Pride seek 2 straight wins with home match vs. Kansas City

The Orlando Pride are heading into Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. game at Exploria Stadium looking to do something they haven’t done in almost a year: win two games in a row.

“Winning is great. It’s a great feeling and becomes a habit,” coach Amanda Cromwell said, “That’s what we are going to try to remind [the team]. That energy, that confidence is a habit. You walk onto the field every game wanting to continue those habits that get us the three points.”

Following their first win of the season and Cromwell’s first win of her professional career, the Pride hope that consistency will be key against a team they faced early in the preseason in the Kansas City Current.

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“[They have] really good players in attacking spots that we have to be really mindful of,” Cromwell said. " Just getting a sense of what their formation might be so how we can set up against them. We know they’re going to be good. They’re going to be searching for a win.”

The Current have dropped their last three matches, two in league play, and their NWSL Challenge Cup semifinal match against North Carolina. Since then, Kansas City lost forwards Mallory Weber and Lynn Williams to season-ending injuries. Williams, a star signing in the offseason from North Carolina, had scored 41 goals in 79 appearances for the Courage over the past five years.

On the other end, Orlando will miss Haz James for the second straight game while Meggie Dougherty Howard and Amy Turner miss their third. All three of those players are integral to the Pride’s defense and midfield, which forced Cromwell to make some emergency changes in those positions for last game. With those three players remaining out, the Pride coach said to expect a similar lineup from last weekend in L.A.

One of those players that started in a new position was fullback Carrie Lawrence. Cromwell said that while the team was at the airport heading to L.A., she asked Lawrence if she’d be OK playing at center back with only a short time between preparing and playing a new position.

“I didn’t mind it, to be honest with you,” said Lawrence, who played a key role in the victory. “It was definitely different, but I felt pretty comfortable. After the first 10 minutes, I was like, ‘All right, this isn’t too bad.’ ”