Orlando Pride
By: NWSL Editor
Here's What You've Missed This Week: 5/23-25

Rivalry matches, huge upsets, a new consecutive win record – things were happening around the league this weekend and we have the perfect recap for you in case you missed the fun.

Thursday, May 23

Angel City FC 0, San Diego Wave FC 0

The match week officially kicked off Thursday evening as Angel City FC (3-5-2) hosted their southern California rivals, the San Diego Wave (3-4-3), in the ninth iteration of the SoCal Clásico. The first half was the Wave’s game, with Casey Stoney’s squad peppering Angel City FC goalkeeper DiDi Haračić and keeping her on her toes. The Wave took 12 shots to Angel City FC’s 4 however, all of Angel City FC’s were on target. Wave midfielder Savannah McCaskill, in her return to BMO Stadium after making a move south in the offseason, forced a turnover in the box but was blocked ultimately by Haracic. In the 38th minute, Angel City FC forward Claire Emslie’s pass to forward Sydney Leroux looked threatening but Wave goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan swept the ball and changed the momentum.

In the second half, the roles reversed and Angel City FC woke up, sending in more shots than the Wave but splitting possession almost evenly. However, ultimately the match ended in a draw with both teams sharing the points, bringing the regular season record of this exhilarating rivalry match to 2-2-1.

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Friday, May 24

Orlando Pride 2, Portland Thorns FC 1

In a match with major implications to not only the league standings but also the record books, the undefeated Orlando Pride (8-0-3) hosted the Portland Thorns FC (6-4-1) in Orlando Friday evening. Soccer fans across the world tuned in and witnessed history being made as Marta, Barbra Banda, and the Orlando Pride set the highest winning streak in league history with their eight win in a competitive match against a team also with a lot of momentum behind them. Banda started the action off in the 30th minute when a ball sent in from Marta at the corner caused chaos before landing at Banda’s feet. Thorns FC goalkeeper Shelby Hogan, still grounded from a save a few moments prior, was unable to make the stop and the Pride were up by a goal. Ten minutes later, Banda earned a brace when she collected a through ball from Marta and fought off her defender to find the back of the net.

In the 71st minute, Thorns FC forward Izzy D’Aquila got her team on the scoresheet but the squad was unable to claim a tying goal. The match ended with Portland’s first loss since April and the Pride’s record breaking win streak still fully intact, leaving them in a position to claim the top spot in the standings.

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Washington Spirit 3, Seattle Reign FC 2

The Friday night action didn’t end in Orlando: up north in Washington DC, the Washington Spirit (8-3-0) hosted Reign FC (2-8-1) in a revenge match since losing to them in Seattle in March. However, the results were wildly different as both teams this time got on the board and the Spirit ended up the victors.

Croix Bethune started the match’s action in the 21st minute when teammate Ouleye Sarr’s pass perfectly found her on the run. Bethune’s shot was too powerful for Seattle goalkeeper Laurel Ivory to stop and the Spirit were on the board. In the 39th minute, Trinity Rodman drew a penalty and midfielder Andi Sullivan converted handily. Not long before the halftime whistle, Bethune returned the favor to Sarr and set her up for a nice goal off the cross. However, in the waning minutes of the half, the Reign FC forward Veronica Latsko sent her team to the locker room with one goal to their name and hope.

In the second half, that hope fueled some of the best defending of the match as Reign FC kept the Spirit from extending their lead. They, however, were also unable to score until the final minutes of the match when rookie Emeri Adames scored her first professional goal off of a volley from a free kick. The match ended soon after, however, with the Spirit breathing a sight of relief as they collected all three points.

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Houston Dash 3, North Carolina Courage 0

Houston Dash (3-5-3) fans in attendance for their home team’s showdown with the Courage (5-6-0) had a game to remember, as they witnessed three goals, three points, a shutout, and the long-awaited debut of Brazilian defender Tarciane.

Ramona Bachmann closed out the first half with a goal after receiving a pass near the penalty spot from rookie forward Avery Patterson. She had the space to control the ball before shooting it into the lower corner past Courage goalkeeper Casey Murphy. In the 68th minute, in an incredibly similar set up as the first goal, Dash midfielder Bárbara Olivieri received a pass at the top of the penalty spot from forward Michelle Alozie, giving Murphy a case of deja vu as she sent it passed the keeper’s outstretched hands. Diana Ordóñez joined the party in the 78th minute and finished up a rebounded shot from Alozie, shutting the door for any hope of the Courage mounting a comeback. The Courage tallied thirteen shots to the Dash’s nine, three of which forced Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell to make a save.

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Bay FC 0, Gotham FC 2

NJ/NY Gotham FC (5-2-3) extended their unbeaten streak to six Saturday evening as they shut out Bay FC (3-8-0) in San Jose and thanks to back-to-back goals from forward Ella Stevens, were able to secure all three points. In the 31st minute, Stevens cleanly finished a cross from Esther to put Gotham FC up by a goal. Two minutes later, an error in the box capitalized by Stevens saw her squad double their lead. Bay FC were unable to mount a comeback despite dominating shots and possession in the second half.

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Saturday, May 24

Chicago Red Stars 0, Racing Louisville FC 1

Racing Louisville FC (2-2-6) rookie sensation Emma Sears has now scored in two games in a row and, with her goal against the hosting Chicago Red Stars (5-5-1), has cemented herself as one of the most exciting players of the season. In the 26th minute, defender Carson Pickett played in a cross that ricocheted to Sears, who calmly controlled and juggled the ball before firing it past Chicago goalkeeper Mackenzie Wood, putting the visiting team up by a goal.

“I know early on we were known to give up some late opportunities,” said Racing head coach Bev Yanez during the post-match press conference,” and I think we’ve shown a lot in our growth.” Credit to Racing, who kept their composure for the rest of the match after Sears’ goal, sending them back home with some much needed points to put them in a spot for playoff contention.

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Utah Royals FC 0, Kansas City Current 1

The weekend’s lineup of matches closed out in Utah Saturday night as the Royals (1-9-1) hosted the undefeated Kansas City Current (7-0-4). The Current left Utah still unbeaten, thanks to a lone goal from Elizabeth Ball, who stepped up and subbed in after defender Gabrielle Robinson left the match with an injury. In the 58th minute, waiting for her opportunity, Ball beat her defender and received a header from teammate Claire Hutton, sending it past Utah goalkeeper Mandy Haught. The goal made Ball Kansas City’s KC’s 15th different goal scorer of the season, the most by any team in a single season in NWSL history, and Hutton the third youngest to record an assist in league history.

The Current and Royals traded chances throughout the rest of the match but thanks to the post and some staunch defending from Current goalkeeper AD Franch, the score – and the Current’s unbeaten streak – remained unchanged.

Watch the full highlights.

Match Previews and Recaps