Team players celebrating their win/ JWS

The Pride handed North Carolina their first home loss since 2018, defeating the Courage 2-1 on Saturday night.

The matchup was billed as midfield battle, with Debinha and Marta going head-to-head for the Courage and the Pride. Orlando did its part to manage North Carolina’s box midfield, getting numbers back to quiet the Courage’s offensive transition.

The Pride didn’t dominate possession, but the club did take advantage of chances when they arose. One of those opportunities came in the 36th minute, when Sydney Leroux pounced on a poorly executed back pass by the Courage. Picking apart the failed North Carolina connection, Leroux sprinted into the box, cutting to her left foot before powering the ball into the near post.

Leroux’s efforts put her side up 1-0 just before the half.

The Pride struck again in the 79th minute with a flick-on from Taylor Kornieck to Alex Morgan. The USWNT veteran beat her defender to slot the ball into the far post, doubling Orlando’s lead.

Morgan now has a goal in each of the Pride’s regular season games.

Continuing to apply pressure, Jessica McDonald scored the Courage’s lone goal from close range with only a minute left in regulation. Despite the late push, North Carolina was unable to find another equalizing goal in extra time, giving the Pride a 2-1 win.

The Pride will look to preserve their unbeaten regular-season record when they host the Thorns at home on Wednesday. North Carolina will stay in Cary for their next game against Racing Louisville FC on Friday.