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After missing playoffs last year, Orlando Pride are in second place. But they’re chasing even more

Seb Hines: ‘Regardless [of] what’s thrown at us, we’re going to take the bull by the horns and go after it’

Three Orlando Pride players wrap their arms around each other as they celebrate a win.
The Orlando Pride celebrate a win over Racing Louisville FC at Inter&Co Stadium in Orlando, Fla., on May 5, 2024. (Photo credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck | USA TODAY Sports)

As the National Women’s Soccer League inches closer to its break for the Paris Olympics, two teams continue to contend for the top spot on the leaderboard: the Kansas City Current, currently No. 1, and the second-ranked Orlando Pride.

For the Pride, the first half of the season has already seen four shutouts and a league-record eight consecutive wins. They are 8-0-5, tied with Kansas City on points but second on goal differential. They enter Friday’s clash against the Utah Royals looking to rekindle their winning streak after consecutive draws. In the second of those, against North Carolina on Saturday, Orlando was held scoreless for the first time all season.

Even though the record-setting run was snapped, Orlando’s turnaround under third-year head coach Seb Hines speaks for itself. A team that racked up 21 losses over his first two seasons, finishing last year out of playoff contention, now sits undefeated, among the league’s top contenders and with its eyes on a championship.

“Last year was a lot about young players coming through, getting players back from injury, but also setting the tone and setting a culture of what this team wanted to be when they step onto the field — ultimately, your identity,” Hines, who joined the team as an assistant coach in 2020 before becoming head coach in 2022, told The Equalizer. “We had a good season last year, just fell short of the playoffs, but teams were aware of us and what we were capable of doing. We just needed that finishing touch.”

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