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  • Writer's pictureDan Berridge

Analysis: Angel City FC (a). Dominant Performance On The Road.

The Orlando Pride kept pace with the Kansas City Current, after the Missouri based outfit beat the Houston Dash 2-0 to extend their own record setting unbeaten run, to ensure they finished the weekend firmly in the title race mix.


Orlando just look like they will sweep anyone aside right now. Even the most ardent Angel City supporter would be hard pressed not to admit 3-0 flattered the home side.


It could, and probably should, have been 6.



The Pride were fully in the groove. Adriana and Summer Yates were outstanding, their movement and interchange, little one-twos around the edge of the area was a joy to behold. Marta, Barbra Banda and Julie Doyle were all particularly industrious.


They swarm all around opposition defences and teams are struggling to cope with them.


Width (and pace) to burn


The Orlando Pride have an abundance of both; particularly in Adriana and Doyle. Both do an excellent job of keeping the game stretched. They made the pitch big, which makes it easier for the likes of Marta, Yates and Banda to find space in central areas. Adriana (figure 1), Doyle (figure 2) both hug the touchline at key times, which makes the opposition backline shift along with them. This then leaves little pockets of space for Orlando's other forwards to creat shooting opportunities (figures 3 & 4).


It seems like such a simplistic thing, but so often games are congested in the middle of the park. That's just football in general these days. Teams like to stifle space, which becomes a lot easier if teams play too narrow.


They also have pace to burn in wide areas, so you always back the Pride's wingers to have the beating of their full-backs. This was certainly the case on Sunday. Gisele Thompson and Merritt Matthias had a torrid time of it.

Figure 1 shows Adriana's pass/cross positioning matrix, whole 90.


Figure 2 shows Doyle's pass/cross positioning matrix, whole 90.


Figure 3 shows Orlando's shot action map, whole 90.


Figure 4 shows a game still from the second half.


Transition


The Orlando Pride are the best transitional team in the NWSL. People might point to the fact that the Current create more chances, but the Pride are infinitely more lethal. If truth be told, we're splitting hairs if we try to separate those two teams right now.

Their upcoming clash is like this week's episode of The Acolyte; not to be missed.


I just think the Pride are a 'boot to the neck' team right now. If they pick off possession in key transition moments, they'll hurt you. With their pace and power, they're the best counter attacking side in the country. The Pride made a whopping 17 interceptions and won 58 duels. They usually don't make a ton of recoveries; they rank 11th in NWSL. But that's because they pick their moments. They don't go full 'heavy metal football'. They are patient, they pick their moments and then make their opponents pay.


Top player


Adriana



The Brazilian attacked absolutely balled out. She scored twice, had 41 touches and 7 touches in the Angel City box. She just looked in supremely confident form. That's 3 goals and an assist for her on the season. If she's about to find her scoring form, as well as everyone else... Then the rest of the league is in trouble.


Player ratings


Starting XI


Moorhouse -7- Solid.


Abello -7- Strong performance.

Sams -7- Led well from the back.

Strom -7- Dealt with everything well.

Lawrence -7- Great to see her back in the XI.


Adriana -9- Match winner.

McCutcheon -7- Marshalled midfield well.

Yates -8- Very lively going forward.

Doyle -8- Stretched the game well.


Marta -8- Pulled the strings.


Banda -8- Monster.


Substitutes


Angelina -7- Helped to maintain control of the game.

Rafaelle -7- Bonkers that she can't get a game. Shows how well everyone is playing.

Watt -6- Gave energy late on. Vindicated by VAR.

Dyke -6- Came in late.


Reaction


Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines


"Very good all around. It is nice to come away from home and get three goals and a clean sheet. It is really important that we continue those clean sheets. It was nice to see Adriana get on the score sheet with two goals, unlucky not to get a hat trick. We caused them a lot of problems in possession, and I love the defensive effort. It takes everyone, not just the goalkeeper and the backline, but the collective effort to keep Angel City at zero.”




*All statistics courtesy of Fotmob and NWSLsoccer.com.

Media availability footage and b-roll footage courtesy of Orlando Pride.

Top player image and cover image courtesy of Orlando Pride.

Game still courtesy of NWSL/CBS.



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