05/13/2016 10:44 AM
The Western New York Flash (2-2-0) are looking to continue their road form after a come-from-behind win over Sky Blue FC last weekend, when they travel to Orlando, Fla. to take on the Orlando Pride (2-2-0) on Saturday, May 14.
The match is scheduled to kickoff at Camping World Stadium at 7:30 p.m. ET, with a livestream available at youtube.com/NWSL.
While the Flash currently have one of the beset road records (2-1-0) in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) so far, head coach Paul Riley realizes it hasn’t been easy. But that doesn’t mean the team hasn’t grown from the experiences.
“It’s been a difficult stretch of away games, but it’s actually been a great bonding tool for the team,” said Riley. “Traveling to Kansas City, Chicago, Sky Blue and now Orlando has given the team the opportunity to learn about each other, enjoy each others company and also pull together and overcome some major challenges.”
The Flash and the Pride are currently tied (along with Seattle Reign FC) for fifth in the league standings with six points all around. The Pride have already proven themselves to be a difficult adversary when at home, having won both home games by going up two goals on the Houston Dash and Seattle. Riley has noticed the Pride’s “excellent moments in their first two home games,” and admits “it won’t be easy” for his side.
One of those reasons this could be a difficult matchup for the Flash: experience. While the franchise of Orlando is new to the NWSL, Riley notes that they players on the team are not. With the likes of U.S. internationals Alex Morgan and Ashlyn Harris and Canadian international Kaylyn Kyle on the roster, the Pride is full of veteran players, which means the young Flash team – full of first and second year professional players such as Sam Mewis and Sabrina D’Angelo – will have to bring their A-game. But Riley is confident that his team is more than capable of rising to the occasion.
“Orlando has a ton of experience with full internationals across the backline, proficient midfielder, and speed and finishing ability upfront. We will need to be at our best, and we certainly feel we have a good game plan. The team has worked hard all week and our ability to make teams uncomfortable in possession will be key for us to get a good result," says Riley as he mentions the Flash's high-pressure style that has helped the team lead the league in shots (64) and force an abundance of corner kicks (24).
While a good result would be great for Western New York, Riley’s major goals for the team are focused on the long-term.
“Ultimately, we want to improve our performance every week: more possession, more attacking diversity, better individual defending and continuing our insatiable appetite to get the ball back – and our growth as a young team.”
The Western New York Flash return to Rochester on Saturday, May 21, at 7:00 p.m. ET as they take on U.S. Women’s National Team members Christine Rampone and Kelley O’Hara and Sky Blue FC. Tickets are available at wnyflash.com/tickets.