The Orlando Pride came out and played cautiously to start the match, looking to build through possession, but it all fell apart as the North Carolina Courage quickly scored three goals in just a four-minute span.
They gained a bit more control in the midfield from time to time after that, but it wasn’t enough to close in on the scoreline. Let’s go ahead and dig deep on this one and find our player of the match.
GK, Ashlyn Harris, 5 — In a game where Harris was called on more often than I’m sure she liked, North Carolina continued to exploit the holes in the defensive line. It started early in the fourth minute when she had to come off her line to secure a ball, and it wouldn’t stop until after the three-goal barrage. She got a hand on the first goal, and perhaps could have gotten a bit more on it. I feel she could have definitely done better on the second goal as she was on the near post and the ball snuck right in between her and the woodwork. The third was just a good strike from Jessica McDonald with all the space in the world. She had some solid saves, and her distribution was at times a bit creative, especially late in the game when she wanted to make things happen.
D, Ali Krieger, 4 — This was Krieger’s first game back in action since her injury on May 26, and there was a bit of rust. This season especially, she’s been pretty dynamic getting forward and creating chances, but there was none of that in this match. Her passes were a bit off, and there was little to no defense from her when needed, especially during the stretches where the Courage scored. She had a turnover that led to the second goal and left way too much space for McDonald on the third goal. She seemed hesitant to plant her foot to make plays throughout the match, so I expect this to wear off almost immediately now that she made it through a match unscathed.
D, Monica, 4 — Monica was decent enough for most of the match, but like Kreiger, she really fell asleep at the wheel when it mattered most. She had a poor clearance on the first goal and let McDonald roam a bit too freely on the third.
D, Shelina Zadorsky, 4.5 — Zadorsky’s game was just a tad better than the rest of the defense, but not by much. She too gave a bit too much space during the three-goal run, and like the rest of the line, got exploited throughout the game. One thing I liked about her play was that she got forward a couple of times and provided a bit of “oomph” on the attack, although her shot on goal was a bit soft.
D, Poliana, 5 — Poliana was okay. Early on, she had some good movement with Sydney Leroux, and later with Marta. However, she wasn’t up to task on taking on Lynn Williams when the Courage player would rush up the side. Most of her long passes went nowhere, but she did have a pretty stellar one to Alex Morgan in the 57th minute that probably should have resulted in a bit more.
MF, Rachel Hill, 4.5 — Hill didn’t do too much on the night and that had a lot to do with her matchup with Kaleigh Kurtz. The opposing player had the speed to keep anything from going forward on Hill’s side, and that pretty much killed Hill’s game. She would be replaced at halftime by Dani Weatherholt.
MF, Emily van Egmond, 4 — This to me, was Van Egmond’s worst game in purple. What I’ve loved about her previous appearances is her vision and seeing not even the final pass, but the pass before that, which has really sprung open the offense time and time again. None of that was to be found in this one as she couldn’t seem to get anything going for the Pride.
MF, Alanna Kennedy, 4 — Kennedy was really slow. One moment specifically stood out. It was in the 53rd minute when Debinha got the ball and hustled down field. She passed by Kennedy who was just trotting along, then continued until she gets to the top of the box. Luckily, her shot was off target, but this is just one example of pretty much everything that Kennedy did wrong on the night. Even the normal highlight of her tenacity on a set piece was absent.
MF, Sydney Leroux, 5 — I’m putting Syd at midfield on this one, because that seems to be where she played most of the match, and if that’s the case, then she gets a solid average rating. She did good at tracking back (probably the best on the team for the night), and like I said on Poliana’s recap, they had good chemistry early on, but she wasn’t able to help in unlocking the offense.
F, Marta, 5.5 (PotM) — Marta is my player of the match because she never quit trying to make something, anything, happen. The entire team seemed off on the night, and it showed through Marta because she typically makes everyone around her look good, and that wasn’t the case most of the time on Saturday. Maybe it’s better to say that she improved those around her but it still wasn’t good. Early in the second half, she had some of her usual awesome footwork against the entire North Carolina defense. But when she made it through, there wasn’t anyone around to pass to. That was Marta’s night. All of her corners were pretty decent and she put in a solid shift. All things considered, I can’t expect much more from her.
F, Alex Morgan, 4.5 — For some reason, I feel like I have to justify this rating, even though I feel like she would probably give herself the same. She got beat up. A lot. She took four shots, with one on goal. All things considered, she gave a lot but it was against a great team and none of what she did produced results. She played a great ball to Marta in the 57th and she won back a turnover by Syd in a few of her flashes of brilliance. But overall, it was a below average night for Morgan.
MF, Dani Weatherholt (45’), 5.5 — Weatherholt came on to start the second half and did a decent job of actually pressing the Courage. I thought most of the team throughout the night gave a bit too much space, but she was always there to close that leftover space and force a pass. A decent second half from Dani.
MF, Christine Nairn (71’), 5 — She wasn’t able to get too involved, but Nairn did okay. Even after watching the game a second time, I can’t say much about her time on the field. If that is the case with Nairn, then it was indeed a very average game.
D, Kristen Edmonds (75’), 5 — Edmonds put in a decent 15 minutes, was able to cause a turnover, and didn’t have any serious mistakes, so we’ll go with an average rating here. But I will go ahead and give a nod to her versatility. She seems to come in for whoever, whenever, doesn’t she? Awesome to have a player like that on the roster.
So, there you have it. It’s always hard to find the silver lining in a match like this, but I think I found it in Marta. What about you? Vote below and of course, let me have it. I want to hear your perspective. Here’s to hoping the Pride turn it around at home on July 7 against the Washington Spirit!
Who was your Pride player of the match versus the North Carolina Courage?
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