Pride remain undefeated — Olympic break begins

The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie Peterson, July 8, 2024

The Orlando Pride defeated the Kansas City Current 2-1 in one of the biggest games of the NWSL season this past weekend and in the process became the league’s lone undefeated team heading into the Olympic break.

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The victory improved the Pride to 11-0-5 and extended their unbeaten streak to 17 games dating back to last season, which ties the league record that the Current set last week. Obviously, the Current’s streak ended there.

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Even more impressive, the Pride secured the win with 10 players — on the road.

“More than deserved. To go down to 10 players so early on in the game and show the character that we have been talking about all season long is just incredible,” Pride coach Seb Hines said. “To come to this environment, we knew that it was going to be a tough game. We had the same amount of points, same amount of wins, same amount of ties and there was nothing between us in this game. Then, I think we showed our class on the day, our character and personality. Everyone contributed to this win today and it is so good to head into this break with a valued three points.” 

Forward Barbra Banda‘s goal was her 12th this season, tying her for the Golden Boot lead. Marta scored her fifth goal of the season, a penalty that proved to be the game winner. The considerable investment that the team made in Banda has been worth every penny, at least so far. And not to be ageist, but Marta is playing like she’s 10 years younger.

But with a dynamic player like Banda, and a presence like Marta, other elements of the Pride’s success can be overlooked. Like the defense.

Orlando has allowed just 12 goals this season, fewest in the league. (Gotham rank second with 13 goals allowed.) And they held back the Current — the league’s best offense with 40 goals — to just a goal.

Goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse, who anchors the D, made seven saves against the Current. Moorhouse shares the league lead with seven clean sheets.

“We want to win the shield and then win it all. We have proved that is our potential and we plan on going for it,” midfielder Kerry Abello said.

Oh, and for all those who thought the Pride celebrated a bit too hard? Let’s review: They were down to 10 players, they were on the road, they were up against the league’s most potent offense. And they have endured years in the bottom half of the table. Let them have this one.

We now big adieu to the NWSL until August. I’m heading off to the Olympics! Next week I’ll have limited content because I’ll be on a flight to Europe on Sunday for a little vacation before the craziness begins. I still have to pack and write about 100 stories for The AP.

One last note: I won’t say much about the situation with the Wave, except to say this was a legally problematic issue for many media outlets. I’m not going take a deep dive into defamation law here, or describe why Twitter in itself makes things complicated — but suffice to say that outlets, including The AP, must always be thoughtful and careful in their reporting.

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News from the week

Kansas City will host the NWSL championship game

NWSL prepares for the Oly break, from Jackie Gutierrez for The Equalizer

Angelina talks about the Pride’s success this season

Front Office Sports on Angel City’s $300 million valuation

Nice story on Current forward Temwa Chawinga from the Kansas City Star

Royals fire A-Rod, from ESPN’s Jeff Kassouf — I was honestly surprised by this one

Man U owner Glazer fails in bid to gain control over Angel City

Semafor was the first (I believe) to report that Bob Iger and Willow Bay are in play to acquire Angel City

Forbes with all the Olympic rosters

Marta in, Debinha out for Brazil and Olympics

ESPN looks at the summer transfer window

My OLY Preview Please click! 🙂

Canada names its Olympic team, also from me

We got to speak to U.S. midfielder Sam Coffey for the last time before she heads off to the Olympics. Coffey is a great story of perseverance.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By: Addie Parker, @addie_parker, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: @TheIceGarden, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer

Written by Annie Peterson