Orlando Pride's mood is mixed even with unbeaten record intact

Team satisfied with a point, but a bitter taste for the high standards set
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando Pride is at the top of the NWSL standings with 28 points. The Florida team drew 1-1 with San Diego Wave at Snapdragon Stadium in the 12th round of the league. The Pride lost their eight-game winning streak in the league but maintained a 12-game unbeaten run without a single loss.

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The impressive number of unbeaten games brought mixed feelings. The Pride struggled to maintain possession and left many openings for the Wave to attack, with the home team being largely superior throughout the game. The visitors only managed to prevail during the first half, where the goal was scored. Banda advanced down the right and carried the ball into the box. Despite being surrounded by two defenders, he made a well-placed mid-height pass to Julie Doyle, who scored with an acrobatic finish on her first touch.

"We're a bit disappointed because we set a high standard. But we're also proud to come into this environment with all these fans and against a great San Diego team. To wrap it up, we should be proud of that," Doyle's words after the game summed up the team's sentiment.

It was the first game after the international break. Currently, Orlando Pride is the team to beat in the NWSL, but they did little compared to San Diego Wave's performance. With the home team pressing more, they managed to equalize after a defensive lapse. Jaedyn Shaw crossed the ball, and Anna Moorhouse deflected it with one hand. The ball ricocheted off the far post, and with no one to clear it, Makenzy Doniak struck a low shot that deflected in.

The result could have been worse, which slightly eases the mood, but everyone recognizes that the winning streak could have continued. The lack of possession and some connection errors complicated Pride's situation, as highlighted by Seb Hines: "The players walked off the field disappointed because they put themselves in a position to win the game. I think there are elements of our game that we can continue to improve. The players set high standards for themselves, and as a team, we will analyze the game and see what we can continue to improve to ensure we can get three points."

It's a mix of emotions—a double-edged sword. The disappointment of not securing three points and the relief of earning just one, especially in an away game. The sequence of away games will continue in the next round.

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Pride has changed its mindset and is now focused on winning. They need to make the necessary adjustments to secure a victory against North Carolina Courage next Saturday, June 15. Pride will have a week to get things in order and take the field to maintain their reputation as the team to beat, aiming to secure three points with a strong performance.