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Match Preview: Angel City at Orlando Pride | 3.22.24

20240316_MD_vsBAY_JF_0218Friday, March 22, at 5:00 p.m. Pacific, Angel City has their first road trip of the 2024 season at Orlando Pride. The match will stream in the US on Amazon Prime, with an English-language radio broadcast on iHeart.


Angel City’s first away game of 2024 is the same as 2023. That match, which ACFC won 2–1, was also the club’s first win of the season. In that game, forward Claire Emslie open the scoring late in the first half, only for Orlando forward Messiah Bright—who now plays for Angel City—to equalize in impressive fashion shortly after the break. A last-minute (literally) goal by forward Katie Johnson in the 10th minute of stoppage saved the three points for the visitors. ACFC is 1–2–1 (W–L–D) all-time against the Pride.

Last week, Orlando were on the road at Louisville, where they salvaged a draw after going down two goals by the 20th minute. In the 24th minute, defender Kerry Abello forced a Louisville own goal by defender Elli Pikküjämsa; forward Amanda Allen assisted forward Summer Yates for an 86th-minute equalizer.

In their opener, Angel City suffered a 1–0 loss at home against Bay FC, following a 17th-minute goal by Nigerian international Asisat Oshoala. The home team was the better side going forward, putting nine out of 19 shots on frame, but were kept off the scoresheet thanks to an impressive showing by keeper Lysianne Proulx and several off-the-line saves by defenders.

Scouting Report

Orlando made a number of roster additions over the offseason, including, most recently, star Zambian forward Barbra Banda, who the club signed at the beginning of March. Banda first attracted international attention at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where she scored back-to-back hat tricks—for the first time ever in Olympic history—despite her team suffering a 3–10 loss in their first match. Altogether, she has a head-turning 51 goals in 58 caps for the Copper Queens.

The club also added substantial new blood in the midfield, bringing in Angelina from the Seattle Reign, alongside her Brazil teammate Luana. Two-time World Cup champion Morgan Gautrat also joins Head Coach Seb Hines’s squad after a disappointing year in Kansas City that only saw her fit and healthy for a handful of matches. The No.6 was available for the Pride on Saturday, and if she stays out of injury trouble she will be a key component of the team’s midfield this season.

Finally, keep an eye out for 20-year-old Swedish midfielder Evelina Duljan. Duljan didn’t play in the club’s opener, but looks to have major upside as her skill on the ball and creativity turned heads at her old club, Juventus.

Roster History

Angel City’s roster has six players who once played for Orlando: forwards Messiah Bright, Clarie Emslie, and Sydney Leroux; defenders Ali Riley and Jasmyne Spencer; and midfielder Meggie Dougherty Howard. That gives the club more ties to Orlando than any other single team in the NWSL.

Dougherty Howard, a native of Largo, Florida and graduate of the University of Florida, played for the Pride from 2021–2022. The 28-year-old was a standout for Angel City on Sunday, notching five shots—three on target—including several of the team’s best scoring chances. She also made 18 passes in the final third and recorded one chance created and two successful tackles.

Bright, meanwhile, didn’t see the field on Sunday until the 83rd minute, but could provide a major scoring boost for Angel City this season, as the striker was Orlando’s leading scorer in 2023 and a rookie of the year finalist.