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The Orlando Pride maintained their winning home record on Saturday evening as they beat Western New York Flash with a solitary Alex Morgan goal.
In front of 7,841 fans, the Pride started slowly and it was the Dash who created the best opportunities as they totaled seven shots in the first 45 minutes. The visitors should have gone ahead in the 27th minute with the best chance of the first half when Lynn Williams somehow hit the cross bar from a Samantha Mewis cross when she only had to tap the ball into an empty net.
Orlando were slow to the ball, careless with their passing and not much of a threat until Lianne Sanderson came on at half time. It seems to be a re-occurring theme at the moment as the team only seems to get inspired by the energy she brings.
The game looked like it was petering out for a goalless draw until one moment of brilliance from their captain. Seizing on a long ball from Kristen Edmonds in the 79th minute, Morgan raced clear and seeing Flash goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo off her line executed a perfect chip from approximately 25 yards to give the home side a somewhat undeserved victory.
“It was a very difficult game because it is a game that we are not used to. In the last three or four games, we haven’t come up against a team that played quite like that. Adjusting to that, despite the fact we knew what we were going to face, is very different than what to expect,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “The fact that we kept matching up to how [Western New York] played and that we found a way to win the game with another clean sheet is great. Those two things are really critical for any team. It wasn’t our most polished performance but it was a gritty performance and that showed a great determination, a great character.”
The Pride now head out on their longest road trip of the season, playing its next four matches away from home. First, the club will travel to face the Houston Dash for the second time this season on May 20 at BBVA Compass Stadium. The two teams met in the Pride’s inaugural home game, which saw an NWSL record 23,403 fans pack the then-Orlando Citrus Bowl to witness Orlando’s 3-1 win.
Orlando Pride – Ashlyn Harris; Josee Belanger, Laura Alleway, Monica, Steph Catley; Sam Witteman (Toni Pressley 59’), Kristen Edmonds, Kaylyn Kyle (Becky Edwards 86’), Jasmyne Spencer; Sarah Hagen (Lianne Sanderson 46’), Alex Morgan
Substitutes Not Used: Aubrey Bledsoe; Maddy Evans, Dani Weatherholt; Jamia Fields
Western New York – Sabrina D’Angelo; Elizabeth Eddy, Abby Dahlkemper, Abby Erceg, Jaelene Hinkle; Alanna Kennedy (Adriana Leon 83’), Samantha Mewis, Michaela Hahn; Mackenzy Doniak (Taylor Smith 67’), Jessica McDonald, Lynn Williams
Substitutes Not Used: Britt Eckerstrom; Meredith Speck; Kristen Hamilton
More photos at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com