Saturday night proved to be a very hard-fought match for the Orlando Pride against a Washington defense that has kept Portland to a single goal in each of their two match-ups, and Seattle and North Carolina to a single goal in their last meetings.
The first half was where almost all the Pride’s chances came, and it was one gigantic long ball from Alanna Kennedy from midfield that was the difference.
It’s time to break the roster down and come away with our player of the match.
GK, Ashlyn Harris, 6.5 — There wasn’t a whole lot for Harris to do in this one, specifically in the first half when the Pride had more control of the game. She was only called to task three times, and it was the lone shot on target in the second half that made her stretch out and come away with the big save.
D, Poliana, 6 — There were two Polianas out there. The first was early on when she had several big stops in the box. She would barrel in from the outside and be in the right spot at the right time on several crosses. The second was later in the game when she pushed forward and made overlapping runs more often. The most promising of these was in the 63rd minute, but no one could get on the end of it.
D, Monica, 6.5 — Monica was solid throughout. When she was caught up the field a couple of times, she made great recoveries to make nothing easy for the Washington attack. She took one for the team in the 13th minute when she stopped a Joanna Lohman bullet with her face. She also led the team in passing accuracy with a 78.1%.
D, Shelina Zadorsky, 6 — Shelina had a decent game marking her attackers, but she wasn’t hardly ever involved in quelling the attack. The cross, or final pass always went to another defender’s mark. She was still a part of the shutout, so I’m giving the six.
D, Carson Pickett, 5.5 — Carson was a bit “hit or miss” in this one. She put a couple of good balls into the attack, but she would also miss others’ runs, or a ball would go wide of its target. I thought Francisca Ordega and Taylor Smith gave her a lot of trouble, and that’s where Washington was the most threatening.
MF, Emily van Egmond, 6 — Emily was one of the victims of Washington’s stubborn defense. She was a part of a few of the Pride’s chances, but a lot of those were quickly dealt with and she had nothing to show for it. Highlights involved a moment on defense when she put on the pressure and didn’t allow the Spirit to maintain possession, and just before she was subbed off, she had a great give-and-go with Rachel Hill that allowed Hill to put in a cross.
MF, Alanna Kennedy, 6.5 — Obviously, the interception followed by the midfield goal is the highlight here. After that, she was steady, but not heavily involved. A lot of the Spirit’s attacks when down the side, or over the top, so they often bypassed Kennedy altogether. Her 63.6% passer rating is why I couldn’t give the seven on this one.
MF, Christine Nairn, 7 (PotM) — Nairn was magnificent pretty much the entire time she was on the pitch. Long balls, lobs, free kicks, all of it was pretty on point. Any of the promising attacks were usually generated from Christine. She also tied for the lead in tackles, and won the most fouls. In addition, she made a couple of fantastic runs that ran the length of the field to try to get into the attack. Add in one of the top passer ratings at 75%, and she becomes my player of the match.
F, Sydney Leroux, 6 — Syd had an interesting match. She was forced into a more defensive position early, and was solid enough in that role, but around the 25th minute, she swapped sides with Chioma Ubogagu and that pushed her into the attack more. She was solid in passing with a 76.3%, and as always, put great pressure on her opponent’s attack.
F, Alex Morgan, 5.5 — This wasn’t one of my favorite performances from Alex, but I think it had to do less with any poor play from her and more to do with the stellar match from Estelle Johnson. Johnson was all over her and had perfect timing on tackles any time Alex was in, or near, the box. When Alex can’t produce, she creates for others, but that too was missing in this one, and again, I’m giving most of that credit to Washington and what can be a very stingy defense.
F, Chioma Ubogagu, 5.5 — I thought this was one of Chi’s better games. Her final touch was better, and her passes had a bit more determination. When the ball was at her feet, it was better than it has been. Here’s to hoping the corner has been turned and good things are to come.
F, Rachel Hill (63’), 5 — Comparing this match to the spark I’ve seen in previous games, there wasn’t much there from Hill on Saturday night. Throughout the early parts of the match, the Pride were able to exploit that left side, and I figure that’s why she was put over there when she came in, but she never seemed comfortable and only got involved in the attack a couple of times.
F, Marta (71’), 5.5 — Marta too, struggled to get involved and provide the energy we’ve seen in the recent past. In roughly 25 minutes of play, she had 11 total passes for a 72.7% accuracy, and no chances in the attack.
D, Toni Pressley (77’), 5 — Toni came in to shore up the defense in midfield and although she wasn’t too involved, I still think that’s just what she did. She closed down space and passing lanes and that forced play away from her. She won a handful of 50/50 balls and put in a decent shift to finish out the game.
That’s it. It wasn’t always pretty, but three points add up the same no matter how they are won. Be sure to vote below and let me know what you thought.
Who was your Pride player of the match in the 1-0 road victory over the Washington Spirit?
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