The Pride came out as one team at the start of the game, and a completely different one at the half, but the electric second-half push wasn’t enough to keep the Pride riding high, as they fell to the North Carolina Courage, 4-3.
Time to break it down and see how the players rated and determine our player of the match.
GK, Ashlyn Harris, 5 — While the team played horribly in the first half, and came on strong in the second, it was the opposite for Harris. She singlehandedly kept the game 1-0 instead of 3-0 (or worse) with a couple of fantastic saves. But then in the second half, she let a couple go in that normally would have been stopped. For the first 60 minutes, she was setting up easily to be my player of the match.
D, Kristen Edmonds, 4.5 — Kristen had a poor clearance on the Courage’s opening goal, and seemed largely out of sync with Ali Krieger throughout the match to determine who was dropping back to defend. I think because of that first half, she didn’t get forward very often going deeper into the match, and it left the team with fewer options in the attack.
D, Ali Krieger, 4 — I’m not sure what was going on in the first half, and I’m not entirely sure Ali knew either. Almost every attack in the first half came because Ali was either a step behind, or left a player unmarked. Crystal Dunn had a field day for the first 45, and should have come away with a couple of goals. Ali rebounded in the second half and had a couple of good stops, but that first half is just seared into my brain, and will be for a long time.
D, Shelina Zadorsky, 5 — Shelina often in the first half pulled off some heroics to quell the onslaught from the Courage. As the defense got more organized in the second half, so did her game except for two costly moments. She lost her footing on the Debinhna goal, and the awkward/poor attempt to clear that final ball from going into the net in the 90th minute.
D, Carson Pickett, 4.5 — Carson had a decent match, but a lot of the early attacks from the Courage came from the space they were being given on that side of the pitch. I thought she was good at getting the ball forward and out of danger but she is still lacking that quality we know she can achieve, and has in the past.
MF, Alanna Kennedy, 6 — Alanna, along with the rest of the midfield, struggled to connect with the attack for a large part of the match. To echo what I’ve said elsewhere, once things settled down in the second half, she played a large part in keeping things a bit more organized on the defensive half. She also got on the end of a corner to bag her first goal of the season.
MF, Emily van Egmond, 6 — In the run of play, everything seemed just a bit early or late when transitioning into the attack for Emily. She did slide the through ball to Marta to set up the Pride’s first goal, and then headed a perfect pass to Marta again for the Pride’s final goal. So although she played a big part in those two moments, there is still a lot of room for improvement. After this match, she just topped 300 minutes of play, so things should start to settle for her soon. Which is exciting to think about.
MF, Christine Nairn, 5.5 — Short corner after short corner yielded nothing, and then Nairn decided to put one in the box. It got Nairn her third assist on the year when Kennedy snuck around a defender and placed it in the net. In the 61st minute, she let Crystal Dunn beat her and put the cross in for the Courage’s third goal on the night.
F, Marta, 7.5 (PotM) — She’s baaaaack. (Hopefully.) The entire Pride team faced a very tough team to break down, and with that perspective, I look at what Marta stepped up and got done, and I thought she was great. She was all over the pitch, and it made it hard on the Courage to keep track of her. The break in the season appears to be just what she needed. She assisted on two of Orlando’s three goals and worked hard throughout the match, including one sequence when she saved a ball from going out of play, then shook off a blatant hold by a defender to set up a scoring chance.
F, Alex Morgan, 5.5 — There were bits and pieces of the game that showcased what Alex can bring even when she doesn’t score, whether it’s drawing defenders, or almost always having the right amount of touch on a ball to spring another attacker, but this was just a tough match and nothing else was able to come together for her.
F, Chioma Ubogagu, 5.5 — Oh, Chi. Chi, Chi, Chi. The roller coaster that is Chi struck again. Just when you’ve had enough, she puts herself in the perfect spot to remain the leading goal scorer for the Orlando Pride. Not only that, she’s in a four-way tie for second in the league with most goals scored. The company she’s keeping is Megan Rapinoe, Crystal Dunn, and Jessica McDonald. Not too shabby Chi, you just keep being you.
MF, Dani Weatherholt (74’), 6 — Dani came in a bit later than I would have preferred because she has a very specific set of talents that were begging to see the pitch in this match. Control was officially taken once she stepped on the field, quickly followed by Rachel Hill. The Courage didn’t really threaten again, and had to send a long ball over the middle to break the Pride in the final minute.
F, Rachel Hill (75’), 6.5 — There wasn’t a threat from the Pride on the right side of the pitch for just over 80% of the match. Rachel changed that and eight minutes later buried one into the top of the net from a pinpoint Marta cross.
D, Poliana (78’) 5.5 — Poliana was the last of a quick succession of substitutions and did her part to change the game as well. There was a lot of fault to spread around on the Courage’s final goal, and she could have played Jessica McDonald a bit tougher. Other than that, I think she stepped in and helped control possession a bit more.
There we have it. Let me know what you saw and be sure to vote for your player of the match below.
Who was your Pride player of the match in Wednesday’s 4-3 loss to the North Carolina Courage?
This poll is closed
Emily van Egmond
Other (Comment below)