Saturday, 4 p.m. ET | Jordan Field | Boston
Morgan and the Pride will take field Saturday looking to extend their two-game winning streak following a fantastic Week 16 for Orlando – who outscored the Washington Spirit and Sky Blue FC by a combined score of 8-0. Morgan and Marta tallied three goals apiece to lead the line.
The eight goals without response is a new club record for the Pride, who have firmly inserted themselves in the playoff conversation. They look play their way into the NWSL Championship Game at their home field of Orlando City Stadium on Oct. 14.
Results during the midweek saw the Seattle Reign recapture fourth place in the NWSL standings, but the Pride will be looking to keep up the pressure on the Cascadia club with a result against the Breakers.
Orlando will suit up Saturday poised outside of the playoff picture by a single point. As recently as June 2, that gap was six points – which would be the largest deficit overcome in NWSL history should the Pride work themselves into the postseason for the first time in their history.
But there’s a lot of regular season left between now and that accomplishment. Six matches remain in 2017 for the Florida crew. The game Saturday night is the first of two against Boston in the next three weeks sandwiched around a trip to face FC Kansas City.
The Pride won their only previous encounter earlier this season with the Breakers as Marta and Jasmyne Spencer both found the back of the net. Aubrey Bledsoe made three saves to post a shutout in her second of 11 starts after No. 1 goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris injured her quad.
Harris returned between the posts for the first time since getting hurt to help Orlando to the 5-0 win against Sky Blue FC in Week 16 and recorded three saves while earning her first shutout of the year.
Meanwhile, the Breakers will come into the match looking to sort out some issues at the back after a 3-1 home loss to the Houston Dash on Wednesday. Natasha Dowie scored the lone goal for her team.
After that result, the Breakers were the first team eliminated from contention for the NWSL Shield. Their elimination number from the 2017 NWSL Playoffs now stands at eight.
Boston has now allowed two or more goals in each of the last three games and their seven goals conceded during that stretch are the second most in the league.
The defensive dip comes on the heels of one of the most encouraging periods in club history as the Breakers conceded just twice in the five games before that from June 28 to July 22.
On Friday, Breakers midfielder Amanda DaCosta also announced that Saturday’s match will be her final one in the NWSL. “I have so much love for my fans, friends, family, coaches, and teammates that I can’t begin to put into words,” DaCosta said the in the team’s release. “I am simply so grateful for each and every one of you for inspiring me, believing in me, and challenging me to be a better person and athlete. I can’t wait to continue to be a fan and spectator of the NWSL as I close this chapter. I have seen so much growth in women’s soccer over the past seven years of my career, and I know big things are in the future for us all.”
Regardless, coach Matt Beard will want to see these issues resolved as his squad is winless this season when allowing two or more – posting a 0-5-3 record in those matches compared with a 3-3-4 when giving up one or less.
+ 7 HOU
+ 1 HOU
+ 1 HOU