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In true Orlando City fashion, Orlando Pride continued its home unbeaten streak with a stoppage time goal from Jasmyne Spencer to give the Pride a 1-0 victory over the Houston Dash at Camping World Stadium on Thursday night.
“It was great to see [Jasmyne] get her first goal. She’s worked really hard for it so I was really, really delighted for her,” said Orlando Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni. “It feels good [to be undefeated at home] but it’ll feel even better if we still are after Sunday[‘s match against Portland].”
Spencer entered the match in the 68th minute and was the spark the Pride needed, connecting on a one-timed chip from Sarah Hagen late in the match – her first goal of the season.
After a flurry of chances for the Dash on the other end, Spencer started the Pride on a break, sending captain Alex Morgan wide to the left. Morgan crossed the ball back to the middle, with Spencer electing to let the ball roll through to Jamia Fields, who earned her first start of the season on Thursday night. Fields danced in the box, eventually dropping off to Hagen who wasted no time, finding her fellow forward unmarked in the middle for the lone goal of the match.
Finally back in front of their home fans, the Pride jumped out of the gates, keeping the Dash backline on its toes with three shots from Morgan within the first 12 minutes.
Just two minutes in, Kristen Edmonds chipped a ball over the defense and Morgan was on the other end, but her half volley went just wide of the net. Then, in the 11th and 12th minutes, the forward was found by Fields and Josée Bélanger, but she was unable to beat Dash goalkeeper Lydia Williams on the close attempts.
Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, on the heels of her fifth NWSL Save of the Week award, was stellar yet again for Orlando – coming up with five saves to earn her fourth shutout of the season.
In the 55th minute, Harris came up big save on a distance shot from Andressa, punching the ball over the net to keep the game scoreless. Then, just minutes before Spencer’s game-winner, Harris made a full-extension save on a bicycle attempt by Rachel Daly. Harris was later named Player of the Match after leading the home team to its fifth win of the season.
The Pride have been victorious in all three of this season’s matches against the Dash, including two victories in front of its home crowd. The clubs will meet one final time, on September 3 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
The Pride (5-5-0, 15 points) remain unbeaten from the comforts of Camping World Stadium, with a 4-0-0 record in Orlando and outscoring opponents 7-1 in those matches. They will look to continue that streak on Sunday, next hosting top-seeded and undefeated Portland Thorns FC at 5 p.m. ET. It will be the final pre-Olympic NWSL match featuring the Pride’s international players, who head to training camp for the Summer Olympics after Sunday’s contest.
Orlando Pride: Ashlyn Harris; Josée Bélanger (Jasmyne Spencer 68’), Monica, Toni Pressley (Laura Alleway 60’), Steph Catley; Kristen Edmonds, Becky Edwards (Sarah Hagen 81’), Maddy Evans; Sam Witteman, Alex Morgan, Jamia Fields
Substitutes Not Used: Megan Dorsey; Dani Weatherholt, Kaylyn Kyle; Christina Burkenroad
Houston: Lydia Williams; Rebecca Moros, Cari Roccaro, Ellie Brush, Poliana; Morgan Brian (Amber Brooks 68’), Denise O’Sullivan, Andressa; Kealia Ohai (Stephanie Ochs 80’), Rachel Daly, Chioma Ubogagu (Cami Privett 74’)
Substitutes Not Used: Janine Beckie, Melissa Henderson, Bianca Henninger
More photos at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com