It was tough, and for the first third of the match, the formation was disorganized. But the Orlando Pride survived that and maintained just enough order to take all three points home.
It was an interesting one for me to break down, as there were quite a few poor moments topped with a couple of brilliant moments. Anyway, let’s do what we do and break down how each Pride player graded.
GK, Ashlyn Harris, 5.5 — Harris got called on early, and we’ve seen it a couple of times in previous games now, but her positioning was just a bit off and she jumped too early on what was a savable ball. Other than that, she wasn’t called on for much afterwards.
D, Ali Krieger, 6.5 (PotM) — Krieger was back to her old self and it was one of the few things that was consistent in this match. To put it another way, she seemed in control when she was involved, and that helped considerably. She quickly noticed Kristen Edmonds’ run and put the ball in a perfect spot for the midfielder to take advantage of Abby Smith roaming.
D, Monica, 4.5 — The Brazilian defender was out of sorts for a large part of the first half. Utah took advantage of this several times, but only came away with a goal once. To Monica’s credit, I felt she bounced back from that pretty well as the game went on.
D, Shelina Zadorsky, 5 — Zadorsky wasn’t much better, as her passing isn’t what we normally see, and she too struggled managing the space in between her and Monica.
MF, Toni Pressley, 5 — We haven’t seen Pressley in action for a while now and she too struggled to find her place in the 3-5-2. As the match wore on, she did a good job closing up the lanes. I would have liked to have seen her use her height to her advantage on more set pieces.
MF, Kristen Edmonds, 6 — A great heads-up play by Edmonds gave the Pride the lead and eventual win when she chipped the ball over Smith in the 52nd minute. Short of that, I’ve found her play throughout the season to be odd to sort out. She’s often open and overlooked like she was in the 16th minute and can never seem to get involved in the play.
MF, Alanna Kennedy, 5 — Kennedy struggled to connect with the midfield (and vice versa) throughout the match and made a lot of errant passes and turnovers throughout the night. Again, we went another match where she was close to several headers on set pieces but came away with nothing to show for it. The plus side is that by being a constant threat in the box, she got grappled by Gunny Jonsdottir, which led to a penalty that Alex Morgan converted.
MF, Dani Weatherholt, 5.5 — As always, Weatherholt played with unmatched tenacity. In a match that was physical and disorganized, like the rest of the team, she wasn’t able to highlight much except her defensive effort, which too, wasn’t quite what it normally is. She had a break late in the first half that I would have loved to see some help on, but all of the forwards were missing in action.
MF, Chioma Ubogagu, 4.5 — A very ho-hum night for Chi. She played largely on the wing, but struggled to find her role there, which is a bit odd as she’s done it quite often no matter the formation. But the attack was lacking a lot on whichever side she commanded because she would never get forward.
F, Alex Morgan, 6 — Short of the converted penalty kick, there wasn’t much going on in Alex’s game Saturday. The general mindset seems to be that when you play against her, beat her up, and that was definitely what happened. The things that were under her control didn’t produce much. I would have liked to have seen what would have happened if she slipped a pass to a wide-open Kennedy in the box instead of putting a cross wide and out of bounds in the 21st minute. Great composure from the spot though as Abby Smith did her best to get in her head.
F, Rachel Hill, 5 — I will echo the general theme of the ratings and say she wasn’t able to connect and get involved the way she wanted to. The effort was there, but in the end there was not much to show for it. Hill’s hesitation on taking the shot in the 61st minute when she was one-on-one with Smith killed me. At least it seemed to hurt her as much too, as she clearly would have liked to have that moment back.
F, Sydney Leroux (62’), 5.5 — Leroux positioned herself well throughout to get some chances, but wasn’t able to produce. I liked the decision to take the shot just after Nicole Barnhart came into the match to put her to an early test.
MF, Camila (79’), 5 — Camila put a nice lob in to Hill in the 80th minute for a chance on goal and that was pretty much the lone highlight of the night. I’m still waiting to see that spark I know she can provide. It’ll come in time.
MF, Christine Nairn (87’), N/A — I wish we could have seen this sub sooner, because a player like Nairn can open up the play and put the opposition on its back foot. An extra 10 minutes of that could have put the game safely away.
All right, that’s the story I came away with, and of course, feel free to share your thoughts on it and be sure to vote below!
Who was your Pride Player of the Match in the 2-1 victory over Utah Royals FC?
This poll is closed
Other (comment below)