By – James Gilbert
Orlando, FL – The Orlando Pride kicked off the 2018 NWSL season Saturday vs. the Utah Royals FC. The Pride starts this season with a loaded roster of familiar names like Alex Morgan, Sydney Leroux and Marta. Expectations are high in Orlando, but the opener got off to a rocky start.
Jónsdóttir. Marta. A hard-fought draw at Orlando City Stadium.
— NWSL (@NWSL) March 25, 2018
The Royals struck first in the second minute of the game with a goal by Gunnhildur Yrsa Jonsdottir. Orlando City battled to a one-one tie but was unable to overcome the loss of star forward Alex Morgan in the 45th minute of play shortly before half. With the loss of Morgan, the Orlando City attack lacked cohesion and struggled to generate any offense. The game degraded into a yellow card slugfest with three yellow cards handed out. Eventually, Marta scored off a penalty kick to equalize in the 20th minute.
Orlando City Head Coach Tom Sermanni said “It was the kind of game we expected”, the Pride are back in action next Saturday on the road against the Washington Spirit followed by a visit to Portland on Sunday, April 15th. The Pride’s next home game is on April 22nd when they host the Houston Dash.
— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) March 25, 2018
Photo Credit – John Chapman