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Orlando Pride vs. Portland Thorns: Player Grades and Player of the Match

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The Pride couldn’t break Portland’s home-opener streak.

Nikita Taparia

Portland came out looking to secure its sixth home-opening win in a row, and did just that — with it also being the third in a row vs. Orlando.

The depleted roster of the Pride came out and fought against Portland’s high-pressing style and put up a good showing, but couldn’t do anything to find an attack of their own.

Let’s break the team down and see how each individual performance was on Sunday.

Starters

GK, Ashlyn Harris, 5 — Another average performance overall from the Pride’s keeper. She came up big with a couple of saves, particularly in the 17th minute, but I feel like she just watched Portland’s second goal go right into the net, almost like she thought the shot was going to be wide. Her distribution continues to be a weak spot, with almost all of it being long balls to midfield, and at least half of those went directly to a lone Portland player. There was also the mandated ball that floated to someone on the sidelines. When the Pride defense got to play the ball from the back it, usually saw success, so why this went ignored — and ball after ball was sent to midfield — I’ll never know. She did come away with six saves, which is why I went with an average rating.

D, Ali Krieger, 5 — Krieger wasn’t involved too much in this game, or at least it didn’t feel like it. She did have the most touches on the team at 66, but they weren’t ever used in moving the ball up the right side. On defense, a lot of Portland’s attacks went on the opposite side. In the 56th minute she did have a great defensive play on an attacking Meghan Klingenberg.

D, Shelina Zadorsky, 5 — This wasn’t the kind of game we’ve come to expect from Shelina. She was pretty poor in the box, which did show the way for the great diving save by Harris in the 17th minute and again in the 51st. Portland forward Mallory Weber was a problem for her most of the match. Her grade is saved by her team-high 78.8% passing mark.

D, Toni Pressley, 5.5 — Toni came up big with a couple of key blocks and did a great job looking up field and getting the ball forward. She had almost sniper-like precision with some long balls that sprung the Pride a few times.

D, Carson Pickett, 4 — Another unfortunate outing for Carson. She was harassed constantly by Margaret Purce who got in chance after chance throughout the match. She was out-dribbled or left too much space for Purce to roam on several occasions. She did have some good looks on the offensive side and put in a few balls that no one could really capitalize on. She had the team low in passing at 53.8% and was subbed out in the 67th minute. I’ve watched her have better games in the past, so I’m going to continue to be hard on her until we see her really start to click on that left side.

MF, Kristen Edmonds, 5 — Much like the game in Washington, she once again wasn’t much of a facilitator on the right side. She often had a bit of a heavy touch on the ball and couldn’t move it around when under pressure. Her game picked up in the second half as she got more involved in getting the ball forward, but she came off in the 77th for Danica Evans. She missed an opportunity to put Orlando up 2-0 when her uncontested shot inside the penalty area smacked the crossbar and moments later the Thorns tied the game.

MF, Dani Weatherholt, 6.5 (PotM) — A solid performance from the defensive midfielder. She led the team in tackles, had the second-highest passing rate (76.5%), and tied Christine Nairn for second in touches at 63. She continued to do what she does week after week, and that’s disrupt the opposition’s possession and get the ball into the attacking half. For such a high-energy player, it’s always surprising she comes away with few fouls conceded. In this match: one.

MF, Christine Nairn, 5.5 — I feel like each week reveals a bit more of what we should expect from Nairn, and Sunday’s match was no different. She still isn’t Orlando’s best option on free kicks, as the couple she had a chance at weren’t all that dangerous, but she did have decent possession and provided the assist on the go-ahead goal. I’m knocking her a bit because had she challenged the opposing player a bit more on both Portland goals, both shots could have been either more difficult to put on frame or nullified completely.

F, Sydney Leroux, 5.5 — There were a couple of bright moments for Syd, but yet another week goes by with nothing to show for it. I’ll echo my comments from the previous match and say I enjoy how she fights for possession and often wins it in the attacking half, and hopefully we’ll start to see better results for that hard work soon.

F, Alex Morgan, 5 — There wasn’t much going on for Orlando’s top forward, and when it did happen, things were just a bit off or she was double teamed and taken out by Portland real quick. Morgan had the ball fall to her feet from a poor clearance in the 37th minute and that might have been her best chance, but I don’t think she was expecting it and couldn’t get it under control to tap it in.

F, Chioma Ubogagu, 6 — Things started out a bit poorly for Chi as she dealt with Portland’s tough play, but she was in a good position when Nairn sent the ball through and stayed cool to tuck it around 2017’s NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year, Adrianna Franch. From there, she continued to pick up steam until the end of the half with some good looks and decent possession. When the teams came back out, Ubogagu wasn’t on the wing anymore and I think that took her out of the game a bit and all of the things that were looking good disappeared.

Substitutes

MF, Abby Elinsky (67’), 5.5 — I was very surprised by Elinsky. She was originally drafted this year by the Dash with the last pick in the third round. After being released from Houston and joining the Pride’s practice squad, she now stepped onto Portland’s field (a little too quickly, Pickett wasn’t even off the field yet and Elinsky had to step back to the sideline and wait) and ended the match with the second-most tackles, at four. Her passing was suspect, but the rest of her game was solid considering her lack of professional experience. She had no fear, and that showed in the 70th when she robbed Lindsey Horan of the ball.

F, Danica Evans (77’), 5 — There wasn’t much there for the final 13 minutes of play, but Evans did complete all five of her passes, got fouled about 45 times, and was completely ignored by Chi when she was wide open at the top of the box. She did pair up with Elinsky a few minutes after coming in to create a cross into the box. She also showed off her flip throw.


Once again, that’s how I saw it. Let me know what you think below and vote on who you thought was the Pride’s player of the match.

Poll

Who was your player of the match for Orlando Pride in a 2-1 loss to the Portland Thorns?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    Chioma Ubogagu
    (2 votes)
  • 29%
    Dani Weatherholt
    (5 votes)
  • 17%
    Christine Nairn
    (3 votes)
  • 23%
    Toni Pressley
    (4 votes)
  • 17%
    Other (comment below)
    (3 votes)
17 votes total Vote Now