The Orlando Pride hosted a North Carolina team steaming into Orlando City Stadium in pursuit of their fifth straight win of the season. Marta and her Pride teammates had something more to prove. Orlando risked tying the league record with the 2013 Washington Spirit club for most games without a win at 13. Washington still holds that record as of today as the Orlando Pride defeated North Carolina FC 3-1 on Sunday evening.
The first half was a relatively open battle for both sides that had very good looks and chances that could have and should have been finished. McCall Zerboni of North Carolina drew the first yellow card early in the 10th minute for tripping up Camilla in open space near midfield. The two teams went to halftime scoreless.
The second half opened up with an early yellow card on North Carolina’s Abby Erceg in the 44th minute. After that, Orlando was off to the races with big pushes past midfield. At the 49th minute, the first goal of the game came from a beautiful Ai Krieger cross that connected with Chioma Ubogagu from the left side of the box. Then, in the blink of an eye, Camila netted another left sided goal for the Pride in the 50th minute to put Orlando up 2-0. In the turnaround, the Courage responded in the 51st with a Debinha right footed shot past Ashlyn Harris in the right corner to get North Carolina on the board. Erecg then received her second yellow in the 57th for holding up Jamia Fields in a run through the middle. Orlando took advantage in the 82nd minute with a classic Marta assist to Jasmyne Spencer to the right bottom corner.
Krieger was given the yellow in the 88th minute for a tackle with Zerboni and Toni Pressley was given a yellow card in the 90th as she lost the ball and her footing after a bad touch. After seven extra minutes, and another near goal off of another Marta pass, the match ended with Orlando topping North Carolina 3-1.
In one of the most exciting three minutes of play this NWSL season, Marta and the Orlando Pride proved to soccer fans everywhere they still are a driving force with a line-up not to be taken lightly. The Pride (1-2-2, 5 points) will travel to Seattle next for a 9:30 pm EDT match against the 2-1-2 Reign. The Courage (4-1-0) are back home to host the Red Stars next Sunday at 4pm EDT.
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