Orlando Pride to Test Spirit in Washington

The past five matches for the Orlando Pride has shown improvement in their form, with the exception of dropping points last week, and against the Houston Dash when they visited Orlando three weeks ago. That result was disappointing with the Pride being shutout at home resulting a 2-0 victory for Houston; the week before, Orlando thrashed the Dash in Houston, as goals came flaring, stamping a 4-2 victory for the Pride. The Orlando side was unfortunate to give a penalty away that resulted three point for Chicago Red Stars in a 1-0 affair.

Orlando will travel to Washington as they will face the Spirit for the second time this season.  The last match between these two sides was in week two of the season – it ended in a 1-1 draw, when Marta made her Pride debut. Both clubs are coming off losses, the then last-place Boston Breakers defeated the Spirit last week. Overall this season, Washington has lost six matches of its eleven played and is in last place in the NWSL standings.

After training, the Pride’s Head Coach Tom Sermanni emphasized to the Orlando City SC website, “We need to keep picking up points” as the season meets at its halfway milestone. Results, it is what Coach Sermanni wants to see from his squad. There have been been good performances, but the club just haven’t been able to put vital chances in the back of the net, nor holding leads. This is a charectersitic unfortunately of Sermanni teams going back to his time with the US Women’s National Team (USWNT).

The Orlando Pride has the quality to compete with the best teams around the nation in NWSL, but now it is important to seal victories instead of draws to try and push up the table into a playoff position. Pride and USWNT defender Ali Krieger acknowledged Washington’s pace upfront, it can cause problems as the Pride struggles to keep speedy attackers in front of them.

As for the Spirit’s backline, Coach Sermanni stated that they are “a stable backline.. defensively discipline” Marta and Alex Morgan look forward to this match up, and are hoping to stretch the Spirit’s defense, to give pockets of space for Jasmyne Spencer to work inside the 18 yard box. Ali Krieger will make her return to Washington, wearing the purple kit of Orlando. Kreiger played  with the NWSL Washington team for three seasons, after previously playing for the WPS version of a capital-area team.  Given Krieger’s deep ties to the area but her decision to leave this past offseason, it will be interesting to see what kind of reception she will receive at the Maryland Soccerplex.

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