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Orlando Pride earned its third-straight shutout from Kristen Edmonds’ (pictured above) first career National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) goal as the Pride defeated host Houston Dash 1-0 on Friday night. It was the first away win for the Pride (4-2-2, 12 points) this season and third-consecutive win, bumping the Club into second place in the NWSL as of Friday night.
“I thought the first half we were lacking a little bit of energy and couldn’t get close enough to Houston, but we did well. We kept our discipline, we kept hanging in, we kept doing what was necessary to come [into halftime] nil-nil,” said Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni. “I thought our second-half performance was better. I thought we showed more energy, we competed better, we started getting more territory and started creating a few more chances. As long as we keep the clean sheet, I know we’re a team that’s going to eventually create a chance [in the game]. So tonight was a great, gritty, determined away win.”
After 81 scoreless minutes, Edmonds broke through with the game-winner on a shot from the top of the arch, beating Williams with a perfectly-placed strike that nicked the underside of the crossbar and fell into the net. Lianne Sanderson, in her second start of the year, found Edmonds with a pass across the field into open space, allowing the third-year veteran space and time to find the shot.
“Kristen Edmonds is having a stellar season and further enhanced that season with a stellar goal,” Sermanni added.
The two clubs entered halftime in a 0-0 stalemate, as they did in their first meeting on April 23 in Orlando. The Pride totaled three shots in the half, putting much pressure on the Dash defense but could not find the back of the net.
The Club’s best chance of the first half came in the 14th minute when Kaylyn Kyle intercepted the ball in midfield and found Alex Morgan up top. Morgan played a quick give-and-go with Lianne Sanderson before sending a cross into the middle for Becky Edwards but the midfielder could not connect against her former squad as Andressa applied pressure.
But, like that first meeting, it was the second half that proved to be the difference as the Pride were able to score in the second 45.
Defender Toni Pressley earned her first start of the season against her former team, paired with Monica at center back. Monica, who was originally slotted in the midfield, was forced to drop back onto the defensive line after Laura Alleway sustained a groin injury in warmup. Midfielders Becky Edwards and Kaylyn Kyle, who both previously played for the Dash, were also a part of the opening XI.
With the clean sheet, goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris and the Pride defense extended its shutout streak to 295 minutes, with the last goal against coming on May 1 in Chicago.
Harris faced five shots in the match, including a second-half chance from Stephanie Ochs from inside the box that she was able to punch away.
The Pride will remain on the road for three more matches, first traveling to face FC Kansas City at 8:30 p.m. ET on May 28. At the conclusion of the team’s current four-game road trip, Orlando returns to Camping World Stadium on June 23 to host the Dash for the third time this season.
Orlando Pride: Ashlyn Harris; Josée Bélanger, Monica Hickmann Alves, Toni Pressley, Steph Catley; Becky Edwards, Lianne Sanderson (Maddy Evans 86’), Kaylyn Kyle (Sam Witteman 56’); Kristen Edmonds, Alex Morgan, Jasmyne Spencer (Jamia Fields 76’)
Substitutes Not Used: Aubrey Bledsoe; Dani Weatherholt; Christina Burkenroad
Houston Dash – Lydia Williams; Poliana, Cari Roccaro, Rebecca Moros, Allysha Chapman (Amber Brooks 84’); Denise O’Sullivan, Morgan Brian, Andressa; Janine Beckie (Stephanie Ochs 57’), Rachel Daly, Kealia Ohai (Chioma Ubogagu 67’)
Substitutes Not Used: Bianca Henninger; Ellie Brush; Cami Privett; Caity Heap