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Orlando Pride at Houston Dash: Player Grades and Player of the Match

How did the Pride players do against the Houston Dash? Here are our thoughts on the players that contributed to the 1-0 win.

Matt Starkey

The Pride's first trip to Houston was a tale of two defenses, with both teams going back and forth for 81 minutes before the Pride finally broke the scoring drought to win, 1-0, on a Kristen Edmonds stunner. Here are my thoughts on the Pride players and my pick for Player of the Match in last night's win. Be sure to vote for your player of the match in our poll below.

Starters

GK, Ashlyn Harris, 7.5 - Harris made several saves in the first half, with most coming off of corners. As most of the Dash's shots were off target, Harris was not forced to make any major saves, easily scooping up all of the shots before the break. In the 63rd minute, Harris made a diving save, keeping a cross from becoming a shot. Two minutes later, Harris came out of goal to make yet another diving save. Harris' biggest save of the night came in the 77th minute. While Harris was able to keep her third straight clean sheet, making five saves, most of the shots she faced were directly at her, not forcing her to come up big like in previous matches.

D, Steph Catley, 7 - Unlike the last few games, Catley was quiet for much of the first half, with most of the play out on the right side. However, Catley sent a nice volley in to Morgan in the 25th minute that was scooped up by Dash goalkeeper Lydia Williams. Catley immediately made an impact in the second half, going toe to toe with Rachel Daly to prevent a shot on goal. She continued to contain Daly for the remainder of the second half, helping keep the score sheet clean.

D, Toni Pressley, 5.5 - Failed to make a noticeable impact in the first half, allowing Monica to step up with Alleway out after sustaining a groin injury in warmups. In the 59th minute, Pressley missed a header, which led to a shot on goal for the Dash. Thankfully, the shot was wide. While she didn't concede any goals, Pressley failed to make an impact on the field, letting through balls pass by and getting beat multiple times by Houston's forwards.

D, Monica, 6.5 - Monica was originally slated to start in the midfield, but moved to center back due to Alleway's injury. She made more of an impact in the first half than in previous games, including blocking a shot in the 32nd minute. Monica had a nice backheel in the 65th minute off of a free kick, but unfortunately the ball landed right in Williams' arms. This may have been her best game yet in an Orlando Pride uniform, stepping up in the absence of Alleway.

D, Josee Belanger, 7 - Once again, Belanger made an impact on the flank, running up and down and creating multiple chances. In the 12th minute, she made an acrobatic save, preventing a Dash goal. Belanger was able to prevent a breakaway during the 23rd minute and quickly turned the ball around for an offensive attack. In the 37th minute, Belanger almost had an own-goal when a miscommunication led to a pass back to Harris instead of a clearance. Not her strongest performance for the Pride, but still a great showing for the Canadian.

MF, Kaylyn Kyle, 6.5 - Holding down the midfield, Kyle provided service to the forwards for most of the first half. She worked well with Morgan, providing some give-and-goes that almost led to clear shots on goal. Kyle was subbed out in the 56th minute for Sam Witteman.

MF, Lianne Sanderson, 7 - Sanderson sent a beautiful combination ball in to Edmonds in the sixth minute that led to Orlando's first corner of the night. The English international played well in the midfield, serving the ball in multiple times for shots. She assisted Edmonds' goal in the 81st minute and was subbed off minutes later for Maddy Evans.

MF, Becky Edwards, 6 - Edwards stepped into the starting lineup after the injury to Alleway forced Monica back into her usual spot on the back line, and contributed almost immediately, aiding in some defensive stops in the first 10 minutes. Edwards blocked a goal opportunity for the Dash in the 21st minute. She continued to make the defense look good, limiting the Dash's chances and playing a major role in controlling Morgan Brian.

F, Kristen Edmonds, 9 (POTM) - Edmonds' first opportunity came in the 12th minute off a cross from Morgan. The ball was lost in traffic and the Dash were able to scramble and clear the ball. For the remainder of the first half, Edmonds managed to make an impact all over the field, both defensively and offensively. She created multiple offensive opportunities and forced several turnovers. She scored the lone goal of the night in the 81st minute. The goal was from deep outside the box and was her first as a professional soccer player. It was by far Edmonds' best game so far this season. She contributed in every aspect of the game and looked well-rounded.

F, Jasmyne Spencer, 6.5 - Spencer had an uneventful first half, but came out hard in the second half, looking for her first goal and keeping the Dash on their toes. She was subbed out in the 76th minute before she could capitalize on any of her chances.

F, Alex Morgan, 8 - Morgan almost had an assist in the 14th minute, sending a nice cross right into the box for Edmonds. Not two minutes later, the captain made a run straight towards goal and was brought down in the box, but no call was made and the goal opportunity went wanting. Morgan sent a header towards goal in the 79th minute that was once again blocked. With the exception of an ankle knock, Morgan looked at the top of her game, creating chance after chance for the Pride.

Substitutions

MF, Samantha Witteman (56'), 8 - After being on the field for less than 30 seconds, Witteman took a shot that sailed over the goal. She had another shot in the 70th minute, showing off some fancy footwork before sending the ball towards the net. Witteman worked well on the side, aiding in the defense and offense, making the most of the time she was given on the field. She was perhaps one of the best off-the-bench players this season. She immediately made an impact and continued to work hard until the final whistle blew.

F, Jamia Fields (76'), 5.5 - Fields came on in the 76th minute for Spencer. Most of her touches looked slightly off, failing to connect with Morgan and missing passes from the midfielders.

MF, Maddy Evans (86'), N/A - Evans didn't have much time to contribute, coming on in the 86th minute. Her most memorable moment was when she brought down a Dash player, giving up free kick.

What did you think about the Pride performances in Houston? Let us know in the comment section below and don't forget to vote for your Player of the Match.