It may not have been pretty, but, the Pride have managed to remain perfect at home. Alex Morgan scored the lone goal late and Ashlyn Harris was selected as Player of the Match and her new BFF: The Crossbar, will probably win NWSL Save of the Week. The Flash played their second match without Lady Andrade and were held scoreless as the Pride went on to win 1-0.
It Only Takes a Moment for Alex Morgan to Score
If you had asked me halfway through the second half how I thought this game was going to end, it would have been a nil-nil draw. The game had been largely unappealing. But all it takes in this beautiful game is one play and the game can change dynamically. Have a look:
"I think after two months of playing together we've gotten along pretty well" said Alex Morgan during her post-match questioning and yeah, I'd like to agree. Kristen Edmonds played a through ball over the top to the Orlando Captain and as soon as Alex Morgan caught up to the pass, she volleyed her shot over WNY Flash keeper Sabrina D'Angelo to give Orlando three points and put them into third place and only four points behind Washington for first.
Orlando's Backline is Really Good
The Pride have given up four goals through five matches and have only given up one goal at home. Orlando has two Matildas, a Canuck, and a Brazilian in front of Sentient Brick Wall Ashlyn Harris. Steph Catley, Laura Alleway, Joseé Bélanger, and Monica have proven themselves to be one of the better backlines in NWSL and from their play the Pride have the second best goal differential in the league with a +3.
Ashlyn Harris Continues to be Solid in Net
Look, at this point it's almost becoming redundant talking about how well Harris has been playing. She's won NWSL save of the week three times this season and as much as she dislikes it, she may very well be nominated again for this one.
Just look at the way Harris closes down space and takes away the angle for Taylor Smith to shoot. Simply amazing.
As the Olympics draw closer and Harris' profile continues to build, I would not be surprised to see her enter camp and threaten to compete for Hope Solo's job starting for the USWNT.
Kaylyn Kyle Needs to Find Her Form
Tom Sermanni again went with a 4-4-2 and placed Kristen Edmonds and Kaylyn Kyle in the center of the midfield. Edmonds picked up a yellow card around the 32nd minute and as a result, wasn't able to play as physical and press in her role. This tasked Kyle with retrieving the ball and distributing to her teammates. Kyle's touch seemed a bit heavy and between her issues with that, distribution choices, and her teammates not moving well enough off the ball, almost cost the Pride as the match went on.
Attendance is Good But Not Great
This may be because the attendance record was set as high as it was at 23,403 and the team is playing really well and has a few names that will draw a crowd, and the previous match being a late afternoon affair on Mother's Day bringing in 8,211, but with a Saturday night match in prime time drawing 7,841 people to Camping World Stadium seems a little disappointing. A few teams in NWSL would absolutely love those numbers. That having been said, OCSC attendance figures averaged 32,847 in 2015. This town can come out in numbers. A decline in attendance is something that's not entirely in the club's control and their play on the field would warrant capacity crowds with the results they are getting (in four fewer games played they only have two points down on OCSC). This is a good team that is well supported by its fans, that having said there is always room for improvement.
So, those are all my observations. What did you take away from this match?