Welcome to your match thread as the Orlando Pride (1-1-0, 3 points) return home to face the Kansas City Current (0-2-0, 0 points). The Pride are coming off their first win of the season, defeating Angel City FC 1-0 last weekend at Banc of California Stadium. This is the first of two meetings against the Current, with the second coming on July 31 in Kansas City.
Here’s everything you need to know about tonight’s game.
The Current joined the NWSL last season after the Utah Royals were bought and relocated. The team was known simply as Kansas City NWSL and faced the Pride twice during the 2021 NWSL season.
The first meeting took place on May 30 at Exploria Stadium. In the 16th minute, a Courtney Petersen cross found the head of Alex Morgan just outside the six-yard box. The former Pride striker put the header on frame but it appeared to be cleared off the line. However, the referee indicated that the ball crossed the line for the opening goal. It was the only goal of the game as the Pride took down Kansas City 1-0.
The second meeting was a June 23 midweek battle in Kansas City and was one to remember. Former Pride head coach Marc Skinner left multiple players at home as the team prepared to lose them for the Olympics. Mariana Larroquette gave the hosts the lead eight minutes into first-half injury time, but then Sydney Leroux took over.
Just two minutes after the first goal, Leroux beat her defender and fired a shot from a tough angle between two Kansas City players. The ball was deflected in by a defender but Leroux was given credit for the goal.
Shortly after halftime, Leroux scored a screamer from outside the box, giving the Pride the lead. Despite her brace, the goal most remembered from that game came from Marta. The Brazilian came on at halftime and created multiple chances in the half. Then, in the 85th minute, she let one fly from the top of the center circle. The ball sailed over the head of Kansas City goalkeeper Abby Smith and in, securing the Pride’s 3-1 win.
The Pride followed a winless Challenge Cup (0-4-2, 2 points) with a crushing 3-0 loss to NJ / NY Gotham FC at Exploria Stadium in the season opener. Last weekend, they traveled west to take on Angel City FC for their first-ever game in California. In the third minute, Gunny Jonsdottir played the ball across for Leroux. The forward shot the ball toward the empty net, but Angel City defender Morgan Reid nearly cleared it off the line. However, the ball still had enough on it to go in and Leroux got credit for the goal. The Pride squandered multiple chances to build a bigger lead, but held on for 87 minutes for the 1-0 win.
After a tough start to the year, the Pride now have something to build from. The team is still suffering from some significant injuries, like Marta and Amy Turner. However, the Pride have been getting some players back, with Leroux and Erin McLeod re-entering the starting lineup in the last couple of games.
The Pride displayed a change in the lineup last weekend with Carrie Lawrence playing center back for the first time and Megan Montefusco entering the midfield in the No. 6 rolls. After the team’s win over Angel City, Pride Head Coach Amanda Cromwell said she expects the two players to start in the same spots for tonight’s game against Kansas City.
Unlike the Pride, the Current had a great Challenge Cup, going 4-1-1 (13 points) and winning the Central Division. But the regular season hasn’t continued that success. The team traveled west for its first game, falling 3-0 to the Portland Thorns. The second game saw the club return home and lose 2-0 to the Houston Dash. As a result, the Current are still looking for their first goal in the regular season in addition to their first point.
After deploying four defenders in the team’s first game, the Current started with three in the back against Houston. They conceded three goals with a back four, but only conceded twice, albeit at home, with three in the back against the Dash. The bigger problem has been the lack of offense. The team has some firepower with Kristen Hamilton, Lo’eau Labonta, and Victoria Pickett, but none of the three have found the net in the first two games.
However, it’s not for a lack of trying. After getting out-shot 19-5 in the first game in Portland, the Current out-shot Houston, 15-9, and put five shots on target. But Jane Campbell was up to the task at Children’s Mercy Park, posting a shutout on the road. As a result, the Pride are welcoming a struggling team to Exploria Stadium tonight, giving them a good chance to win back-to-back games for the first time since last May.
“(Kansas City) has really good players in attacking spots that we have to be really mindful of,” Cromwell said of tonight’s opponent. “(We are) getting a sense of what their formation might be so we can set up against them. They are going to be good. They are going to be searching for a win.
“Winning is great. It’s a great feeling and becomes a habit. That’s what we are going to try to remind (the team). That energy, that confidence is a habit. You walk onto the field every game wanting to continue those habits that get us the three points. ”
The Pride have been dealing with injuries since early in the Challenge Cup and will be without some key players tonight. This includes Marta (SEI), Meggie Dougherty Howard (right hip), Turner (right ankle), and Angharad James (right ankle). They join an injury list that includes Caitlin Cosme (D45), Parker Roberts (right ankle), and Viviana Villacorta (right quad).
Kansas City is in a similar situation. The Current are missing Sam Mewis (right leg), Mallory Weber (right leg), and Lynn Williams (right leg), and all would usually be starters. The latter two injuries are season-ending. Additionally, Chloe Logarzo (right leg) is listed as out and Elyse Bennett (left leg) is questionable.
Orlando Pride (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Erin McLeod.
Defenders: Courtney Petersen, Toni Pressley, Carrie Lawrence, Celia.
Midfielders: Gunny Jonsdottir, Megan Montefusco, Mikayla Cluff.
Forwards: Sydney Leroux, Leah Pruitt, Darian Jenkins.
Kansas City Current (3-4-3)
Goalkeeper: Adrianna Franch.
Defenders: Elizabeth Ball, Taylor Leach, Jenna Winebrenner.
Midfielders: Haile Mace, Alexis Loera, Desiree Stott, Kristen Edmonds.
Forwards: Kristen Hamilton, Lo’eau Labonta, Victoria Pickett.
REF: Alexandra Billeter.
AR1: Fritz Barberousse.
AR2: Ashlee Varnson.
4TH: Alejo Calume.
How to Watch
Match Time: 6:30 pm
Venue: Exploria Stadium – Orlando.
Streaming: Paramount + (US), Twitch (International).
Enjoy the match. Go Pride!