Sydney Leroux scored her first goal for the Orlando Pride since 2018 during Friday’s match against the Houston Dash. Orlando was down at halftime and had been out played during the first half by the visiting side, but would pull within one thanks to a quick goal in opening minutes of the second half on the tenacity of Leroux.
The goal, assisted by halftime substitute Abby Elinsky who served in a long ball that generated space, found a darting Leroux who was able to get a boot on it and brought Orlando within striking distance with a half to go.
It was a tale of two halves for both teams in the match, with Orlando largely on their back heels trying to sustain the attack from Houston during the first half. The Pride would get a goal back early on thanks to Leroux, and would continue to stay active, despite being out shot 20 to 5 in the 2-1 loss to Houston.
“It’s nice. I mean, I did spend a year pregnant and then a year of not playing soccer because of the whole coronavirus situation. It’s been my second game, like my proper second game, so I felt good, I feel fit. I wish we had more time but unfortunately it is what it is. So, I’m excited to look ahead to next season and this game coming up.”
It’s been a remarkable journey back for Leroux who made her return from pregnancy, and has had to wait things out due to COVID-19. Head coach Marc Skinner mentioned during post game comments that Leroux’s efforts impact the team overall.
“She’s an exceptional player and a wonderful person,” said Skinner. “For me, I love the bite that Sydney has. She has a wonderful nature and a mothering nature with the younger players. She’s a connector of the team, but she also has that bite and edge.”
“You saw it for the goal, she sniffed the opportunity and she made sure her body was there to make sure she could finish it.”
Orlando will conclude their Fall Series schedule with a final south pod match where they will host the North Carolina Courage on Oct.17.