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Orlando Pride vs Houston Dash: Player Grades and Player of the Match

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Dominating most of the match, the Pride let all three points slip through their fingers.

Carlos Romero, The Mane Land

“Keep on missing each other.
Our world’s out of order
All I see is Missed Opportunity
Will we ever learn”

- Hall & Oates

That’s right, when you are busting out Hall & Oates, you know the business just got serious. Every single stat category was dominated by the Pride on Wednesday night, and yet the game ended up a 2-1 win for Houston.

So needless to say, this will be a tough one for me to break down and grade, as I try to reconcile what I saw for most of the match, with what the final results were. Let’s get to it!

Starters

GK, Ashlyn Harris, 6 — Five “shots” on target, and three of those saved. The first goal, as we all know, was the floating cross from Kealia Ohai. I can’t put too much on Harris for this, yes, we can all say she could have waited just a second more before making the leap, but it really was just a bizarre circumstance that ended in the absolute perfect spot. The second, the penalty kick, Sofia Huerta’s body language was pretty spot on and it sent Harris the wrong way. The positives: I thought she did well most of the night in directing the defense and putting the ball into play.

D, Poliana, 6 — A solid enough game from Poliana. I thought she was good once again at what we’ve been seeing, maintaining possession in tight spots and getting the ball freed up. Wednesday night though, we saw a dip in her passing rate, and she ended with a 67.6%.

D, Monica, 7 — Oh, Monica...what was such a flawless game got obliterated by an 82nd-minute handball in the box. She would have easily been my player of the match, but you just can’t make those kinds of mistakes in those situations. She led the team in passes with 63, and completed 95.2% of them. She also had three tackles on the night.

D, Shelina Zadorsky, 7 — Shelina had a solid night alongside Monica, and created the only chance that mattered in the end when she slid the ball across to a waiting Alex Morgan for the tap in. It was a rare assist for the center back.

D, Carson Pickett, 6 — Carson was steady on the night. I thought she had some good moments along the sidelines that got the ball into the attack. As the game wore on, things started getting a bit chippy, and I think she especially seemed to get a bit off her game.

MF, Dani Weatherholt, 6.5 — Dani was all over the pitch per her usual. She also led the team in tackles with four and created a few chances as well. It could have been capped off with an awesome effort in the 63rd when she tried to flick it with her heel into the top corner, but Jane Campbell was ready and secured the save. I did feel some of her connections with her teammates were a bit off compared to what I’ve seen in the past.

MF, Alanna Kennedy, 5.5 — Alanna’s work on the defensive end was solid, and she had one of the better passing rates on the team at 83.3%. The part of her game I was torn on Wednesday was taking all those shots (six) with none being on target — though in fairness she did just barely miss a goal with a header off the right post. I like when a defensive midfielder isn’t afraid to shoot a rocket at the keeper, but they have to be at the keeper, and a lot of her shots were squandered opportunities to put the ball in a better place of attack.

MF, Christine Nairn, 7 (PotM) — For the second week in a row, Nairn is my player of the match. She led the team in chances created, and had a decent pass percentage at 78.7%. A lot of people don’t like to see long balls played, but when Nairn plays them, especially to a player like Alex Morgan, they always have a chance to be special, and you can see the two of them are building up a decent rhythm. As always, her work rate is fantastic.

F, Marta, 6 — This was a slightly above average Marta game for me. At times she seemed frustrated, and whether it was for good reason or not, it definitely affected her play in the match. I love her because she plays with those raw emotions on her sleeve all the time, but they didn’t work to her advantage in this one. All-in-all, statistically, an above average game for her with an 80% passing rate, two chances created, and her lone effort on goal was at a difficult angle from the outer edge of the box.

F, Alex Morgan, 6.5 — Alex, like Monica, was on the cusp of being my player of the match. But like the handball, I can’t get over the missed penalty kick. It just wasn’t a strong enough effort and as we all know, it went right into the left post. She made up for it later of course being there for the tap in goal to put Orlando ahead in the 22nd minute. Short of that, her game was decent in all phases, except passing, which was a team low 36.4%.

F, Kristen Edmonds, 6 — Edmonds almost put Orlando in the lead in the 19th minute when a ball was played to her in the box. She had a great first touch and chose to go near post. It was stopped by a Jane Campbell foot. I wonder what could have been had she quickly buried it far post, I think she could have beat Campbell on that side. Everything else from Kristen was decent enough, and there were a few moments early in that first half where it felt like she was going to be a part of a goal.

Substitutes

F, Sydney Leroux (64’), F, Rachel Hill (71’), and F, Chioma Ubogagu (78’), 4.5 — Perhaps unconventional to put all three in the same rating, but you can say the exact same thing about all three substitutions on the night, and that is that they simply had no impact. They had 34 touches combined (I can’t believe it’s actually that many) and 20 total passes between all three. To me, the Pride became totally toothless in the attack once the subs started rolling out. Highlights include: good work by Syd to win possession early in her play, Hill had a great burst of speed to keep possession and take a shot in the box (off target), and Chi put in a cross in the 88th minute that was too close to Campbell and easily slapped away.


A tough pill to swallow, and I’m hoping it’s the wake-up call that the loss to the same team was last year, and the Pride begin to go on a tear and make my dreams come true. (I had to end with H&O!) Vote and comment below!

Poll

Who was your Pride Player of the Match in Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to the Houston Dash?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    Monica
    (1 vote)
  • 51%
    Shelina Zadorsky
    (15 votes)
  • 24%
    Christine Nairn
    (7 votes)
  • 13%
    Alex Morgan
    (4 votes)
  • 6%
    Other (comment below)
    (2 votes)
29 votes total Vote Now