NWSL: Braces from Barbra Banda, Marta lift Pride past Royals

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Barbra Banda and Marta each scored twice to lead the Orlando Pride to a 6-0 victory over the visiting Utah Royals on Friday night.

Summer Yates and Ally Watt each added a goal for the Pride. Banda assisted on two goals.

NWSL-leading Orlando (9-0-5, 32 points) is unbeaten through 14 games after earning its fifth clean sheet of the season. Two of the shutouts came against the Royals.

Utah (2-11-1, 7 points) took its worst loss of the season after the Pride thoroughly dominated possession during both halves, finishing at 63 percent.

Orlando finished with a 28-11 advantage in total shots and a 21-9 edge in shots on goal.

Banda got the Pride on the board in the 27th minute. Kerry Abello broke free from a defender down the left flank off a throw-in and sent a cross over to Banda in the 6-yard box. Banda blasted home a snap-down header to put Orlando in front.

A leaping save from the Royals’ Mandy Haught in the 41st minute kept Yates from adding to the lead. Yates teed up a long-distance blast, but Haught pushed the ball over the crossbar to set up a corner kick that the Royals successfully defended.

Yates broke through three minutes into first-half stoppage time. She settled a long pass, drew Haught off her line and beat her in a one-on-one challenge to extend the lead to two goals.

Orlando had a 11-4 advantage on total shots before halftime and put nine shots on frame.

Marta scored twice after halftime, threading the ball inside the near post in the 47th minute and blasting a point-blank shot off a pass from Banda in the 88th minute.

Haught initially denied Banda from getting a brace with an 81st-minute save, parrying away a point-blank shot to force a corner kick. Banda logged her second goal five minutes later when she seized an errant pass, cut around Haught and blasted the ball into an empty net before a trailing defender could catch her.

Watt added Orlando’s sixth goal five minutes into second-half stoppage time, putting the ball inside the near post.

–Field Level Media

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