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Orlando Pride fall to league-leading North Carolina

Pride yield 3 goals late in the first half

ORLANDO – All it took was a three-minute stretch to doom the Orlando Pride on Saturday in a game against the league-leading North Carolina Courage.

The Courage scored three goals in a three-minute stretch late in the first half and ultimately earned a 3-0 win over the Pride at Orlando City Stadium in a battle of the top two teams in the National Women’s Soccer League.

Debinha opened the scoring at the 37th minute, Merritt Mathias followed up with another goal in the 39th minute and then Jessica McDonald completed the quick flurry of goals for North Carolina by scoring in the 40th minute.

The Pride lost for the second time in a row at home and fell to 2-3-2 at Orlando City Stadium this year.

"Frankly, we've just been beaten by a team that was better than us, significantly better on the day. Probably in essentially all areas of the field. They were quicker to do things, they were dynamic, they were alert, they did soccer fundamental things better than we did," Orlando Pride head coach Tom Sermanni said. "The thing about this league -- apart from North Carolina, who are running away with it -- there's five or six teams right in the mix there. We need to ensure that we get back on an even keel, on a winning run, and put this game behind us."

The Pride will finish up a three-game homestead with a game against Washington at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Orlando City Stadium.