week due to international matches and returns to Camping World Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 24, for its season finale against FC Kansas City where they will need to play much better if they are to stand any chance of taking the points.
Tickets for the 5 p.m. ET kickoff game can be purchased at orlando-pride.com or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.
Orlando Pride: Ashlyn Harris; Josée Bélanger (Toni Pressley 38’), Monica, Kaylyn Kyle Cami Levin; Lisa De Vanna (Jamia Fields 61’), Kristen Edmonds, Dani Weatherholt (Laura Alleway 79’), Jasmyne Spencer; Alex Morgan, Sarah Hagen
Substitutes Not Used: Kaitlyn Savage; Sam Witteman, Maddy Evans; Christina Burkenroad
Sky Blue FC: Caroline Casey; Erica Skroski, Kristin Grubka, Christie Rampone, Erin Simon; Sam Kerr, Sarah Killion, Raquel Rodriguez, Maya Hayes (Shawna Gordon 74’); Kelley O’Hara, Tasha Kai (CoCo Goodson 82’)
Substitutes Not Used: Caroline Stanley; Kelly Conheeney; Kim Decesare, Danielle Schulmann
More photos at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com