Our Top 5 Orlando Pride goals
Updated: Jul 16
One thing we learned when compiling this list was that the Pride seem to like scoring great goals away from home. We've scoured our memory banks, and the NWSL YouTube channel to pick out my 5 favourite Orlando Pride goals of all time. We've picked these goals on pure merit of skill. So without further adue, here goes:
1. Christine Nairn @ the Thorns in 2018:
This goal is all about self-belief, technique and vision. The midfielder finds her self in a pocket of space just in front of the Portland back-line after she herself flicked on a header following a long ball forward from the back. The Thorns defence fails to clear the danger. Nairn then takes the ball on her chest about 25 yards from goal before sending a thundering volley over Britt Eckerstrom in the Portland goal. Wonderful vision and technique from the midfielder earns this strike the number 1 spot.
2. Alanna Kennedy @ Reign FC in 2019
Ahh, the bicycle kick. Or the scissor kick as it's often referred to on these shores. There have been some spectacular ones scored over the years, Rooney's against Manchester City is one that always stands out in my mind. They look spectacular if they go in, and can look absolutely bloody ridiculous if you fail to even make contact with the ball. This effort is a thing of beauty. It's actually a lot more difficult than it looks, the ball hangs in the air for quite some time after the Reign fail to clear their lines following a free-kick floated in from out wide. There's a lot of time for her to think about it, rather than going on pure reactionary instinct. She gets her foot just over the ball and is able to force it in to the corner. Perfection.
3. Alex Morgan @ FC Kansas City in 2016
This is goal encompasses great agility and predatory instincts. The sort of goal only a natural goalscorer conjures up. And Morgan certainly is that. Marta stands over a free-kick wife left, just a few yards on from the touchline. That's usually enough to scare opposition defenders. The Boss knows that ball is going in towards that near post, and is on the move before the ball even comes in. The Kansas City defenders are caught napping, and can only watch as the USWNT gets her heel to the ball and flicks it beyond the keeper and into the back of the net. Any young, budding striker needs to be shown this goal. Just watch as she is able to adjust her positioning to get anything on the ball. She knows any kind of touch is going to give her half a chance to score. Wonderful finish.
4. Marissa Viggiano v Sky Blue FC in 2019
Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a huge fan of Marisa Viggiano. The 4th round draft pick out of North Western was an unknown quantity when she was picked in 2019. Truthfully, I don't think a whole lot was expected of her by this fan base. Myself included. However, the youngster has proven the nay sayers wrong, with her vibrant displays. The youngster has bags of ability and this goal perfectly encapsulates that. She picks the ball up wide on the left hand side, before darting inside her defender and then sending a rasping drive beyond Kailen Sheridan in the Sky Blue goal. Top bins as we say over here.
Alanna Kennedy @ Washington in 2018
Who doesn't love a halfway line goal? I always applaud any goal scored from that distance purely just for the sheer cheek of even attempting it. The Australian international made a great play to intercept a loose ball just inside her own half before taking a touch, setting herself and sending the most audacious lob flying over Aubrey Bledsoe and into the Washington net. David Beckham, eat your heart out mate.
Honourable mentions go to:
Toni Pressley v FC Kansas City in 2017
This goal may not win any goal of the season awards, although it did win goal of the week. But it's still a great goal, and highlights just how important it is to have players all over the field that can contribute goals. Pressley also shows great technique, cutting across the ball with the outside of her left foot to create that back spin which sends it beyond the keeper and nicely into the bottom corner. It's so easy to get that wrong, and if you do it likely goes out for a throw. Kudos Toni.
Marta @ Portland in 2019
For the GOAT, this is a pretty average hit. But that says more about how high Marta's ceiling is, than it does about the goal itself. A square ball from Ubogagu, finds the Brazilian who arrows a shot straight into the top corner. Just Marta doing Marta things.
Alex Morgan v the Western New York Flash in 2016
Another example of Alex Morgan's uncanny striker's instincts. Following on from a clever dinked ball over the top from Kristen Edmonds, the USWNT legend darts between the two defenders and chips the ball over the keeper. The amazing thing to me though, is that the keeper really isn't that far off her line. But in Morgan's head she was far enough off her line to attempt the shot. She knew if she tried to take the ball in her stride she would likely be closed down by the two defenders she was able to slalom in-between. It was a real now or never moment, and only served to further highlight Morgan's remarkable finishing ability.
That's it from this list. Let us know what you think, and if we have missed anything out let us know via the usual channels.
*All highlights provided courtesy of the National Women's Soccer League.