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Orlando Pride miscues lead to Sam Kerr hat trick, 3-2 loss to Chicago Red Stars

Marta’s late penalty kick kept Orlando in the mix, but Chicago held on for the win

Orlando Pride star Marta, center, pushes past Chicago Red Stars defender Brooke Elby (23) Sunday at Exploria Stadium in Orlando. (ISI Photos)

Mistake after mistake haunted the Orlando Pride Sunday. Sam Kerr pounced, delivering a hat trick during the Chicago Red Star’s 3-2 win over Orlando.

Kerr wasted no time scoring in her first game back from the FIFA Women’s World Cup, jumping on a poor back pass to Pride goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer and scoring in the seventh minute to give Chicago an early 1-0 lead.

In the 22nd minute, Chioma Ubogagu scored a similar goal, intercepting a slow Emily Boyd back pass to the Red Stars’ keeper and easily scoring on an empty net to level the game at 1-1.

Kerr earned a first-half brace in stoppage time as Kopmeyer’s clearance was headed by Yuki Nagasato. The deflected ball founds its way to Kerr, who shot it past Kopmeyer to give Chicago a 2-1 lead at halftime.

“I think it was a silly goal,” Marta said through a translator. “Mainly at the end of the half, we need to keep focus. We can’t just get scored on right at the end when we had a tie to come into halftime. It was hot, but it was for both [of the teams].”

Kerr completed the hat trick in the 55th minute. Pride defenders were unable to get a body on Kerr as she flew past Toni Pressley, turned to the net and sent the ball past Kopmeyer.

“It was unacceptable the goals that got scored,” Marta said. “It was just too easy. I just think we need to have more confidence and trust more.”

Kopmeyer avoided surrendering another goal in the 77th minute by making a diving save, stopping Danielle Colaprico’s shot.

Orlando (1-8-2, 5 points) made things interesting late as Camilla split two defenders before getting tripped, earning a penalty kick. Marta, who joined Camila playing their first Pride game since returning from the World Cup, drilled the penalty into the back of the net and cut the deficit to one in the 79th minute.

“We huffed and puffed, had more possession control at times, but can’t give away the goals that we’ve given away,” Pride coach Marc Skinner said. “You need to be more intelligent in how you defend things.”

The Pride pushed the Red Stars (4-4-2, 14 points) for the equalizer, but they came up short. Although Skinner didn’t get the result he was looking for, the Pride head coach was able to find positives from the match.

“It’s the third in a row where we scored two goals. Regardless of how we shot them, we’re still scoring goals,” Skinner said. “But you can’t concede three. There are lots and lots I see individually improving, but now it has to be dragged together.”

Skinner explained that the mistakes made by the Pride are fixable, but they’re psychological and not technical.

“It’s habit, habit, habit,” Skinner said. “Once you break that habit, and see the infinite possibilities, you then change the world you see. It’s only in the pressure moments that you make that wrong decision.”

Callahan hit hard, but “aware”

Bridget Callahan collided with Chicago’s Katie Nagasato in the 13th-minute head first and went down. Callahan was subbed off the field with a bandage over her head to stop the bleeding from the hit.

Callahan was taken to a nearby hospital to receive stitches, according to the club. Although she will undergo a concussion test, she was “talkative and aware” while on the way to the hospital, the team said.

“She’s a tough cookie,” Skinner said of Callahan after the game. “So I’m sure she’ll want to bounce back as quickly as possible.”

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