On Wednesday night, the Orlando Pride accomplished a feat they had been unable to do in their first two seasons, notching their first win over the Chicago Red Stars. Chioma Ubogagu and Rachel Hill each scored to give the Pride the 2-0 win, while Ashlyn Harris’s clean sheet snapped the Red Stars’ home scoring streak dating back to 2015.
Harris wasn’t called into action much in the match though, as the Red Stars only managed to put one shot on frame all night. In comparison, Orlando had six shots on target, forcing Alyssa Naeher to make four saves to prevent a bigger win for the visiting Pride.
The first goal of the night was scored in the 28th minute courtesy of Ubogagu, who whipped up the goal-scoring play from scratch. Ubogagu blocked a Red Star pass to force a turnover before engaging in a series of passes with Sydney Leroux as the two made a run toward goal. Ubogagu played a through ball ahead for Leroux, but Leroux sent it back with a bit of a wonky touch. That didn’t matter to Ubogagu, who blasted a shot from the top of the 18 that took a slight deflection to beat Naeher for the lone goal of the opening half.
— NWSL (@NWSL) May 3, 2018
The game took a short delay at the start of the second half thanks to lightning in the area, but play resumed shortly thereafter. Although it took slightly longer for both teams to regain their rhythm following the interruption, Chicago was able to pick up some steam in the second half. Despite managing a slight advantage in possession and registering seven shots in the closing 45 minutes, the Red Stars were unable to finish any of the opportunities they managed to create.
Instead, second-half substitute Rachel Hill, who entered for Orlando in place of Leroux, would get the last goal of the night, thanks to a crucial interception by Ali Krieger near midfield. Once Krieger stripped Lauren Kaskie of the ball, she played it forward for Alanna Kennedy, who passed to Kristen Edmonds. Edmonds, who replaced Marta on the field shortly beforehand, then sent the ball over to Emily van Egmond, whose no-look pass to Hill was spot on. Van Egmond’s pass lured Naeher off her line but she was unable to get a hand on the the ball, and Hill easily maneuvered around the outstretched keeper to put the ball away into an empty net.
— NWSL (@NWSL) May 3, 2018
Chicago’s fans thought that Sam Kerr, in her home debut with her new club, had preserved their home scoring streak when she put the ball into the back of the net at the end of second-half stoppage time, but the goal was negated by the offside flag just before the final whistle blew, and Orlando walked away with the 2-0 shutout.
With the win, Orlando (2-2-2, 8 points) overtakes the Seattle Reign for the all-important fourth spot in league standings going into their bye week. Chicago (2-2-3, 9 points), on the other hand, remains in second place and will face their hardest challenge of the season thus far when they take on the top-ranked, undefeated North Carolina Courage on the road on Sunday.
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