Orlando Pride vs North Carolina Courage Preview: Courage look to continue perfect record
Jess McDonald looks to find the back of the net against the Pride's defense l Photo: Andy Mead/ ISI Photos

In Week 5 of NWSL play, Marta and the Orlando Pride will host the Jess McDonald and the North Carolina Courage on Sunday at 5 p.m. ET. This is the second meeting of the season for the Orlando Pride and the North Carolina Courage The Courage are on the road looking to secure their so-far undefeated season. With a win on Sunday, the Courage will have won all five of their games as a new franchise. The Courage is 4-0-0 on the season, putting them in the top spot in league standings. Orlando is also needing a win this weekend. The Orlando Pride have not won a game since July 10, 2016, making it twelve games without getting three points. Orlando is 0-2-2 on the season, sitting in the last place in the league.

Goals for the Courage

Last week against the Boston Breakers, Courage forward Jessica McDonald, became the leading scorer in NWSL history. McDonald scored her 33rd regular season goal last week putting her past the former leading goal scorer, Seattle Reign’s Kim Little. McDonald only needs seven more goals to become the first player in NWSL history to score 40 goals.

Defense

The Courage have only allowed one goal this season and it was against the Pride, scored by Camila. Courage goalkeeper, Sabrina D’Angelo, has three clean sheets and looks to get her fourth on Sunday. The Courage’s back line of Abby Dahlkemper, Sam Witteman, Abby Erceg, and Taylor Smith should also be credited for their work of making D’Angelo’s job a little easier. Dahlkemper sent the corner in the last week that led to McDonald’s lone goal.

The opposite is true for the Orlando Pride. Ashlyn Harris and the Pride have allowed eight goals this season, the most of any team. Even with big name defenders like Ali Krieger and Steph Catley the Pride are having trouble stopping goals.

McDonald and Dahlkemper both helping to secure the win against the Breakers l Photo: Joseph Prezioso
McDonald and Dahlkemper both helping to secure the win against the Breakers l Photo: Joseph Prezioso

Offense

North Carolina has not had a problem finding the back of the net this season, with goals from Makenzy Doniak, Lynn Williams, Jessica McDonald, Debinha, and Sam Mewis. Williams was awarded the NWSL golden boot in 2016 when she scored 11 goals and had 5 assists. She is was also named NWSL MVP.

The Pride are desperately hoping that Brazilian superstar forward, Marta, is able to find the back of the net this weekend. This game will be her third, but she is matched with an equally talented defense from the Courage. She scored her first NWSL goal against FC Kansas City to give the Pride their first lead of the season. Unfortunately, it was short-lived because ten minutes later FCKC’s Erika Tymrak equalized. The game would remain 1-1 for the rest of the match.

Prediction

The Courage have not been stopped yet this season, and I do not see the Pride to be the one’s to stop them. Marta might come up big at home, but it will not be enough. Final score 5-2 Courage.

VAVEL Logo