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Orlando Pride (2-2-0, 6 points) picked up a commanding win on Sunday evening, defeating reigning NWSL Shield winner Seattle Reign FC 2-0 in front of 8,211 fans at Camping World Stadium, formerly known as the Orlando Citrus Bowl, on Mother’s Day.
With the win, the Pride remain unbeaten at home, while goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris (pictured below) and the defense earned their first clean sheet in Club history. The match also provided the first goal of the season for forward Sarah Hagen (pictured above) in purple.
“I’m delighted with the win, especially delighted with the clean sheet. [Seattle] is a very formidable team; they play a really good brand of possession soccer,” said Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni. “We knew, particularly in hot weather today, that we were going to be extended both physically and mentally against them. I thought our players coped with the conditions and the quality of Seattle really well and limited their opportunities. Their first shot on goal was [in the 82nd minute] so I think that’s a measure of how well our defensive discipline was.”
Hagen put the home side up 1-0 in the 12th minute, connecting with Alex Morgan, in her second-straight start. Centerback Laura Alleway started the play with a long outlet to Morgan, with the forward springing free behind the Reign backline on the left. The U.S. Women’s National Team allocation took some time, before sending a perfectly-placed cross to Hagen who was waiting on the back post to head the ball past 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Golden Glove winner Hope Solo (pictured below.)
Sanderson replaced Hagen in the 57th minute and made a contribution reminiscent of the Pride’s first match in Orlando, sparking her team with a goal in the 87th minute that secured three points for the Club.
Morgan was involved in the final goal as well, after she forced Solo into a tough save that saw the ball carom out to Sanderson. The London native quickly pounced on the loose ball and finished into the open net. It was Sanderson’s second goal of the season.
The Pride backline, which has been one its strongest features through the first four weeks, held the Reign to just two shots on goal with the first coming at the 82-minute mark.
Racking up nine shots on the night, the Pride were in control of possession for most of the evening, putting constant pressure on the Reign defense and earning a season-high 10 corner kicks.
The Pride close out a two-game home stand on Saturday, May 14, when the Western New York Flash visit Camping World Stadium for a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff.
Orlando Pride – Ashlyn Harris; Josee Belanger (Cami Levin 64’), Laura Alleway, Monica, Steph Catley; Sam Witteman, Kristen Edmonds, Kaylyn Kyle (Becky Edwards 88’), Jasmyne Spencer; Sarah Hagen (Lianne Sanderson 57’), Alex Morgan
Substitutes Not Used: Aubrey Bledsoe; Maddy Evans, Toni Pressley; Jamia Fields
Seattle Reign – Hope Solo; Carson Pickett, Lauren Barnes, Rachel Corsie, Kendall Fletcher (Michelle Cruz 69’), Elli Reed; Kim Little, Keelin Winters, Merritt Mathias (Havana Solaun 80’); Beverly Yanez, Manon Melis (Lindsay Elston 65’)
Substitutes Not Used: Haley Kopmeyer; Paige Neilson; Kiersten Dallstream
More photos at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com