Orlando overcame three-goal deficit against North Carolina Courage

By Official Florida FC

An unforgettable year for the Orlando Pride concluded, on the pitch, with an unforgettable result.

Ally Haran’s stoppage time goal helped the Pride produce a 3-3 draw with the North Carolina Courage in the final game of the NWSL Fall Series. Haran’s goal helped Orlando overcome a three-goal halftime deficit.

Saturday was the first time in the Pride’s 94-match history the club overcame a multiple-goal deficit to produce a result.

“If you believe in fairy tales and stories — obviously, we would like a winner, but for us to come back in that manner … I think it was a almost a fairy-tale kind of moment for the players,” Pride head coach Marc Skinner told the Orlando Sentinel. “What I’m really pleased with is the way that we just dug in, we committed.”

North Carolina led 3-0 at halftime following goals from Debinha and American international Lynn Williams.

Debinha’s opener came from the Brazilian international being held onside by the Pride central defense in the 19th minute. She was one-on-one with Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris and finished at the near post.

Orlando and North Carolina traded half chances for the next 20 minutes. But, the Courage, thee 2019 NWSL Shield winners and 2019 NWSL Champions responded with a pair of goals in first-half stoppage time. North Carolina created both goals off Pride turnovers in the midfield. Debinha assisted Williams’ goal that doubled the lead. Less than 90 seconds later, Debinha was, once again, one-on-one with Harris.

Orlando found a lifeline less than 10 minutes into the second half when Marisa Viggiano stabbed home a rebound that was spilled by Courage goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland in the 54th minute. The opportunity was created by Marta finding Sydney Leroux inside the penalty area. Leroux created enough space to unleash a left-footed shot that Rowland could not control.

Later, fullback Kristen Edmonds was afforded time and space to pick her place. Edmonds curled a left-footed shot into the far-corner to cut the deficit to 3-2. The 71st minute goal made Edmonds the fifth person in Pride history to score 10 or more goals with the club.

That gave the hosts enough time for a grand finale. It required Skinner replacing USF alumna Jordyn Listro with Haran in the 85th minute.

With one of the last kicks of the season, Orlando drew a free kick, Haran held off two defenders and headed the ball perfectly, across Rowland’s goal into the far corner.

The draw meant Orlando finished (0-2-2, 2 points) eighth in the NWSL Fall Series. North Carolina (1-1-2, 4 points) finished fifth.

Saturday’s match was the Pride’s fourth match of the year. Orlando was set to apppear in the NWSL Challenge Cup this summer. However, nearly a dozen players and members of the staff tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the team to withdraw from the tournament.

The Pride will gear up for an offseason where it will need to decide who will be left unprotected in next month’s NWSL Expansion Draft and building toward Skinner’s third season on the touchline in the City Beautiful.

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