ORLANDO – She was a big reason that the club made its way to the NWSL Championship Game last year as she finished as a finalist for the league’s MVP award.

In the Challenge Cup, she was once again a force for the Red Stars before suffering a concussion. When Mallory Pugh returned to the lineup for the first time in the regular season, the forward just kept doing what she’s been doing for the last year.

Entering as a substitute in the second half, Pugh scored two goals and assisted on another as the Red Stars beat the Orlando Pride 4-2 at Exploria Stadium on Sunday evening. The victory improved the club to 2-1 in the still very young NWSL season.

Pugh entered the contest with the Red Stars up 1-0 thanks to the first career goal from Naperville native Sarah Griffith in the tenth minute. The forward got on the scoresheet first with the assist on the goal by Bianca St. Georges to make it 2-0 in the 53rd minute.

Ten minutes later, Pugh got on the board with a goal on her own as her shot from the top of box slid into the right corner of the net to make it 3-0. After Orlando got on the board in the 82nd minute, Pugh got on the board one more time as she followed her blocked penalty kick with a rebound to put the game away.

The Pride would get a late goal but it wouldn’t matter thanks to Pugh’s contributions as she now has six goals on the year for the Red Stars when you include her four scores in the Challenge Cup.

Pugh and the Red Stars return home to face the Portland Thorns at SeatGeek Stadium Saturday at 7 PM.