At 9:30 pm est, the Orlando Pride took on the Seattle Reign in Seattle, a clash of two teams trying to figure out how to elevate their games after a tenuous start to the season. Seattle has the experience and firepower to truly dismantle teams, such as their 6-2 dismantling of the Washington Spirit last week, but their lapses in intensity and judgment can sometimes leave them vulnerable to less storied teams looking to play spoiler. Orlando seemed to fit that bill, as they struggled greatly right out the gate of the season, failing to get a win until a big upset against the current league leaders North Carolina Courage last week. While they still have a lot of questions on the field, the insertion of Marta in the Orlando frontline has certainly provided a spark to the team, and with both of these squads coming off big wins, it was sure to be an interesting match.
The game started somewhat slowly, with both teams trying to figure each other out. Seattle had some good early looks on goal, but the main bit of play that highlighted the beginning of the match was a routine goal kick by Orlando keeper Ashlyn Harris in the 24th minute, where she went down with a non-contact injury after taking the kick. After being unable to return to play (and favoring what seemed to be her right hip), the Pride had to sub on Caroline Stanley, a new acquisition who was picked up by the team after regular backup keeper Audrey Bledsoe was sidelined due to a concussion.
Stanley went on to play well in the game, but that confusion led to a Seattle goal in the 40th minute, when a corner kick from Megan Rapinoe was deflected back to her, and she made a cross into the box. Orlando failed to clear the ball, and after a few different shots from Reign players, Seattle forward Beverly Yanez was able to divert the ball past Stanley and into the back of the net. While Orlando looked to equalize after the strike, and Marta remained as dangerous as ever, sending in an impressive free kick in the 45th minute, the half would end in the 1-0 score-line favoring the hosts.
The second half started with a lot more energy from the Pride, and they were able to work their counter attack into some consistent offense. This led to the Prides equalizer in the 52nd minute, when Camila won the ball off of a turnover in Orlando’s attacking third, and slotted the ball to Marta, who was able to control the ball in the corner of the box, and then fire a rocket past Seattle keeper Haley Kopmeyer (who had another solid game in goal this week), to put the ball in the back of the net. After the Pride equalizer, Seattle continued to press for a game-winner, particularly in the late minutes of the game when Seattle midfielder Nahomi Kawasumi had a sliding shot bounce off the post after a cross from Katie Johnson into the box. The game would ultimately end in the 1-1 draw, with both teams walking away from the match with a point. The result put the Reign in 4th place in the league, and Orlando in 8th.