Orlando Pride Profile
With a team full of megastars and an enormous fanbase, this is one of the most exciting teams in women's soccer. Here is their story.
The Orlando Pride play in United States' National Women's Soccer League.
They started out as an expansion team in the 2015 season and their first game in 2016 set an NWSL record for attendance.
In their first four seasons, the Pride made the play-offs just once, but they have always had big name stars leading the way.
Alex Morgan, Ali Krieger, Marta, Sydney Leroux and Ashlyn Harris have all played for the Pride.
The Pride play their home games at Exploria Stadium, a soccer-specific complex in downtown Orlando. They share the facility with MLS side Orlando City SC.
Exploria Stadium opened in 2017 and was known as Orlando City Stadium until 2019.
The ground has also been used for men's and women's international soccer games, the NCAA Women's College Cup, the MLS Combine, the 2019 MLS All-Star Game and college football bowl games.
The Pride are owned by the same duo who own Orlando City - Flavio Augusto da Silva and Phil Rawlins.
Tom Sermanni, who managed both the Australian and US women's national teams, was named the first Pride head coach.
They created a crest with a logo featuring the famous fountain at Lake Eola Park and tying into the Lions nickname used by Orlando City SC. The team colours are purple and light blue.
Months before they started playing, the Pride made their first player additions. They traded draft picks to Portland for USA superstar Alex Morgan.
In the expansion draft, they made 10 selections, including goalie Ashlyn Harris from Washington, defender Tony Pressley from Houston and forward Jasmyne Spencer from Western New York.
The Tom Sermanni era
Since Exploria Stadium was still under construction in 2016, the Pride played their inaugural season at the Camping World Stadium, home to the Citrus Bowl and former home of the University of Central Florida football team.
Their first-ever game was a 2-1 loss at Portland, with Steph Catley scoring the opening goal in the 12th minute.
The home opener on April 23 drew an NWSL record of 23,403 fans as the Pride beat the Houston Dash 3-1.
After an own goal in the 46th minute, Lianne Sanderson made it 2-0 11 minutes later and Morgan made it 3-0 in the 61st minute. After a loss to Chicago, the Pride then won three games in a row.
Orlando endured a three-game goalless streak before a 90th-minute Spencer strike saw the Pride beat Houston on June 23.
Kristen Edmonds scored both goals in a 2-1 win over Boston on July 10, but then the Pride lost five in a row. They drew 1-1 against Sky Blue on September 7 before losing the final two games of the season.
With 19 points from 20 games, the Pride finished ninth out of 10 teams. They only drew once all season and picked up six wins and 13 losses.
Harris made the NWSL Best XI as the Goalkeeper of the Year with 62 saves in 15 games. Edmonds led the team with six goals, while Morgan and Spencer added four each.
The 2017 season
Before the 2017 season, the Pride added Brazilian superstar Marta from FC Rosengard in Sweden.
They traded draft picks and distribution ranking slots for defender Ali Krieger and forward Chioma Ubogagu. Meanwhile, Morgan spent the first half of the 2017 season with Lyon in France before returning to Orlando in late June.
After losing the opener in Portland 2-0, the Pride christened Orlando City Stadium with a 1-1 draw against Washington as Danica Evans scored in the 86th minute.
After another defeat and a draw, Orlando beat North Carolina Courage 3-1 for their first win of the season. They picked up wins in back-to-back games in mid-June and Morgan returned for a 3-2 win over Sky Blue.
Marta scored twice in a 2-2 draw with Washington and Morgan got her first goal of the season in a 4-1 win over FC Kansas City.
Orlando hit their stride in August, winning five games in a row with a combined score of 16-4. Morgan scored six times and Marta four in that stretch, and they both scored twice in a 5-0 win over Sky Blue.
After a pair of draws, Orlando beat league leaders North Carolina 3-2 away from home in the final game of the season. This secured a third-place finish.
Alanna Kennedy won the game in the 91st minute after Orlando had blown a 2-0 lead.
The Pride had to go to Portland in the NWSL play-off semi-finals and they lost to the Thorns 4-1 as Kennedy scored their only goal in the 23rd minute.
With 40 points, the Pride finished in third place in 2017. They had 11 wins, seven draws and led the NWSL with 45 goals. Marta was the top scorer with 13 goals and six assists, while Morgan scored nine times in just 12 starts.
Kennedy, Camila and Ubogagu all added four goals each. Morgan was the NWSL Player of the Month in August with seven goals and two assists, while Marta took the honuor in September with two goals. Krieger and Marta both made the NWSL Best XI.
The 2018 campaign
Heading into the 2018 season, the Pride traded for forward Sydney Leroux, midfielder Christine Nairn and defenders Poliana and Shelina Zadorsky. They gave up Catley, Spencer, Aubrey Bledsoe and two draft picks in those deals.
The Pride started the 2018 season with a draw and two losses before beating Houston 1-0 at home. They alternated draws and wins over the next five games before losing a 4-3 thriller to North Carolina on May 23.
The Pride won three of four to start June but lost three of the next four. A 2-1 win over Utah on July 14 ended up being their final win as Orlando then drew twice before losing their last four games of the season.
That end-of-year slump cost the Pride a play-off spot. With 30 points, they finished in seventh place, seven points outside the play-off positions.
Leroux scored a team-high six goals while Ubogagu, Marta, Morgan and Rachel Hill scored four times each.
Sermanni and the Pride mutually parted ways after the season, and he left with a record of 25 wins, 29 defeats and 14 draws over three seasons.
The Marc Skinner era
The Pride hired Marc Skinner from English side Birmingham City to take over for the 2019 campaign.
The team also announced plans to build a new training facility at Sylvan Lake Park, the first training complex specifically tailored to a women's team in the NWSL.
The team traded for North Carolina defender Morgan Reid and sent Nairn to Houston. Leroux started the season on maternity leave and returned for the final three games of the season.
Orlando got off to a rough start with 2-0 and 5-0 losses before they drew 1-1 against Reign FC on April 21. They lost the next five games, scoring just one goal, before a 2-2 draw against Houston.
With their superstars at the 2019 Women's World Cup, Orlando won twice and lost twice.
Orlando beat Chicago 2-1 on August 21 with goals from Hill and Ubogagu.They lost the next four, and five of the final seven, to finish in last place.
Orlando had four wins, four draws and 16 losses in 2019, shipping a league-worst 53 goals.
Marta led the team with six goals, while Ubogagu and Hill had four each. Alex Morgan played in just six games and didn't score. Krieger represented the Pride in the NWSL Best XI.
The Covid-19 year
In October 2019, Morgan announced she was pregnant and would miss the beginning of the 2020 season. The campaign ended up being postponed due to COVID-19 and Morgan gave birth on May 7.
The NWSL announced a Challenge Cup in Sandy, Utah for the end of June but Orlando withdrew from the tournament after multiple players tested positive for COVID-19.
The Pride returned for the 2020 Fall Series but Morgan left on September 12 to sign for Tottenham Hotspur in England.
Their opener on September 19 came 343 days after their last official game as they drew 0-0 in North Carolina. The Pride lost to Houston 3-1 on September 26 and fell 2-1 to the Dash on October 9.
They finished the season on October 17 with a 3-3 draw against North Carolina. Marisa Viggiano scored twice in the competition, while Leroux, Edmonds and Ally Haran had a goal apiece.
Pride's top players
Alex Morgan and Marta are the most prominent names to play for Pride. Marta scored 23 goals in her first 59 games, while Morgan scored 18 times in 54 games.
Sydney Leroux, Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger are other big names associated with the Pride and the US women's national team. Krieger has been in the NWSL Best XI twice, while Marta and Harris each have one selection.
Midfielder Dani Weatherholt leads the Pride with 74 appearances, one more than midfielder Kristen Edmonds. Harris has the most appearances among goalkeepers with 66, having kept 13 clean sheets.