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Preview: KC NWSL travel to face league leader Orlando

The Pride sit on top of the NWSL table

Thad Bell

Orlando Pride (2-0-1) vs. Kansas City NWSL (0-1-2)

When: May 30, 2021 5:00pm CT

Where: Exploria Stadium | Orlando, Florida

How to watch: Paramount + (in the U.S.), Twitch (outside the U.S.)

Radio: Sports Radio WHB 810 (Kansas City)

Orlando is on a good run of form in the 2021 regular season. After a draw with Washington, the Pride have beat two traditionally strong sides, on the road at North Carolina Courage and at home over the Portland Thorns. Both were 2-1 wins for the surging Orlando squad.

Kansas City NWSL is still looking for their first win in their new existence. Kansas City started the season with a scoreless draw at Racing Lousivile and then a 2-2 draw at the Houston Dash before returning home to lose 2-0 against the Chicago Red Stars.

“They are a team that is playing well,” KC head coach Huw Williams stated. “Marc (Skinner), their coach has been there for a awhile now and it has taken some time but he has them playing the way he wants them to play and everything is clicking now. Alex Morgan is playing well; she is making that push for the Olympic team so every game is important for her. She is scoring goals and getting behind lines so we will definitely have to focus on that. They have two good wins in a row and will be a challenge but there are no easy games in this league.”

Coach Williams and KC NWSL face a tough task in Orlando, not just because the Pride is playing well but it is KC NWSL’s third match in a week and they are short-handed with several potential starters out or questionable.

With the short rest, travel and injuries, coach Williams will need to balance the fitness and minutes for his team. Veteran players like Amy Rodriguez, Rachel Corsie and Desiree Scott have already played a lot of minutes recently and that could result in other players getting starts or additional minutes.

In their last match, Kansas City and Chicago were relatively even through the first half with KC having the advantage at times, but as the game moved into the second, the KC side wore down and that could again play a factor.

Defender Taylor Leach had to leave that match at half time and will be out for an undetermined amount of time.

OUT: Lo’eau Labonta (right lower leg), Taylor Leach (right knee), Chloe Logarzo (left hip), Diana Matheson (left foot), Kiara Pickett (left thigh), Arielle Ship (right lower leg)

QUESTIONABLE: Kristen Edmonds (left leg), Abby Smith (right thigh)

Predictions: It is hard to see KC coming away victorious unless they play a magnificent game. Orlando will likely earn their third straight win and the biggest question will be who gets the game experience and how the team responds to the adversity.