The Orlando Pride looked like a well-oiled machine in their home match against FC Kansas City. There was no trouble as the Pride earned three points in a 4-1 blowout. Taking advantage of an opportunity to win points at home against the struggling Kansas team appeared to be an objective the ladies of the Pride took very seriously. All weapons were on display, including Alex Morgan, who seemed to be more comfortable working with her teammates.
Kansas could not come up with an answer to stop the Pride’s offense. Marta sparked the surge of goals in the 22nd minute by delivering a cross to Alanna Kennedy. Kennedy out jumped a crowd of Kansas defenders to head the first of four home for Orlando.
Morgan made her presence felt throughout the entire match as she worked her way into the attacking third. She also earned a penalty during a free kick, when she was held and then taken down by a KC defender inside the penalty box in the 37th minute. With pure confidence, Morgan earned her first goal of the season for the Pride, since returning from playing overseas.
Pride defender Toni Pressley, who is a constant workhorse for the Pride’s back-line, also found her way on the scoreboard. Pressley blasted a deep left foot shot marked for the back of the net for her first goal of the season. Shortly after being substituted into the match, Maegan Kelly delivered the only goal for Kansas on a counter attack in the 65th minute. Kristen Edmonds would score the final goal of the match. Edmonds intercepted the ball from Kansas Keeper Nicole Barnhart after she mishandled it, then moved forward to easily score on an empty net.
“We knew the way that [Kansas City] played and that they’d try to play from the back so we wanted to make sure, particularly at home, we went in and pressured them. So, we tried to start out with a team we felt that could do that effectively. Now that Alex [Morgan] and Marta are both in the team and fully fit, that combination is a very dangerous one. It makes a lot of sense for us to play them close together and in touch with each other. All those kind of factors went into the selection” stated Sermanni while reflecting on the strategy that helped win the game.
“Getting one point on the road at Washington was really disappointing. We were so close to getting three, and I think we were very unfortunate. As Tom [Sermanni] said, this was a must-win game, and we knew that because now we are at the stage in the season where we need points, and we need to keep pushing us closer to the top four to get into the playoff position” Pressley added during her postgame interview. The Pride needs to make the most of every match. Falling short of playoffs last season acting as motivation for them to play with maximum effort every match.
In regard to next week’s match, Kennedy mentioned, “We have got a lot of points to prove and we want to be there at the end and we have the quality and potential so hopefully we’re there.”
This match finally showed the potential of the Pride roster. Alex Morgan returning to the team and being able to develop chemistry with her teammates present the NWSL with a major threat to contend with. Next week, the Pride will look to get revenge against the Chicago Red Stars who defeated them 1-0 at home a few weeks prior.