A severely depleted Orlando Pride roster went to Washington this weekend and held on tightly for a large portion of the match, hoping to take some points back home. But in the end, the young guns in Washington, Mallory Pugh and Ashley Hatch, put two goals away late in the game to beat the Pride, 2-0, and take all three points.
Let’s see which Pride players struggled and which shined in the loss against the Washington Spirit.
GK, Ashlyn Harris, 5 — Harris had a better game this week in all phases, but still couldn’t come up with the big save on Pugh in the 80th minute — a goal that went through her legs. I won’t fault her for the second goal, as Carson Pickett’s poor clearance left her in the lurch.
D, Ali Krieger, 4 — This might not be a popular grade, but I had to go low because of what Ali is capable of and she just didn’t meet expectations in this one. She had the lowest passing percentage at 67.4%, and sent several balls out of play. In the second half, she was just outpaced by Pugh and couldn’t close the space quickly enough several times, resulting in the first goal.
D, Shelina Zadorsky, 6.5 — Both Zadorsky and Toni Pressley played a very solid match, which isn’t reflected in the score line, but they started the match bailing out the midfield and finished the match doing the same. Early on, she had a long ball to Rachel Hill that very nearly got the Pride up early when it was crossed in to Sydney Leroux. She had several miraculous blocks and clearances that kept things tight until the end. She also came away with the highest passing percentage on the team, at 78.3%. There were a couple of miscues though, including letting a ball slip to Pugh for a dangerous moment in the ninth minute.
D, Toni Pressley, 6 — Toni’s pace returned in this match, and she used it well. She dropped back several times to clear out open runs and had a few key blocks. She too got the ball into the attacking half, although not nearly as often as Zadorsky, but her early lob to Hill in just the second minute created an instant attack. She also had a weak header at Aubrey Bledsoe, but it in no way tested the Washington goalkeeper.
D, Carson Pickett, 3.5 — This was a pretty bad match for the young left back. In the first half, she consistently failed to close the space on Pugh, who should have ended the match with a couple of assists given how many crosses she was able to put in. Carson came away with a couple of crosses of her own, the last probably being the most dangerous when she got a ball quickly into the box for Danica Evans. Other than that, she really struggled to maintain possession and never connected with Hill in the second half when the forward switched to the left side of the field. Her poor clearance in the 88th minute directly led to Ashley Hatch’s goal.
MF, Dani Weatherholt, 5.5 — This was a tale of two halves for Dani. In the first half, she was very lethargic and there were at least three times she just watched a pass go by her without making any attempt to move on it. In the second half, it was completely different. The energy we saw in the home opener had returned and she was back to wrecking the midfield. She was in a rotation with Kristen Edmonds and Christine Nairn, and sometimes found herself as the number 10 on the field. She came away with two chances created and three tackles. I wanted to go higher, but she really wasn’t her usual self in the first half and it hurt possession.
MF, Kristen Edmonds, 4.5 — Edmonds could never seem to get involved in the play. She had 25 fewer touches than Nairn, and 34 fewer than Dani (who had the team high). She really struggled to find open space. There were a couple of good passes here and there, but her only notable contribution was a decent cross near the end of the first half.
MF, Christine Nairn, 5 — With Marta away on international duty, Nairn was up for the corners, and they just weren’t there. A couple of them were nearly dangerous, but with seven crosses on the day more created chances should be expected. The first half saw Nairn playing back a bit more than I would have preferred, and by the second half, that was mostly solved. She still wasn’t able to create much, and some of her better efforts came all at once in the middle of the second half when she put in a couple of good crosses.
F, Rachel Hill, 7 (PotM) — If you go near Rachel Hill make sure to wear a hazmat suit, because she was being energized by nuclear power for the entire match! She gave Syd a few chances on the day with dangerous cross after dangerous cross, but unfortunately walked away with nothing to show for it. The only time she stopped being a threat was when she disappeared in the second half due to flipping to the left side. She kept putting pressure on Bledsoe all match, never letting the former Pride goalkeeper take her time with distribution. Hill also sent a rocket off the crossbar that almost opened up the game in the middle of the first half. She had a couple of turnovers to bring her back down to Earth, but still remains my player of the match.
F, Sydney Leroux, 5.5 — As the forward on top, when the chances come you have to finish them, and Leroux just couldn’t get it done. She was defended well by Estelle Johnson and Whitney Church and she played them physically, so I’m not going to knock her down too much. I really enjoyed watching her win possession in the attacking third, that is something you don’t see very often.
F, Chioma Ubogagu, 3 — This was a bad game from Chi. We’ve all seen better, and I know she can do better, but all good balls died when they went to her. She had a few bad passes and turnovers that resulted in dangerous plays from Washington, and the couple of crosses she put in the box went nowhere.
F, Danica Evans (74’), 5 — Danica wasn’t involved much in her short time on the pitch. She went up top with Syd sliding to the left, and only ever had a chance in the 85th minute when Carson got a ball into the box. This was right after a great cross from Hill that she wasn’t in a top position to receive. I would have liked to have seen her replace Ubogagu a bit earlier.
MF, Bridget Callahan (90’), NA — The native Floridian only came in for the final three minutes of stoppage time, so there wasn’t much there in her debut. She did close space on Pugh’s last possession, which was probably the first time Pugh felt pressured all match.
So, that’s my conclusion. Definitely let me know what you saw and how badly I failed on these grades. I love to hear all the different takes! Also, be sure to throw a vote on who you thought was the player of the match.
Who was your Player of the Match for Orlando Pride vs Washington Spirit?
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