Orlando Pride coach Marc Skinner decided he needed to make a change with 20 minutes remaining.
The Pride (0-2-7, 2 points) had just given up their second goal to the Houston Dash.
Skinner substituted Danica Evans for Bridget Callahan in the 70th minute. It did not take long for Evans to make an impact.
With her first couple of touches of the contest, Evans scored the equalizing goal as Orlando drew 2-2 on the road against Houston on Saturday. The contest extends the Pride’s winless streak to 15 games dating back to last year but for a team searching for confidence, the draw feels much more than one point.
“There are draws that feel like losses and there are draws that feel like wins. That was definitely one that felt like a win,” Orlando Pride coach Marc Skinner said.
Evans’ instant response to being put on the field came at the perfect time.
Houston had taken the momentum by scoring two goals after falling behind 1-0 at halftime. Sofia Huerta and Kristie Mewis each scored and gave the Dash the lead.
Needing to find another goal to salvage a point, Skinner brought on Evans.
She received the pass from Joanna Boyles, took one touch and shot it over Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell. Orlando’s response to going a goal down and then fighting back is something Skinner pointed to following the game.
There were ebbs and flows to the contest in which both teams controlled periods.
Orlando dictated most of the first half. Tactically, it’s what Skinner wanted, and it’s what the team has worked on the past two weeks. He said it was one of the best halfs the team has played all season.
The pressure applied in the first 15 minutes of the game led to the opening goal.
Boyles opened the scoring in the 13th minute after the Pride were awarded a free kick just outside the penalty box. Boyles took the free kick and shot low and to the right of the wall, sending the ball inside the far post.
Houston (3-3-2, 12 points) responded early in the second half. Sofia Huerta scored in the 47th minute to tie the game at 1.
Kristie Mewis added the Dash’s second goal in the 67th minute.
A few minutes later, Evans scored.
Building and finding consistency is Skinner’s challenge. He’s hoping Saturday’s result is the start.
“I think where consistency comes from is exposure to playing,” he said. “… The consistency of trying to not make that mistake and trying to do the right things on the ball. … I’m really proud of all the young players.”