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Orlando Pride snaps 15-game winless streak with 2-1 win over Sky Blue

The Pride win their first game of 2019 and first under coach Marc Skinner

The Orlando Pride’s winless streak is finally over after a wild game.

Marisa Viggiano dribbled past a number of Sky Blue defenders and toward the byline.

Viggiano crossed the ball back into the box, hoping to find a Pride forward.

Instead, her cross hit Sky Blue defender Gina Lewandowski’s leg and it trickled past goalkeeper Didi Haracic and into her own net in the 81st minute.

Lewandowski’s own goal was the difference as the Pride snapped their 15-game winless streak with a 2-1 win over Sky Blue on Saturday in New Jersey.

The last time the Pride won a contest before Saturday was on July 14 against Utah Royals FC 2-1.

The victory against Sky Blue is also Pride coach Marc Skinner’s first with the club.

It was a contest which saw two handballs called for penalties, one for each team, and Lewandowski’s own goal.

Skinner said he did not celebrate the second goal because the goal was not by design. The situation called for Viggiano to switch the play to the right side of the field.

Instead, she decided to improvise and it led to the game-winning goal, to the relief of Skinner.  

“I said to Marisa, she made me look a bit stupid,” Skinner said. “The goals were obviously scrappy and all over the place, but we’ve been on the end of too many of the negative sides of that, so I think we deserved the [win.]”

Orlando forward Chioma Ubogagu opened the scoring in the 32nd minute.

The Pride (1-2-7, 5 points) were awarded a penalty after a well-worked short corner.

Carson Pickett received the ball, cut inside and ripped a shot that went off a Sky Blue defender’s hand in the penalty box.

Ubogagu had a short run up to the ball and hit a low shot into the right corner, giving the Pride the lead. It is Ubogagu’s first goal of the season.

Sky Blue (0-2-7, 2 points) equalized in the second half when Orlando defender Morgan Reid was called for a handball.

Sarah Killion converted her penalty in the 67th minute.

Both teams pushed forward in the final 20 minutes, looking for the game-winning goal.

It was Viggiano’s persistence taking on multiple defenders which proved to be the difference.

Skinner is hopeful the team is starting to turn a corner. He said he is asking a lot from a team whose best players are playing at the Women’s World Cup.

Consistency is paramount.

Last week’s performance in a 2-2 draw against Houston Dash and Saturday’s win are results that should instill confidence.

“The thing I’ve asked the group to define is what the future Pride looks like and we got that [on Saturday,]” Skinner said. “The psychology of the team, not the performance — it wasn’t great and it wasn’t anything that will be a future Pride performance — but their resilience, their defending and the will to play for the club is what came out.”

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