It was a match-up where both the Orlando Pride and FC Kansas City were looking to earn three major points, where three points were vital to their NWSL seasons. Orlando began an important home stretch with four out of five games at home, and FC Kansas City hoped to rebound from dropping three points in New Jersey last week. The match also marked Kansas City's 100th NWSL regular season game.
On a hot, humid summer evening in a Orlando, in front of 6,073 fans, the Pride put on a performance that has them as serious playoff contenders. Goals by Alex Morgan, Toni Pressley, Kristen Edmonds, and Alana Kennedy gave the Pride a very convincing victory over a struggling FC Kansas City side.
Orlando's Strong Start
The Pride came out strong immediately after the whistle, and they pressed the KC backline. By the seventh minute, Orlando had two corner kicks, and Alex Morgan had two shots on goal. Two minutes later, Brazilian international Camilia sent a soaring shot towards the KC goal that went high.
Orlando continued for the next ten minutes on much of the KC half as they tried to get the opening goal. It was only a matter of time the way Orlando was pressing. In the 22nd minute a cross from Marta, off a corner kick, sent the ball into the box where it found Alana Kennedy, who headed it in for a goal. Kennedy scored her second goal of the season, and Marta provided her fourth assist.
The Pride did not relent and went for their second goal, and they kept the KC backline on guard. Fifteen minutes later, a foul on the KC side on Steph Catley gave the Pride a free kick. On that set piece, Kansas City's Katie Bowen took down Morgan in the box, which earned the Pride a penalty kick. Morgan converted for a 2-0 lead.
Although the Pride led 2-0, Kansas City did not slow down their chances and maintaned much of the possession for the first half. Christina Gibbons, who made her second start as a central midfielder, sent the ball into the box where Brittany Ratcliffe had the perfect opportunity for a goal, but goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe made a diving save.
Kansas City Came Close, but Orlando Added Two More
As the second half began, FC Kansas City created a couple of opportunities to inch closer to Orlando's lead. In the 52nd minute, Brittany Taylor sent a shot that went wide. In the 63rd minute, KC made a substitution that brought Maegan Kelly into the game. She replaced Erika Tymrak.
The change gave Kansas City some momentum as Kelly was able to score one for FCKC in the 65th minute. Kelly's second goal of the season put the Blues within one to equalize.
Five minutes later, however, Kansas City's hopes were dashed as defender Toni Pressley sent a left-footed shot outside the box to the far post that gave Orlando the two-goal lead again. Pressley had scored her first goal of the season.
In the 75th minute, Orlando's lead extended to three. Veteran goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart made a rare mistake as she tried to pass the ball outside the box. Kristen Edmonds took advantage and blocked the pass that put the ball at her feet. Edmonds was able to take the ball to a wide open net, and she scored first goal of the season as well.
The 4-1 lead in the 75th minute would be enough to give Orlando a very convincing win in front of their home crowd.
The Pride improved to 5-5-1, holding the number six spot in the NWSL standings. They will travel to take on the Chicago Red Stars (7-3-4) in the NWSL Lifetime Game of the Week on Saturday afternoon. FC Kansas City (3-7-4) returns to Swope Soccer Village for a Saturday evening match to host the top team in the league, the North Carolina Courage.