Leroux Scores Game-Winner in 1-0 Victory
ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando Pride (1-1-1, 4 points) took a 1-0 shutout victory on Wednesday night over the Washington Spirit (1-1-1, 4 points) at Exploria Stadium.
Sydney Leroux scored the eventual game-winner in the 11th minute of play, slotting a through ball from forward Alex Morgan for her first goal since Sept. 26, 2020 against the Houston Dash at the NWSL Fall Series. Morgan, along with Gunny Jónsdóttir, made their 2021 debuts for the Pride on Wednesday night after missing the opening two matches of the Challenge Cup due to international duty.
Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris registered nine saves on the evening en route to her first clean sheet of the calendar year and the first since Sept. 19 at North Carolina that began the Fall Series less than a year ago.
Orlando Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner:
"A much better situation to sit in for a result, but the best thing for me was the resilience that the group has shown. What we showed tonight was the resilience that we needed from this group to win ugly. That's a clean sheet for the first time in a long, long time and that's because our goalkeeper came up big, our defenders came up big, our midfield and our forwards. It was a whole team collective. The substitutes that came in made an impact in the group and that's what we've been searching for in Orlando. It's being able to grow and what this does is it gives us a little glimpse of what this team can and will be and I think that's really key. This team has so much potential, but they needed to breathe with results. I'm just over the moon for the way the victory came. It wasn't pretty at all. We dug in and hats off to every player in the squad, every member of the staff because that was a wonderful win."
11' Sydney Leroux (Alex Morgan) - ORL 1, WAS 0
The Pride opened things up with Alex Morgan picking the pocket of the Washington defense before slotting through a ball for Sydney Leroux, who hit it first time on the run past goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe for the lone goal of the match.
Sydney Leroux scored her first goal of the season in the match and her eighth since joining the Club ahead of the 2018 NWSL season.
Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris made it two weeks in a row with a penalty save, denying Ashley Hatch from the spot in the 65th minute. Harris registered nine saves to earn the clean sheet, the first for the Pride since the team's Fall Series opener at North Carolina on Sept. 19, 2020.
Gunny Jónsdóttir made her Orlando Pride debut in the match, earning the start after missing the prior two matches due to international duty.
Alex Morgan returned to the Pride lineup for the first time since Aug. 21, 2019, making the start on the night in her return from international duty. Morgan tallied an assist on the evening, her eighth in total for Orlando.
Head Coach Marc Skinner made two changes to his starting lineup from a week ago, with Jónsdóttir and Morgan entering the XI.
Next Match: The Pride will close out its series of Challenge Cup matches on Saturday, May 1, traveling to take on the North Carolina Courage at WakeMed Soccer Park.
ORL - Sydney Leroux (Alex Morgan) 11'
WAS - Emily Sonnett (Yellow Card) 6'
ORL - Marta (Yellow Card) 13'
ORL - Ali Riley (Yellow Card) 36'
ORL - Ashlyn Harris (Yellow Card) 80'
WAS - Kelley O'Hara (Yellow Card) 86'
WAS - Kelley O'Hara (Second Yellow Card) 90+2'
WAS - Kelley O'Hara (Red Card) 90+2'
Orlando Pride - GK Ashlyn Harris ©; D Ali Riley, Phoebe McClernon, Ali Krieger (Toni Pressley 90+3'), Gunny Jónsdóttir; M Taylor Kornieck, Jade Moore (Courtney Petersen 74'), Marisa Viggiano; F Marta (Meggie Dougherty Howard 82'), Alex Morgan, Sydney Leroux (Chelsee Washington 90+3')
Substitutes Not Used: GK Erin McLeod; D, Carrie Lawrence, Konya Plummer, Ally Haran; F Abi Kim
Washington Spirit - GK Aubrey Bledsoe; D Tegan McGrady, Saori Takarada, Emily Sonnett, Kelley O'Hara; M Dorian Bailey (Julia Roddar 75'), Andi Sullivan, Tori Huster; F Ashley Sanchez (Anna Heilferty 84'), Ashley Hatch (Kumi Yokoyama 67'), Trinity Rodman
Substitutes Not Used: GK Devon Kerr; D Sam Staab, Natalie Jacobs, Camren Biegalski; M Chinyelu Asher; F Mariana Speckmaier
Details of the Game:
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Date: April 21, 2021
Stats Summary: ORL / WAS
Possession: 48.2% / 51.8%
Shots: 8 / 20
Shots on Goal: 3 / 9
Saves: 9 / 2
Corner Kicks: 2 / 12
Fouls: 9 / 12
Offside: 3 / 1
REF: Alex Billeter
AR1: Ashlee Varnson
AR2: Kevin Lock
4TH: Alyssa Nichols
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