The Orlando Pride had their flight delayed multiple times ahead of their match against Kansas City. However, the plane landed just in time for Orlando to earn a 3-1 victory over Kansas City. Here’s what went down on Wednesday night (and day) in NWSL competition.
Kansas City 1, Orlando Pride 3
The Skinny: The Orlando Pride aren’t perfect, but they are unbeaten, and the only team in the NWSL to have that right. The offense put on a clinic at Legends Field in Kansas City. After an offside call on Amy Rodriguez that negated a goal, and a couple more scares from the Kansas City offense, the Orlando Pride got rolling after going down one goal in first-half stoppage time (which was 11 minutes long). Mariana Larroquette struck first at home, with the assist coming from Portuguese international Jessica Silva. However, Orlando replied immediately with a goal from Sydney Leroux, which looked to bounce off the foot of Rachel Corsie and past Abby Smith.
Orlando rolled in the second half. Leroux got her second of the match, slicing through Kansas City defenders and letting off at a shot at the top of the box. Her curling shot went past Smith for a second Pride goal. Then, to put the cherry on top for Orlando, Marta scored almost directly at the half-way mark of the pitch, chipping Smith who came off her line.
The Pride now hold a record of 4-3-0 and lead the NWSL table with 15 points. A few internationals will be packing their bags and heading off to the Olympics, including Alex Morgan (U.S.), Marta (Brazil), Ali Riley (New Zealand) and Erin McLeod, who was named an alternate for Canada.
As for Kansas City, the team sits at the bottom of the table with a 0-2-5 record, still looking for their first win in regular-season action.
One Key Moment: Sydney Leroux’s goal was a turning point for the Pride, as Kansas City was getting good shots off at McLeod and making good runs at the goalkeeper. When Leroux smashed her goal past Smith, it seemed like Orlando was going to edge out the three points. Then, with Marta’s finale at half-field, it was solidified that the Pride would head back to Florida with three points in tow. Leroux’s goal showed off her power and added to her already impressive 2021 campaign.
Inside the Game: Kansas City isn’t quite an expansion team, so they don’t have as much leeway that Racing Louisville will have. Kansas City came into the league with a full roster already, acquiring the Utah Royals FC players. However, it hasn’t quite clicked for Kansas City. There aren’t too many players leaving for the Olympics, and seeing Larroquette score is a positive, but Kansas City needs more productivity up front, especially from Portuguese striker Silva.
As for the Pride, the losses to the Olympics are going to be big, especially when concerning Marta. However, the team will keep Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris and Taylor Kornieck in town, and Kornieck has blossomed brilliantly in the league. Marc Skinner will have to move some pieces around, but all the Olympic losses aren’t going to make him lose too much sleep.
- Kansas City — Mariana Larroquette (Jessica Silva), 45+
- Orlando Pride — Sydney Leroux (Courtney Petersen), 45+
- Orlando Pride — Sydney Leroux, 49′
- Orlando Pride — Marta, 85′
— Rachael Kriger