The Orlando Pride slogged through wet conditions to take all the points in a 4-3 victory against the Washington Spirit Saturday night and remain undefeated when they score four goals or more. Now that we know what the winning formula is, it shouldn’t be too hard to replicate it, right?
It was a performance the Pride can definitely build on, and part of that will be breaking down the match to find out what went right, and what went wrong. Time to add our two cents and share our perspective on how each player performed.
GK, Haley Kopmeyer, 6.5 — Due to wet conditions it seemed like Kopmeyer chose to punch the ball more, and a few of those weren’t good clearances. But as the match wore on, she appeared to get more comfortable with the conditions. As for the goals, she couldn’t do anything on the first two, and I can’t find a good enough view of Washington’s final goal to tell if it weren’t just perfectly placed to beat her on the near post. All things considered, she had a good shift with a great save in the 63rd minute.
D, Carson Pickett, 5 — Not my favorite Pickett performance for sure. I just thought she was a little slow getting involved, and when she did, it often got messy. A couple of moments of brilliance were sprinkled in a match she’ll want to move on from.
D, Toni Pressley, 5.5 — Pressley almost added a fourth goal early when she got on the end of a Rachel Hill cross to put Aubrey Bledsoe to the test, but the former Pride goalkeeper was up for the challenge. She did lead the team in tackles, along with Chioma Ubogagu at three apiece, but I did take her down a notch for getting burned by Matthews on the opening goal.
D, Shelina Zadorsky, 5.5 — Zadorsky didn’t have a lot of involvement in her first game back from the World Cup. Her 24 touches were the lowest among the starters, but she did connect on her distribution 85.7% of the time. I was going to knock her for that second goal, but I’ll give credit where it’s due — Cheyna Matthews brought down and controlled that long ball perfectly, keeping herself between the ball and Zadorsky.
D, Erin Greening, 5 — Greening led the team in touches with 70, and completed 71.1% of her passes. I think she could have done better on Washington’s first and last goal though. On the first, she peeled off of Bayley Feist to go far post, which Joanna Boyles was already moving to cover, and on the final goal, she was one of the five players who watched Jordan Dibiasi dribble around them in the box and slot it in.
MF, Alanna Kennedy, 6.5 — Kennedy had a team high of 89.2% passing, a header just wide of the net, and only a killer stop by Bledsoe kept her from adding a goal in the 34th minute. Aside from the numbers, I thought she was generally solid in closing down lanes and forcing the Spirit out of their comfort zone.
MF, Joanna Boyles, 6.5 — A good outing for sure, but there were moments where Boyles seemed frozen after making a pass instead of creating opportunities to help move the ball forward. I’ve only seen her goal that got called off once, but she just didn’t seem offside to me. Good control and effort on it though.
MF, Emily van Egmond, 6.5 — Van Egmond and Kennedy came back to Orlando and hit the ground running in my opinion. I thought all three midfielders did well in controlling the space against a very pass-heavy team like Washington. She had a great through ball to Hill to get the Pride back in the lead in the 26th minute.
F, Rachel Hill, 7 — Speaking of Hill, it took her slightly over 900 minutes to get her first goal of the season, but hopefully this means the monkey is officially off her back and we won’t have to wait as long for the next one. Aside from that, she was often there to create several dangerous moments and keep Washington on the back foot.
F, Marta, 8.5 (PotM) — Something I haven’t mentioned yet is that Washington was tied with the Utah Royals for fewest goals allowed (at seven) before Saturday. Marta was a huge part of the Pride putting up four against such a solid defense. Besides getting the first brace of the year for the Pride, she was directly involved in the possession that led to the other two goals. Throw in four chances created, and this will most likely be one of the top performances of the year. (But hey, I won’t mind at all if I’m wrong about that.)
F, Chioma Ubogagu, 7 — Every once in a great while, it feels like Ubogagu gains access to the Matrix and everything works out just the way she wants it. That was the case on her goal the made things even in the 21st minute. She could have had an assist late in the game when she found Marisa Viggiano with a great cross, but it didn’t work out. I’ll always admire her work rate.
MF, Marisa Viggiano (77’), 4 — A missed chance at an open net and a bad turnover in stoppage time helped give hope to Washington. These are not the things you want to see from a sub.
MF, Dani Weatherholt (82’), N/A — It was nice to see Weatherholt back out there after her injury a couple of weeks ago. It’ll be interesting to see what Head Coach Marc Skinner decides going forward in regards to personnel, especially if the Aussies keep playing well in the midfield.
MF, Abby Elinsky (90’) N/A — Elinsky was just a substitution to help wind down the clock. To add on to the above, I look forward to seeing how things shake out in the coming weeks as the choices get tougher for who makes the game day 18.
That one felt pretty good, and I accidentally made my three-year-old cry when I scared him cheering (yelling) at Hill’s goal. Totally worth it. Now give me your vote on the Player of the Match and let me know what you saw in the comments below.
Who was your Pride Player of the Match in the 4-3 victory over the Washington Spirit?
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Other (comment below)