Orlando Pride takes on Sky Blue this weekend

Gaining a point in Seattle was a pleasant result for the Pride, Coach Tom Sermanni stated, “Delighted to come away with a point, over there is a very difficult place to go and play… they rarely give away points, and generally score a lot of goals” when interviewed on Orlando Pride Today.

Orlando Pride has been performing relatively well, even though results have not been favoring their side, they had better chances than the Seattle Reign. Their current form up front is not to call into question, rather the problem lies with the defense that haven’t been able to sustain a clean sheet; some may argue seven goals is not efficient to when compared to the top three clubs.

One victory and three draws is the expense of their defensive predicaments and collapsing leads such as the late goal in earlier this season in Kansas City, scored by Erika Tymrak in the 84’ minute . Now with their starting goalkeeper out, Ashlyn Harris, additional pressure burdens the backline, though the Pride manager alluded that his squad “never gave Seattle a clear shot on target” and feels confident that his defensive back line can be solid for the upcoming match. A confident-booster for the return of Monica Alves.

Center-back, Alanna Kennedy, is confident with both of  the backup goalkeepers: Caroline Stanley and Aubrey Bledsoe… she told the club website “depth with both of  them, and we got a lot of leadership at the back” especially with Ali Krieger. When questioned about his team’s defense adapting to their lost of Harris, Coach Sermanni responded, “Krieger in her own right is a captain in the team as well.”

Moving forward, The pride will lace up their boots in Piscataway, New Jersey, at Yurcak Field to clash against Sky Blue FC.

Behind enemy lines, Sky Blue looks to turn the page from Wednesday’s loss to NC Courage (league leaders), a match that could have given the New Jersey-based club a one point lead over the Courage in the NSWL standings. With seven games played, they hold the third spot, Seattle Reign breathing under their necks, only being a point behind them. If they want to keep pace with the top three and stay in reach of the number one spot, it is crucial for Seattle to grab three points this weekend.

Sky Blue FC has accumulated to this point ten goals as a team, ranking 3rd in the league. Half of the goals have been scored by Sarah Killion, four of them being penalty kicks; nonetheless, this squad is in position to create chances thanks to the creativity in midfield and on the forward line. For instance, Sam Kerr got into the box between center backs also behind the pockets of Houston Dash’s fullbacks when they visited Houston earlier this season. Her utility includes roaming around the right flank and comes inside to link up with her center forwards. Toni Pressely needs to keep Kerr in front of her, not allowing penetration in the center of attacking chances, and Steph Catley has to close the space between her center-back Pressely and the touchline to prevent Kerr from having room to threat with diagonal crosses.

However, Sky Blue has also conceded 10 goals. Orlando hasn’t been on the score sheet too often, only tallying seven goals, but with the woes of Sky Blue’s backline, Jasmyne Spencer has the ability to stretch the defense wide from her right wing position, as she did against Seattle,. Also support from the opposite side, Martha anchors the midfield with combination passes to bringing her teammates forward, but pushes forward off the left wing, which broadens the opposing backline and allows Camila to overlap and get into dangerous positions in the final third.

Orlando Pride needs a victory to break into the middle of the league table. They are currently in eighth place with six points,and trail the Boston Breakers and FC Kansas City by two points. If the Pride can take three points in New Jersey, it will increase the importance of next week’s match against the Boston Breakers, as it will give them the chance to stay ahead of the Breakers in the standings. The season record may deceive the product produced on the pitch, “the experience, the character, and the personality” will soon display with results the manager projects. Tom Sermanni looks forward to a potential positive result against Sky Blue, as “they’ve mentally been great in the camp, the training” preparations are completed for a game that will intrigue NWSL enthusiast.

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