The Orlando Pride continue unbeaten streak thanks to Courtney Peterson’s last minute equalizer vs Gotham

The Orlando Pride celebrate a 90′ goal by Courtney Petersen against NJNY Gotham at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida on Sunday June 20, 2021

ORLANDO – The Orlando Pride (3-0-3, 12 points)  continued their 6 game unbeaten streak thanks to a last minute goal by second year defender Courtney Petersen in the 90th minute to equalize the score against visiting NJNY Gotham FC (2-1-2, 8 points) to 1-1. It was the first MLS goal of Petersen’s career.

With the point, the Pride’s unbeaten streak reaches six-straight to start the regular season, and eight total dating back to the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup. 

“I thought we were the better team.” Said Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner. “I thought that we created chances that were much more effective than the chances they [Gotham] created. And, of course, I think both goals were crosses if you look at them but they both are flying to the net as weird games will do that.”

Gotham kicked offf the scoring in the 45th minute when Caprice Dydasco directed a ball toward the far post that snuck beyond the outstretched Ashlyn Harris to find the side netting. It was Dydasco’s first goal of her NWSL career.

NJNY Goal Keeper Kailen Sheridan stretches to block a shot as Orlando’s Alex Morgan watches on at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida on Sunday June 20, 2021

The Pride, had many scoring opportunities before and after the Gotham Goal.

In the 13th minute, Marta worked her way through the Gotham defense, creating space near the top corner of the six-yard box. She was able to get a shot off on goal, but Kailen Sheridan did well to get down and make the stop.

The fact that the teams were returning from the International break and could perform so well is a testament to the teams’ focus on “doing and believing together”. Coach Skinner explains.

“The most important message to hit home, is the psychology of the players. The players now are in a space where they are believing who they are, believing what the team is doing and believing together. At halftime it was very clear, the message: ‘We have control of what we are doing. We are in control of what we are doing and we must keep doing that.’ And I think it was that psychological change in the players. It gets to the point where you build and will yourself into positions to win games and, for us, we created enough chances to win this game two, three times over with the quality of the chances. [Gotham] are good at ball possession but we chased, harried and harassed and never gave up and that’s the attitude of the Pride.”

Orlando had the upper hand in the opening half, making steals and cutting off passes with apparent ease, but the could not get clean shots on goal.

The Pride had another run of chances with less than half an hour left. In the 62nd minute, Morgan found Leroux making a run into the box. While Leroux was able to catch up to it and get a shot off, Sheridan had closed down the space enough to make an easy block.

Orlando now heads on the road, facing Kansas City on June 23rd at 2pm ET

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