Alex Morgan, Orlando Pride defeat Seattle Reign, 2-0
Alex Morgan continues to give opposing defenses problems (Photo Courtesy of Orlando Pride )

Orlando, Fl. - In front of 8,211 fans in at the Camping World Stadium, the Orlando Pride continued their inaugural home campaign on Sunday with a win over Seattle Reign, 2-0.  With the win, the Pride are now a perfect 2-0-0 at home.

With week four of the National Womens Soccer League now over, Orlando, with Sunday’s victory, moved into a three-way tie for fifth place with Seattle and Western New York Flash.

First-Half dominance by Orlando Pride

Orlando would not wait long to open the score. In the 11th minute, USWNTAlex Morgan made a great hustle play to track down a long through ball by Orlando defender Laura Alleway.

Morgan stopped the ball from going over the end line and picked out a running Sarah Hagen in the box with a cross. Hagen did well to create space for herself in the box and arrived just in time to redirect Morgan’s cross to the back post for the 1-0 Orlando lead.

From there, Orlando dictated the pace of the rest of the first half as Seattle struggled to get much going offensively. When the whistle was blown for the first half, the scoreboard read only a one-goal deficit for the Reign, but the stats showed a different story. In the first half, Orlando managed to create three shots, with two on goal, and Seattle managed only one shot and none on goal.

Furthermore, Seattle was also called for offside five times just in the first half. Seattle’s inability to keep onside in the first half showed signs of the excellent communication among the Pride backline to step up to keep players offside in addition to Seattle’s plan to play direct soccer not paying off.

Orlando would keep on the attack in the second half trying to add a second goal.  Orlando’s second goal nearly came in the 52nd minute when Orlando midfielder Kristen Edmonds redirected a Stephanie Catley corner kick on net. USWNT and Reign goalkeeper Hope Solo managed to swat the ball off the goal line to keep the score difference at one.

Ashlyn Harris comes up big in crunch time

Seattle would get its best opportunity on net in the 82nd minute, when Beverly Yanez tried to chip Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris from 25 yards out. Harris, who was off her line when Yanez shot the ball, managed to backpedal and leap backwards to tip the ball off the cross bar. The USWNT goalkeeper hopped right back up and made herself big to prevent the Reign from scoring on the second shot, while taking a collision from a Reign player. Harris would be okay as she finished out the game.

Not five minutes after Harris’ save, Orlando would add their insurance goal. In the 86th minute, Morgan continued to wreak havoc on Seattle’s defense when she received another long through ball and went one-on-one with a Reign defender. Morgan turned her defender around and hit a tough line drive shot that Solo did well to parry.

Sanderson celebrating Orlando's second goal. | Photo: Ramirez Buxeda/Orlando Sentinel
Sanderson celebrating Orlando's second goal. | Photo: Ramirez Buxeda/Orlando Sentinel

Orlando forward Lianne Sanderson continued her run with Morgan and collected the resulting rebound. Sanderson took a touch and coolly slotted the ball into the right corner for the 2-0 Pride lead, where the score would stay as the referee blew the whistle for full time.

Coming up

Orlando will continue their home stand on Saturday, May 14th, when Western New York Flash come to Camping World Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30PM EST. Seattle will return home for their game on May 14th, when Portland Thorns come to Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 10:00 PM EST.