The narrative for the Pride is changing quickly. Despite having zero wins against Chicago in five previous meetings before this season, the Pride are now on the verge of sweeping the Red Stars in 2018 after Saturday’s 5-2 victory.
Let’s break the team down and see how each player rated.
GK, Ashlyn Harris, 7.5 — Harris had a busy day with six saves and kept the game from getting out of hand when she stopped two separate 1-v-1 plays against Sam Kerr. The two that got by were a final 1-v-1 with Kerr and an uncontested Kerr header. Late in the game, she had a great jump and grab to deny Kerr the hat trick.
D, Ali Krieger, 7 — There would be periods where Krieger wouldn’t see much action, but when she did it usually resulted in something special. She was a factor in both Sydney Leroux goals. Her final task on the day was stopping some fancy footwork from Arin Gilliland and not allowing the cross. It resulted in aggravating her leg and she was subbed out in the 70th minute, snapping her league-best minutes played mark.
D, Monica, 6 — It’s a tough task keeping Kerr in check for an entire 90 minutes, and a lot of times Monica was a step behind. She got burned by Kerr in the 41st and 60th minutes, and the latter led to a goal. The former only was stopped by Poliana’s toe.
D, Shelina Zadorsky, 6.5 — Zadorsky, along with Monica, did well in distributing the ball into the midfield, but there were a couple of defensive gaffes that kept them from getting higher ratings. On Kerr’s second goal, Shelina missed the ball completely as it floated to an open Kerr.
D, Poliana, 7 — Poliana showed immediately the vision and trust she has when she sent that early lob Rachel Hill’s way. Throughout the match, she did well moving up and down the sideline and providing in attack on the left. On defense, she did everything right except a bit of ball watching on Kerr’s second goal. As mentioned earlier, she had a great recovery and stopped a sure goal with just an inch of her toe to keep Chicago from tying the game up before the half.
MF, Dani Weatherholt, 7.5 — It’s always fun watching Weatherholt, Alanna Kennedy, and Emily van Egmond rotate around the field all match, and this was a highlight reel of them doing so. As always, she played a big part in breaking up Chicago’s possession, and when the time was right, bombed her way into the box for a wide open goal to put the game out of reach.
MF, Emily van Egmond, 7 — Her vision to get the ball into the attack remains top notch, and the highlight could be when she sent the ball into the box for Alex Morgan in the 63rd minute, where Morgan got it to Leroux for the Pride’s fourth goal on the day.
MF, Alanna Kennedy, 7 — We saw it last year and we’re seeing it again this year — Kennedy just doesn’t allow Kerr space in the midfield. Although it didn’t yield any results, she was always a factor on set pieces and would have had one if not for an easy Save of the Week candidate when Alyssa Naeher’s fingertip push sent it into the woodwork.
F, Rachel Hill, 7.5 — Whether it’s a cross or a shot taken, Hill pulls the trigger quickly. She was constantly a threat on the right side, and having that threat spread out Chicago and allowed others to get involved for the Pride as well. Her many crosses on the day came close to connecting, and they will start doing just that soon enough.
F, Alex Morgan, 8 — Morgan continues to put in the work on pressing the opposition’s defense, and she was a part of a lot of good combos on offense as well. In the 35th minute, specifically, she and van Egmond pulled off a highly difficult combo that was fun to watch. Of course, she also had a fantastic header goal — her 30th career NWSL score — and an assist to top off the evening.
F, Marta, 7.5 — Marta had a rather short day, coming off in the 52nd minute, but she put in some work during that time. She notched an assist early — her third in two games — when she put a line drive onto the top of Morgan’s head. I also thought she and Poliana showed great chemistry.
F, Sydney Leroux, (52’) 8 (PotM) — I think it surprised everyone to see Leroux come on for Marta so early, but she made her impact felt in the span of two minutes when she netted a brace. From there, she kind of faded a bit as the defense learned a bit too late to keep an eye on her. But the game could have gone either way when just a minute before Kerr tied it up at 2-2. So she was the game changer, and for that, she gets my player of the match.
MF, Christine Nairn, (65’) 6.5 — I thought Nairn did well after coming on, she just gets a bit overshadowed in a match full of great performances. Her highlight came in a great give-and-go with Morgan that set up the Weatherholt goal.
D, Carson Pickett, (70’) 5.5 — Carson came on for the injured Krieger, and there were some good moments, but there were a couple of sketchy touches as well. Her poor touch in the 79th minute almost led to a goal for Kerr.
There you have it. Be sure to let me have it if you saw anything different, and as always, vote for your player of the match below!
Who was your Pride Player of the Match in the 5-2 win versus the Chicago Red Stars?
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