Rachel Hill got a different look at the Orlando Pride last week.
The forward was out with a groin strain during the Pride’s 2-1 loss to the Portland Thorns. She watched the match on television and saw a couple of issues plaguing the squad through its 0-2-1 start.
“It’s always interesting to watch and even to listen to the commentators and hear what things they have to say,” she said. “Just to hear different things … yeah it gives you a different perspective.”
The Pride are off to a slow start, but haven’t played a match with all of their players available. Five potential starters have been away for international duty and a couple of players – like Hill – have missed time with injuries.
Things for the Pride have been a bit disjointed to start the season, though with all five of the club’s international starts expected to return next week, players and coach Tom Sermanni are confident things will improve.
Barring injury, all of the club’s players are expected to be available for selection next week, except for Camila.
That’s next week. First the Pride have a match against the winless Houston Dash (0-1-2, 2 points) at 5 p.m. on Sunday in Orlando City Stadium. It’s the first of back-to-back home matches for the Pride.
“Just understanding and being on the same page is important for us,” Hill said. “Obviously, we still have five players out so we’re still trying to get together, but we’ll figure it out.”
She added, “It’s a long season so we still have time. We’re not panicking or anything. We’re going to be all right.”
Midfielder Christine Nairn, who assisted on the only goal the Pride have scored this season that didn’t come from the penalty spot, said the club is growing closer because of the early season adversity.
“I think it would be really easy for us right now for everything to kind of explode and for us to start pointing the finger, but that’s not what this club is about,” she said. “I’ve seen that in these first couple weeks. It’s just bringing us closer.
“Everyone wants to help and everyone wants to get to that next level. As soon as you start pointing the fingers then those losses become even bigger. We’re still searching for those three points and I think that’ll start this weekend. Hopefully it’ll start this weekend.”
The Dash, who were involved in long offseason standoff with U.S. women’s national team forward Christen Press, haven’t scored a goal since their season opener. Press refused to report to preseason camp and ultimately signed with Goteborg in Sweden after being traded to the Dash from the Chicago Red Stars.
“Houston’s an exciting team to watch right now,” Nairn said. “I think they’ve been unfortunate with a couple of their results but they have some really good players and they’re going to be tough to play against.”
Sermanni said earlier in the week the club needs to start winning matches in order to avoid too deep of an early-season hole and the loss of players called up to national teams isn’t an excuse for the poor results to start the season.
“Every game in this league is a tough game, whether you’re playing at home or away,” Seramnni said.
“We go into every game with the intent of trying to win the game. In this league, there are no easy games. Every game’s tough and if you look at the competition at the moment, in game to game, there’s virtually nothing separating the team.
“We’re expecting the game at the weekend to be as tough as last weekend’s game against Portland.”