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Orlando Pride Headline Record-Breaking NWSL Weekend

May 24, 2024; Orlando, Florida, USA; Orlando Pride forward Barbra Banda (22) celebrates her second goal during the first half against Portland Thorns FC at Inter&Co Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Written by Oluwaseun Oyediji

It was another wild weekend in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), with a number of teams setting records around the league.

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The Orlando Pride extended their win streak to eight games after a 2-1 result over the Portland Thorns, setting a new NWSL record for consecutive wins with star Barbra Banda scoring a brace before the half.

The Kansas City Current stretched their unbeaten streak to 11 after a 1-0 win over Utah, while also becoming the first team in NWSL history to record 15 different goalscorers in a single regular season.

After their victory over the Thorns, Orlando midfielder Marta told ESPN that the team’s current streak is something they’ve always dreamed about.

“We worked very hard. We never give up; I never give up in my life so I’m never [going] to give up dreaming about this situation,” she said. “You look behind and see everyone running after us, so we just have to run [faster].”

Pride coach Seb Hines, however, stated that he thought his team was still underrated.

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"This is a club that's reached the playoffs one time since its existence," Hines said. "We missed out by fine margins last year and that was disappointing, but that just added fire to our belly to come into this year and show everyone what we can do."

Banda has now scored eight goals in seven games, pulling level with Portland's Sophia Smith in the NWSL Golen Boot race.

Washington's Ouleymata Sarr sits second with six goals, while Temwa Chawinga and Claire Emslie have five each to round out the top five goalscorers in the league.

Smith, meanwhile, missed the game with a lower leg injury that the Thorns confirmed isn't expected to be long-term.

"We expect her to be up [and playing soon], hopefully the US will manage her properly in that environment, knowing that she wasn’t available for today," Thorns coach Rob Gale told reporters. "I think they’ll have to manage her and build her up possibly for the second game."

Meanwhile...

Elsewhere around the NWSL, third-place Washington Spirit continued their upward trajectory while Gotham FC strengthened their own 5-3-2 record with another win.

Gotham FC got their fourth win in five games with a 2-0 victory over Bay FC, bringing their current unbeaten streak up to six.

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Spirit rookie Croix Bethune recorded her eighth assist in 11 games in Friday's 3-2 win over Seattle, the fewest number of career starts it's taken a player to reach eight assists in NWSL history.

After suffering a 5-1 whooping to start the season, Houston Dash got revenge on North Carolina with a 3-0 win in front of a home crowd.

Racing Louisville came away with a much-needed win over the Red Stars after having gone winless for over a month.

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