The most impressive team of the chaotic, unpredictable 2023 National Women’s Soccer League season might be the Orlando Pride.
Whether that means the Pride qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2017 will be determined over the next two weeks. The task is difficult but realistic, a testament to how much Orlando has outperformed low external expectations. After Monday’s 1-0 win over Angel City FC in Los Angeles, Orlando has 28 points, the same as perennial playoff contender OL Reign. Currently, the Reign are clinging to the sixth and final playoff spot by way of a superior goal difference.
Standing between the Pride and a trip to the playoffs for only the second time in seven regular seasons as a franchise are games against Racing Louisville and the Houston Dash, two teams chasing them in the congested table.
Qualifying for the playoffs would make this season an unmitigated success for the Pride, but either way, the team finally appears to have a direction — this writer types at the risk of having thought that before — and has doubled down on that by picking up key results throughout the season.
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