Marta, Sydney Leroux Lead Orlando Pride Past Washington Spirit

Sydney Leroux
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ORLANDO, FLORIDA (July 7, 2018) — Marta hasn’t scored for the Orlando Pride since April 28, against the Seattle Reign.

However, that changed on Saturday.

Marta, Sydney Leroux Lead Orlando Pride to 2-1 Win Over Washington Spirit

Marta scored the game-winning goal against the Washington Spirit, giving the Orlando Pride three crucial points in a 2-1 victory. The Brazilian, off an assist from Sydney Leroux, tucked the ball past Aubrey Bledsoe.

Marta’s shot went into the top left corner of Bledsoe’s net. She began the play by going one-on-one with defender Whitney Church. Then, Estelle Johnson joined the play, but the fancy footwork from the Brazilian couldn’t be beaten.

Instead, Marta beat her defenders.

After the match, Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said that he was “proud” of his players.

“It was a really tight game in the end in the scoreline but we had seven good chances to score in the first 12 minutes,” Sermanni said. “It’s important when you get those chances that, if you take one or two of them it gives you that little barrier and a little bit of respite because you know at some stage in this league teams are going to come into the game and they’re going to create chances and that’s exactly what Washington did.”

Leroux wasn’t just on Orlando’s board with an assist. The U.S. Women’s National Team striker notched Orlando’s opening goal in first-half stoppage time.

However, it was Washington who got on the board first. Ashley Hatch scored Washington’s first goal since May 27.

Church assisted the second-year forward’s goal.

“They consolidated a little bit and then got that opening goal, which made life obviously a lot more difficult then,” Sermanni said. “The players deserve a lot of praise for coming back, keep plugging away, keep playing the way that we wanted to play.”

“I think we did enough to win the game and we deserved to win the game.”

Three Takeaways

  1. Give Hatch some credit: Aside from defender Caprice Dydasco, Ashley Hatch has been Washington’s best player this season. The move from first-place North Carolina Courage must be tough on the young forward, watching her former club take the NWSL by storm. However, Hatch has become a top player on a roster that includes Mallory Pugh, Andi Sullivan, and Rose Lavelle.
  2. Orlando keeps a hold on third place: For now, at least, the Orlando Pride are in a playoff spot. The Pride and Chicago Red Stars have 25 points each, but due to goals scored by Orlando, they’re on top. There’s a fighting chance for Orlando to keep the Seattle Reign — who sit in second place with 26 points — on their toes.
  3. Morgan in the booth: Last week, Alex Morgan left the match with a calf injury. There is no timetable on her return, but Morgan joined the NWSL commentators from LifeTime TV in the booth. Morgan gave some analysis, but her best line was when she noted that Washington “didn’t even have the ball” in the first 15 minutes.

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