Exterior of Snapdragon Stadium, home of San Diego Wave FC

A seemingly unstoppable Orlando Pride, led by Zambian standout Barbra Banda, will travel to take on the San Diego Wave on Friday, 7 June.

Coming off of eight consecutive wins, the Pride now has claim to the NWSL’s longest winning streak ever. They are undefeated so far this season, and sit at the top of the table.

Much of this success can be credited to new signing Barbra Banda, who arrived in April with an immediate impact.

Banda has logged eight goals and two assists in her seven games, and was recently named May’s NWSL Player of the Month.

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Banda, who previously played in the Chinese Women’s Super League, first garnered international attention during the 2020 Olympics, where she scored back-to-back hat tricks against the Netherlands and China.

But the Pride’s success goes further than their goal-scoring star. Coach Seb Hines has created a formidable system that not only attacks with vigour, but defends effectively, too.

In a video posted by the Pride, Hines said: “Every team right now wants to be the team that beats us… we’re fully aware of that.” He credited their success to “their togetherness, their grit, [and] their determination to go out there and give absolutely everything.”

The Pride also recently announced the signing of another high profile Zambian international, midfielder Grace Chanda. Chanda will not arrive until after the Olympics, but her pairing with Banda will likely propel the club even further.

But where historically mid-table Orlando has recently risen to dominance, the Wave have failed to meet expectations. The reigning NWSL Shield winners have won just three games this season, looking like a shadow of their former selves.

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The San Diego defence, led by USWNT star Naomi Girma, is solid, with just nine goals conceded in 10 games. But the team has struggled to score, netting only nine goals for a net zero goal difference.

As the Pride seek to continue their winning streak with a ninth straight win, the Wave must attempt to stop them in their tracks.

This will be the second time the Wave and the Pride play each other this season. The first time, on 19 April, the Pride came away with a 1-0 win at home.

Friday’s game will air on Prime Video for US viewers at 10:00pm EDT. International viewers can stream the match on NWSL Plus.

Featured image courtesy of Spatms via Wikimedia Commons. No changes were made to this image. License details found here.