Goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe earns first career clean sheet
ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando Pride (2-3-3, 9 points) picked up an important win on Saturday night, battling the Boston Breakers (2-4-2, 8 points)—as well as the rain—en route to a 2-0 win at Orlando City Stadium. It was the Pride’s first shutout of the 2017 season and the Club’s second straight victory in front of its home crowd after earning a 3-1 win over North Carolina three weeks ago.
“I was really delighted with the way we started the game tonight,” Orlando Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “We started it and showed real intent and we were rewarded for that by the two early goals. It was great to have a clean sheet. I can’t remember exactly when we had one of those before, it’s been some time. I was pleased with a lot of aspects of our performance tonight. Difficult conditions against a very competitive team.“
It took less than 10 minutes for the Pride to set the tone for the match, with Marta earning the first penalty in Orlando Pride history in the eighth minute. The forward was rewarded for her efforts, stepping up to the spot and firing a low shot into the left side of the net. Boston goalkeeper Abby Smith earned a yellow card on the previous play, taking down Marta on a breakaway attempt.
Orlando kept the pressure on, adding an insurance goal just four minutes later when Jasmyne Spencer scored her third goal of the season off an assist from Camila. The duo linked up for the second straight game, with Camila driving a cross through the box and Spencer finishing with an inside-of-the-foot volley in the center of the six.
Goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe made her second straight start for Orlando, the third of her career, and kept the Breakers off the board with three saves. It was Bledsoe’s first career shutout.
The Pride rolled out a new-look lineup, starting Steph Catley and Toni Pressley in their usually spots at left back and center back, respectively. Sermanni pushed Ali Krieger into the second center back position and dropped midfielder Kristen Edmonds to right back, a position she previously played in her time at Western New York.
Monica returned to patrol the midfield and, with Dani Weatherholt away with the U.S. U23 Women’s National Team, Alanna Kennedy filled in at holding mid.
Sermanni called upon rookie Rachel Hill, giving the UConn product her first career start in front of the 5,185 fans. Hill added to the Pride’s attack, totaling two shots in her debut and coming inches from her first professional goal in the 32nd minute.
Forward Chioma Ubogagu also made her first appearance since May 14 after missing Orlando’s last two matches due to a hamstring injury.
Due to the FIFA international break, the Pride will see two weeks until its next match, returning to the road to face the Houston Dash on June 17.
That match will begin a home-and-home series with the Texas side, with the Pride hosting Houston at 4 p.m. ET on June 24 at Orlando City Stadium. That match will be broadcast nationally as the NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime.