SANFORD, Fla. – For the Orlando Pride, making the playoffs for a second consecutive year depends on their success during their final five remaining National Women’s Soccer League games.
The Pride face a tight race to finish among the league’s top four teams and secure a postseason berth.
“In our second year, we really set the standard of the kind of team we want to be and we want to be in the playoffs every year,” Orlando midfielder Dani Weatherholt told Pro Soccer USA on Monday. “We’ve been in second place for the majority of this year and it’s coming down to the final games. They’re must-win games for us, and I think we’re hitting form at a good time.”
The Pride (8-6-5), who sit in fourth place with 29 points in the standings, face a winless Sky Blue on Sunday, but the games that follow are against potential playoff opponents.
Orlando host the Portland Thorns (8-5-5, 29 points), last year’s champions, at Orlando City Stadium on Aug. 11 at 7:30 p.m. The Pride then face the league leading North Carolina Courage (14-1-4, 46 points) on the road Aug. 18.
The Chicago Red Stars (74-7, 28 points), who sit in fifth place, visit Orlando on Aug. 25 before the Pride close the regular season on the road against Sky Blue on Sept. 8.
Weatherholt said the team is focusing on one game at a time.
“It’s game by game,” Weatherholt said. “Sky Blue, unfortunately, haven’t had a good year but they are a great team and have lost a majority of their games by one goal. For the games that follow, we just have to stick to our game plan and the rest will take care of itself.”
The Pride had a light training session on Monday after having most of last week off. Weatherholt spent her break in New Hampshire with teammate Rachel Hill.
Krieger opens training camp
The month of July brought milestones for Orlando Pride defender Ali Krieger.
She turned 34 years old and made her 100th NWSL appearance earlier this month.
With the Pride taking four days off last week, Krieger returned home to Virginia to launch her inaugural Ali Krieger Football Camp.
Krieger has always been focused on sharing her knowledge with others.
“I just love the game so much that I want to give back as well,” Krieger said. “Just help kids understand what it takes to get to the level that we play at. I don’t know if enough of us professionals do that, and I think if I can help and show the way, maybe others will start joining and giving back in different ways.”
Krieger said the football camp took almost a year of planning and about 150 kids enrolled in the day training camp, which included two sessions at the Ali Krieger Sports Complex in Dumfries, Va.
“It goes to show you when give back a little bit, people really appreciate it,” Krieger said. “That’s all I want to do, I want to teach young kids how to be good at a young age and mold them into good players because that’s what I got and that’s very valuable to me.”
For more information on future training opportunities, visit alikrieger.com/akfc.