A great effort by the front office and fellow fans resulted in a season-high 9,415 in attendance, and that effort was matched on the field in what was probably the most organized the Orlando Pride have looked this season in the 1-0 victory over Sky Blue FC.
Let’s do our thing and break down each performance from Saturday night.
GK, Ashlyn Harris, 6.5 — It’s a keeper’s dream to have a game like this. She was only called to action twice, and that was in the first half. After that, Sky Blue FC never got a shot on target again. Distribution was interesting, as she only sent two balls long. The rest of the night, she played through the defenders.
D, Ali Krieger, 7 — Head Coach Marc Skinner and Ali Krieger gave us all a bit of a surprise with her playing on the left side Saturday night, but when you’re a World Cup-winning athlete, you can usually perform whatever task is required. Sky Blue didn’t seem prepared for this though, and Krieger dominated her side of the pitch for most of the night.
D, Toni Pressley, 6 — Three clearances, two blocks, and a tackle are pretty low numbers for Pressley as of late. I would joke and say she’s slumping, but it was just another good performance from a player who seems dialed in recently. There were a lot of balls thrown forward though, and a lot of those didn’t connect, giving her just 66.7% accuracy for the night.
D, Shelina Zadorsky, 6.5 — Zadorsky struggled to connect going forward as well, but she attempted it far less, boosting her passing up to 78.3%. She threw in an interception and a couple of clearances of her own to help keep that sheet clean.
D, Erin Greening, 6.5 — It was perhaps Greening’s tremendous effort this season that kept her in the lineup with Krieger’s return, and she didn’t disappoint here. She created a couple of chances on offense, led the team in touches, and tied Rachel Hill and Joanna Boyles for the lead in tackles at four. She had five interceptions to cap it off.
MF, Joanna Boyles, 6.5 — Another good performance as part of a midfield that rarely lost command. She had a 77.3% passing rate for the night, and Boyles only lost three passes in the second half.
MF, Marisa Viggiano, 7.5 (PotM) — Viggiano got her first professional goal Saturday night, and what a goal it was. Sky Blue gave her the space at the top of the box, and she took it and ripped one right past the goalkeeper. Aside from that, she tied Marta for the top passing accuracy among the starters at 79.3%. She was subbed off in the 70th minute, looking pretty gassed from the effort.
MF, Alanna Kennedy, 7 — Kennedy gave us a bit of everything — a shot on target, a chance created, a couple of tackles, 75% passing, and she played a large part in keeping the pressure on Sky Blue’s midfield. I thought Kennedy was particularly good at identifying the lanes that needed to be shutdown.
F, Chioma Ubogagu, 6.5 — Chi’s run of form continued, and as has been the case for a while now, if there is an Orlando attack, it usually involves her. Ubogagu led the team with four chances created in another overall good performance.
F, Marta, 7 — A couple of shots getting blocked helped Marta’s goal-scoring tear come to an end. It was not for a lack of trying, as she took five shots total but just couldn’t find the net. Once again, she was all over the field, and the effort is pretty astounding.
F, Rachel Hill, 6 — It was not a full 90-minute shift, but in her 64 minutes played, Hill was tied for the lead in tackles, with four. Defensively, she’s been a nuisance for the opposition to say the least. Offensively, I’d like to see some crosses whipped in during open play. Perhaps that’s not the style they’re aiming for anymore, but I just want that right side to be a bit more dangerous.
F, Claire Emslie (64’), 7 — Perhaps Emslie can be the danger I want to see in the attack. In just 26 minutes of work, she put a ball on frame, created three chances, and completed all eight of her passes. Emslie definitely brought a spark, and the game got a bit more exciting after she stepped on the field.
MF, Emily van Egmond (70’), 5 — Emily came in for Viggiano but wasn’t able to provide any real impact on the night. She just can’t seem to get a ball on frame, no matter how empty the net is, and it’s been pretty frustrating to see.
D, Carson Pickett (82’), N/A — Up until this match, Pickett had played every single minute of the season. I think for the first time in a long time, we got to see a bit of versatility in the Pride lineup that will benefit everybody moving forward.
And that’s a wrap on the Pride’s third win in the last five games. I tried not to dole out so many 6.5s, but for me, it was just an all-around good performance against the team in last place. I tried to keep from getting too crazy on the grades.
It’ll be three weeks between the win over Sky Blue and the next match, which will be at home against the Houston Dash. So make sure you let me have it below if you have a different perspective, and vote for your Pride Player of the Match!
Who was your Pride Player of the Match in the 1-0 victory over Sky Blue FC?
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