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Match Preview: Seattle Reign vs. Orlando Pride

The Reign have a tough home matchup against an undefeated squad.

Last Updated
4 min read
© Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Reign FC returns to Lumen Field on Sunday, May 19, for a match against the undefeated Orlando Pride. The game kicks off at 3 PM PT and will air locally on KONG TV and stream on the KING5+ app and NWSL+.

As the Reign continue to search for points to move up the table, they won't have an easy battle at home. The Pride enter this match on a six-game winning streak, earning four clean sheets and outscoring opponents 11-3 in that span.

Seattle, however, is unbeaten against the Pride at home – winning five of eight home matches.

Recent Results

Last Saturday, the Reign traveled to Portland and fell to their rivals 4-0 in a match that was much closer than the scoreline. The Orlando Pride hosted Bay FC and had 25 shots but needed a penalty kick goal from Adriana to win 1-0.

Head to Head

The Reign are 7-2-7 all-time against the Pride.

  • That includes a 5-0-3 record at home.
  • Bethany Balcer has scored four goals against the Pride.

Quick Stats

  • The Orlando Pride (6-0-3) have scored 15 goals and conceded 7.
  • Seattle Reign (2-6-1) has scored 7 goals and conceded 14.
  • In just four starts, forward Barbra Banda has four goals and two assists.
  • The Orlando Pride have scored four of their 15 goals from set plays, the most in the league. They also have the most expected goals from set plays.

What to Watch

Breaking down the Pride defensively

A tough defensive side, the Pride have allowed just 57 shots from open play, the fewest in the league. They defend in a deep 4-4-2, getting numbers behind the ball. The Pride can do this because they have the athleticism and speed to transition quickly. As a result of all those numbers behind the ball, teams are shooting from a longer distance against the Pride than any other team.

However, teams have found some success using their width, which is something the Reign can utilize on Lumen Field's expansive pitch. But they'll need to make better decisions and placement of their cutbacks and crosses than they have in recent matches. And they'll need to finish the limited chances they might get.

"The final third has been a challenge for us," Reign head coach Laura Harvey admitted before the game. "Last week, we did some really good stuff until we got in and around the goal and we didn't make the goalkeeper work enough. So, it's just fine details for us of how we can cause the opponent problems and when we get in and around there, show a little bit of quality."

Limiting Barbra Banda

Joining the Orlando Pride four games into the season, Barbra Banda has announced herself in the NWSL with several exclamation points. Banda has four goals and two assists in four starts. She also earned a penalty last week to set up the Pride's lone goal against Bay FC.

Banda has scored twice with her head, once by volleying in a cross, and a fourth time by creating a goal out of nothing.

She's not just a shooting threat. Banda has incredible vision and, especially if a match gets open and transitional, can thread a perfect pass to her teammates.

The Reign know what she can do and will be focused on limiting where she gets the ball and keeping her out of dangerous positions.

"She's a world-class talent. I think anyone who's followed the game in recent years knew that before she got here," Harvey said. "I think that prevention is better than cure when it comes to Banda. Can you prevent her from getting in and around the area that she wants to get in to cause you a problem?"

As defender Phoebe McClernon also noted, Orlando's threats come from crosses and cutbacks. Banda's second assist for the Pride came from a cutback cross to former Reign midfielder Angelina. The Reign didn't defend those opportunities well against Portland. They're going to need to be much better against the Pride.

"That's something that we need to be better at ... because Orlando gets a lot of crosses and they get a lot of success from crosses. So, definitely tackling that in-box organization."

Home-field advantage

The Pride have only played three matches on the road so far this season, with trips to Louisville, D.C., and Utah. In those games, the Pride drew with Louisville, won 1-0 against Utah, and played to a close 3-2 win against the Spirit. They got red cards later in the game in two of those matches and conceded four goals.

Despite their rough start to the season, the Reign are 2-1-1 at home. This will be the Pride's first cross-country trip – and the Reign need to take advantage of the home-field advantage. While they'll want to defend well to limit the Pride's effective attack, the Reign need to get on the front foot offensively and finish their chances to get the home crowd into the game.

Injury / Availability Report

Seattle Reign

OUT: Claudia Dickey (knee), Jordyn Huitema (back), Quinn (knee)

Orlando Pride

OUT: Angelina (knee), Celia (hip), Simone Charley (SEI - leg), Luana (SEI - illness), Megan Montefusco (SEI - heel), Viviana Villacorta (SEI - knee)
QUESTIONABLE: Mariana Larroquette (lower leg)

How to Watch

Seattle Reign host the Orlando Pride on Sunday, May 19, at 3 PM PT. The game will air on KONG TV locally and stream on the KING5+ app and NWSL+.