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Barbra Banda shines as Orlando Pride end Kansas City’s unbeaten streak

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The Kansas City Current’s impressive unbeaten run came to an end with a 2-1 defeat against Orlando Pride, marking a significant moment in the NWSL season.

Zambia international Barbra Banda opened the scoring for Orlando Pride in the 37th minute.

Banda’s composed one-on-one finish against Kansas City goalkeeper AD Franch propelled her ahead of KC’s Temwa Chawinga in the race for the Golden Boot, the title awarded to the league’s leading scorer.

Kansas City responded swiftly. Just ten minutes after Banda’s goal, Chawinga showcased her skill with a stunning coast-to-coast run, finishing with her 12th goal of the season to level the score at 1-1.

This goal not only tied the game but also reignited the tight competition for the Golden Boot between Chawinga and Banda.

The dynamic of the game shifted dramatically in the 42nd minute when Orlando’s Carrie Lawrence received her second yellow card, resulting in a red card and reducing Orlando to ten players for the remainder of the match.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, the Pride maintained their composure and stuck to their game plan, frustrating Kansas City’s efforts in the midfield.

Orlando’s resilience paid off in the 60th minute when they earned a penalty kick.

Adriana was brought down by Franch after a shot attempt, and Brazilian legend Marta stepped up to take the crucial penalty. Marta confidently converted, putting Orlando back in the lead at 2-1.

Kansas City, who had been unbeaten for 17 matches including 15 this season, threw everything forward in a desperate attempt to equalize.

Despite their relentless efforts and the addition of 10 minutes of stoppage time, Orlando’s defense held firm.

The Pride’s disciplined and strategic play ensured they weathered the storm, securing a memorable victory.

This defeat marks the end of Kansas City’s remarkable unbeaten streak, a testament to their strong form this season.

However, the game also highlighted the resilience and tactical acumen of Orlando Pride, who managed to secure a victory despite being a player down for the entire second half.

Orlando’s ability to execute their strategy under pressure and Banda’s decisive performance underscore their potential as serious contenders in the league.

For Kansas City, the loss serves as a reminder of the challenges that lie ahead as they aim to bounce back and maintain their strong position in the NWSL standings.

The match was a thrilling showcase of top-tier women’s football, with both teams demonstrating why they are among the best in the league.

As the season progresses, the competition for the Golden Boot and the fight for top positions in the standings promise to provide even more excitement and drama.

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