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Orlando Pride at Utah Royals: Player Grades and Player of the Match

Time to rate the players as the Pride remain winless in 2019.

Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

The Orlando Pride are now completely without their internationals, and we got our first long look at the younger players as a couple of them made their 2019 debuts in the 2-0 loss to the Utah Royals.

It was a tall order to ask for a result against one of the best organized defenses in the league over the last two years, in their own house no less, but for a large portion of the match, it seemed like the Pride could steal a point. Which, if anything, says that my optimism hasn’t completely died yet, so I’ll hold on to that as I hammer out another set of grades.

Starters

GK, Haley Kopmeyer, 5.5 — A decent shift from Kop in her fourth start of the year. I liked her distribution in previous matches a bit better, and she stopped what she could. At least, from what I could see. I still haven’t found a good look at the second goal to even see what happened. In the 58th minute, she was set to go 1-v-1 with Amy Rodriguez and I thought she played it perfectly, defending against the chip and putting A-Rod off just enough to send the shot off.

D, Erin Greening, 6 — Greening was definitely a bit more settled in her third start of the year. I liked that she played the ball in possession a bit more, which was lacking in previous outings, and there were a handful of dangerous balls played forward from her. Defensively, it was a “bend, don’t break” kind of shift. Some good stops, a couple of poor moments, but all in all, I thought she did well.

D, Morgan Reid, 6 — In Reid’s second start, she continued to be a calm, steady pillar in the back and bailed out the Pride on a couple of occasions when it looked like Utah would take a shot. I’ve really liked what I’ve seen from her so far.

D, Toni Pressley, 5 — Defensively, Pressley got the work done. Again, I haven’t gotten a good look on that second goal, so I’ll refrain from judgment on that, but it was her distribution that really took a hit in this one. 50% at the end of the first half, and just slightly better in the second. The Pride struggled with playing from the back, and this was partly the reason.

D, Carson Pickett, 6 — Pickett also struggled a bit with moving the ball forward, but I always remain impressed with her ability to intercept some killer passes, and she took out a few in this one to quickly put an end to the Utah attack. After Lo’eau Labonta almost took her out with an intentional kick to the shin, she came back on the pitch and doubled her touches and involvement in the game. Great determination.

MF, Bridget Callahan, 4.5 — Callahan really struggled in the first half, and that doesn’t even include the foul in the box that led to Utah’s first goal. In the second half, though, she disrupted play a lot and helped chip away at Utah’s possession. She also took over corner kicks from Marisa Viggiano later on, which in and of itself was a huge plus.

MF, Dani Weatherholt, 5.5 — I think Weatherholt has been a solid captain so far. She’s always engaging the ref, which I think is an important part of the game, and definitely has stepped up with everyone out. That hasn’t really translated to her play just yet, but it was a decent shift nonetheless. I’d like to see what happens if the midfield can get a bit more consistent. Hopefully, that comes soon.

MF, Chioma Ubogagu, 5 — There were hardly any balls forward from Chi, and I think that should be a big part of her role. The first half saw a couple of sideline passes forward, but nothing to the interior of the field, which is where most of the Pride players were congregating. There were a couple of moments of good movement, but it was usually just operating out of the defensive half.

F, Abby Elinsky, 6 (PotM) — Abby had a superb first half and was set up to repeat in the second, but she took a knock when she collided with an opposing player, and from then on she wasn’t quite the same. She got subbed out in the 75th minute, but I hope we get to see a full 90 from her soon. She impressed me last year, and she did the same here.

F, Rachel Hill, 6 — Hill continues to give everything she’s got, and that absolutely has to all come together at some point...right? Once again, she almost got on the end of several balls, and put a few into the box herself, one of which almost led to a goal in the 88th minute.

F, Marisa Viggiano, 5 — Viggiano got her first career start on Saturday, and it went about as expected. Good effort, and her involvement improved as the game wore on. She always seemed to be around in the rare times when the Pride were on the attack. Those corners though...I’m OK with her not taking any more of those. They just floated a bit too long for me. They gave everyone time to react.

Substitutes

F, Danica Evans (75’), 5 — Evans made her first appearance of 2019 and it took a bit longer for her to get involved than I would have liked. It seemed to be about 10 minutes before she got a touch on the ball. She did finally get involved though, and that included two flip throws into the box, and an off-target header. It’ll be interesting to see if Evans’ playing time increases as the Pride move forward.

F, Caitlin Farrell (84’), N/A — Another 2019 debut, and the first appearance of Farrell’s career. Four minutes in, she almost lit it up when a cross from Hill found her, but her point-blank shot was blocked. I’ll take more of those chances, though.


Have we adjusted our expectations yet? I predicted a seventh-place finish, and that’s still easily attainable, but I’m definitely starting to feel like I was a bit optimistic there. Having said that, I’m enjoying this project of a team and look forward to seeing something new every time a game comes along.

If your spirit isn’t crushed, come down to the comments below and let me know what you saw. If you can’t bring yourself to talk about it, at least vote below on your Pride Player of the Match!

Poll

Who was your Pride Player of the Match in the 2-0 loss to the Utah Royals?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Erin Greening
    (0 votes)
  • 10%
    Morgan Reid
    (1 vote)
  • 10%
    Carson Pickett
    (1 vote)
  • 40%
    Abby Elinsky
    (4 votes)
  • 20%
    Rachel Hill
    (2 votes)
  • 20%
    Other (comment below)
    (2 votes)
10 votes total Vote Now