Orlando Pride players took a short break, watched some of their friends compete in the World Cup and got back to work.
And now they are pushing for a breakthrough win.
The Pride (0-7-1, 1 point) travel to play the Houston Dash (3-2-2, 11 points) at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at BBVA Compass Stadium, where they will fight to snap their 14-game winless streak that spans two seasons. The team’s most recent victory was on July 14 against the Utah Royals.
“I think everyone’s hungry for a win,” Pride defender Carson Pickett said. “We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I think everyone’s excited and ready to play.”
Orlando has been idle since falling 3-0 to the North Carolina Courage on June 1.
Pride coach Marc Skinner, who has asked for patience as he works on a complete overhaul of the team’s tactics and tries to offset the loss of nine players called up for the World Cup, said the team has worked hard to get better each day.
Orlando will be challenged by an improved Houston team led by Kealia Ohai. The Dash have seven players at the World Cup, two more out due to injury and another two — Taylor Comeau (right arm) as well as Kyah Simon (right thigh) — questionable for the match.
“I’m expecting a very, very good team,” Skinner said of Houston. “Well organized. I’m expecting, as it was last time, a tough game. But we’ve got to get to a point where we can play anybody. I’m happy with the progress, not the results; I’ll always say that. But we’re happy with the progress the players are showing. If you can limit the mistakes and make the other team make mistakes, we’ll be in a good place.”
Pride defender Toni Pressley said the break gave players a chance to recover from a tough start to the season that included a heavy dose of matches against 2018 NWSL playoff teams and better prepare to face Houston.
“They’re going to be a good team,” she said. “They have great players. I think it’s going to be a fight. … We need to go in there and execute and prepare properly. And I think if we do that and stick to our game plan, we’ll have success there.”