Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct a factual error. The Spencer / Marta combination has produced two goals on the season now.
Sunday night the Orlando Pride will be making a cross-country trek to Seattle to face the Reign. It will mark the second time in a week that a team from Orlando City has had a late-night match on the west coast, and everyone in Orlando hopes that they will be able to come away from the trip with a result as the MLS side did. And there's a chance that the ladies could one-up their MLS brothers by bringing all three points back from the Emerald City.
The match will see two streaks collide, and one team hopes they can keep the streak going while the other hopes to end theirs. The Orlando Pride are on a ten-match road losing streak that stretches back to May of last season. Meanwhile, Seattle is on a nine-match home unbeaten streak that goes back to June of last season.
Players to Watch
The Pride finally appear to have found the execution that they are seeking. The budding partnerships that we have seen in the last few matches finally came to fruition in the Mother's Day match with the North Carolina Courage. Chioma Ubogagu and Jasmyne Spencer got their first goals of the season, Kristen Edmonds was a great creator, being involved in the buildups of two of the three goals, and the on-pitch chemistry between Marta and Jasmyne has resulted in yet another goal--this time with the Brazilian legend feeding the speedy Spencer a great ball ahead for the final goal in the game. And of course Ashlyn Harris has been a force in goal, making 23 saves while allowing only 8 goals on the season.
Seattle brings a number of powerful players to the pitch that will test any opponent. Megan Rapinoe shares the league lead in scoring with four goals, and in the latest game Nahomi Kawasumi set an NWSL record with four assists in a single match. Jessica Fishlock has also contributed two goals, one assist, and five shots on goal for the season, while Beverly Yanez has two goals and five shots on target so far. In the net, Haley Kopmeyer has allowed 9 goals in five matches and has registered 18 saves.
Just as the Pride start feeling like the pieces are falling into place, they will face another huge test. Seattle leads the NWSL in Goals (14), Assists (9), and Shots on Goal (36). That means the improved defensive shape the Pride have shown in the last two matches will be tested. And lest Pride fans feel great about the last 3 - 1 win over the North Carolina Courage, Seattle is coming off a huge 6 - 2 drubbing of the Washington Spirit in their last outing, which was played on the road. Adding to the mountain the the Pride have to climb is the fact that in the NWSL for 2017, road teams are have only won 4 of 26 total games played as of this writing, representing a mere 15.4% win percentage on the year.
All the same, I feel like the last two matches for the Pride represent turning a corner. First they registered a point on the road at FC Kansas City, and then they got a breakout win at home against the league-leading North Carolina Courage. I'm going to go with the gut instinct that the confidence gained with these two results will help to push them to get the road winless streak monkey off their backs and take all three points in Seattle. I predict a 2 - 1 road victory for the Pride and by the time the team returns to Orlando, I expect them to be the ones with the unbroken win streak to maintain.
Do you believe the Pride can go on the road and win in Seattle? Or do you think that the home team will continue to "Reign" supreme on their pitch? Let me know in the comments below!