Defending Champs, FC Kansas City Defeats Orlando Pride 2-0 Saturday Night
By Orlando Pride // May 29, 2016
Orlando returns home on June 23
ORLANDO, FLORIDA – Orlando Pride was defeated 2-0 on Saturday by FC Kansas City, the reigning National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Champions, ending the Pride’s three-game win streak.
The Pride (4-3-0, 12 points) entered the match riding three consecutive clean sheets, but Yael Averbuch’s 53rd minute goal ended Orlando’s shutout-streak at 348 minutes.
Averbuch put the home team ahead with a free kick from distance that deflected off Lianne Sanderson and beat goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe to her left. It was the first NWSL start for Bledsoe, who was selected No. 10 overall in the 2015 NWSL Expansion Draft.
Midfielder Erika Tymrak doubled the Blues’ lead with 13 minutes left to play on an individual effort, traveling across the top of the penalty box before pinpointing the bottom corner to make it 2-0.
“I think in honesty, it was a fair result. I don’t think we perhaps played as well as we could have played,” said Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni.
“Obviously I think the game changed with the deflected goal and that gave [Kansas City] the confidence they needed playing at home. [It] got the support behind them and it became difficult for us to get back in the game after that.”
The Pride’s best chance came early in the match when Sam Witteman sent a hard pass across the face of the goal, beating Nicole Barnhart, but Jasmyne Spencer was unable to connect on the far post despite a sliding effort.
Minutes later, Witteman intercepted a pass in the Pride’s final third and quickly passed up to Sarah Hagen, but her shot went right to the gloves of Barnhart. Hagen, who earned her fourth start of the season Saturday, saw her night end early after illness pulled her from the game in just the 21st minute.
Rookie Christina Burkenroad came into the match for Hagen and setup fellow 2016 draftee Witteman in the 28th minute, cutting across the middle before sending a perfect pass to her unmarked teammate. Witteman took a hard shot inside the box but Barnhart made a great effort to parry the ball away.
Both clubs were without their U.S. Women’s National Team allocations on Saturday night, as Orlando’s Alex Morgan and Ashlyn Harris as well as Kansas City’s Becky Sauerbrunn and Heather O’Reilly were with the USA, preparing for two upcoming matches against Japan.
The Pride will see two weeks between matches, picking up the road trip on Saturday, June 11 when it travels to face the Western New York Flash at 7 p.m. ET in Rochester.
Orlando returns home on June 23 to host the Houston Dash for the third meeting this season between the two clubs.
Tickets to all home matches can be purchased at orlando-pride.com or by calling 855-ORL-CITY.
NWSL Match Report
Match: FC Kansas City vs. Orlando Pride
Date: May 28, 2016
Venue: Swope Soccer Village
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. CT (8:30 p.m. ET)