For 45 minutes, Kansas City NWSL played its strongest half of 2021. Perhaps it was a new variation of the starting XI, with Jessica Silva earning her first start and Victoria Pickett, Lo LaBonta, and Gabby Vincent owning the midfield. Maybe it was the motivation to get out of the winless slump, or maybe, just maybe, playing in front of the home fans at Legends Fields on a Wednesday afternoon. Whatever it was, KC looked like the better side in the first half with a faster and determined attacking side.
Midday Starting XI ☀️#KCvsORL | #WePlayForKC pic.twitter.com/8SuONrXuIy— KC NWSL (@KCWoSo) June 23, 2021
Kansas City would appear to take the lead in the 8th minute. LaBonta sent a pass across the box to Amy Rodriguez who was able to get a touch to put the ball into the back of the net, but she was caught just offside, and the game remained 0-0.
A hydration break plus stoppage time added due to injuries on the field gave the first half an added time of 11 minutes. It was during this time that KC would take the lead. A corner kick for KC NWSL resulted in the first goal of the day, making it the first regular-season home goal in the club’s history.
Off a corner kick, Amy Rodriguez sent the ball into the box where Silva did a backheel pass which found Marianna Larroquette, who poked it past the Pride’s goalkeeper, Erin McLeod. The goal for KC was the first goal since May 23rd.
LARROGOL #KCvORL | #WePlayForKC pic.twitter.com/kMA71AjTS0— KC NWSL (@KCWoSo) June 23, 2021
The celebration as short-lived as the Pride were able to equalize in the 10th minute of stoppage time. Former FCKC player Sydney Leroux would find the back of the net after scrambling to the box from the top of the midfield. She would find the space she needed to take a shot, which goalkeeper Abby Smith was unable to stop.
In the second half, it was all Orlando, adding two more goals to continue unbeaten in the NWSL. The first came within three minutes of the second half. Leroux would once again strike again with her second goal of the day. A long pass from Courtney Peter found Leroux who took a shot from 18-yards away to the top right corner of the net.
In the 85th minute, Marta dribbled through the midfield and sent a 40-yard shot towards the goal, giving Orlando its third goal against Kansas City and securing another victory for the first-place team.
Post-game, Captain Amy Rodriguez reflected on the loss:
“We can hang our heads a little bit, but at the end of the day we are a new team and still getting to know each other and developing the chemistry. It takes time, all we can do is keep pushing.”
Kansas City now marks its 11th game without a win in 2021 and turns its focus on Saturday against another strong side, the Washington Spirit.