Analysis: Chicago Red Stars (a). Orlando Lose On The Road... Somehow.
Having sat and watched this game in the cold light of day, and rather than blurry eyed at 2 o'clock in the morning, I'm grateful to be able to look at this game with a clear head. Still, for the life of me, I cannot understand why the Orlando Pride lost that game. Well, I can. But, I can't.
It's been a while since I've seen an away side in the NWSL, or any other league for that matter, be that dominant, create that many chances and still lose the game. The Pride had 19 shots and missed a whopping 4 big chances, as well as a number of other fairly decent ones. They rattled the woodwork twice, and forced Alyssa Naeher into 6 saves. All whilst the Red Stars mustered 2 attempts at goal. 2. They scored. We didn't. That's all it came down too.
Seb Hines expressed his frustration during the post match, when asked about the number of missed chances, saying: "Yeah it's frustrating of course because we're not just talking about half chances. We're talking about clear-cut opportunities. There was some really good deliveries in the box, some opportunities from distance and I think [Alyssa] Naeher had probably the game of her season so far so it's a tough one. It's a tough pill to swallow because we were so dominant in the game, being from the first half to the second half and to come away with zero points is disappointing.”
The Pride just couldn't finish
Normally, after a defeat, I'll pick apart what went wrong. Be it tactically, or otherwise, but I'm not sure I can do that here... The Pride played well. They moved the ball sharply, succinctly and with purpose. The offence moved well, the midfield broke lines, the defence, apart from one killer moment, were reasonably solid. We just couldn't find that killer touch.
I could pick apart some of the more guilt edged chances, but I don't see the point. There were a number of big opportunities that were just snatched at. The only reason the Pride lost this game, is because they left their shooting boots back in the 407. This performance was basically The Book of Boba Fett; a huge swing and a miss.
The Pride just needed to take a bit more care with their finishing. With the positioning of their attempts on goal (figure 1), you'd expect to score at least once. It was just one of those days, unfortunately for us.
Figure 1 shows Orlando's shot positioning matrix, whole 90.
I'm sorry if you were hoping that I could give you some sort of inner peace and make this defeat make sense to you. I wish I could give you all that. Truly. But I genuinely think that's all that was missing. It was otherwise the perfect performance from Orlando. Well, in possession at least (see the next section below). Their overall stats were very strong (figure 2). Besides, anyone watching the game could see the best team didn't win.
Figure 2 shows Orlando's overall stats (🟣), whole 90.
We didn't defend the goal well
You know when I said earlier that it was an 'otherwise perfect performance?'. Well, I wasn't including the defending for the Red Stars' goal in that. Casey Krueger has far too much time and space to dig out a cross to the back post, where Yuki Nagasato is just completely unmarked (figure 3). The Pride's defence went to sleep for a second and were punished, as so often happens in the NWSL.
And that was that really.
Figure 3 is a game still from the first half.
Cluff had another impressive game in midfield for the Pride. Her distribution of the ball was excellent; she completed 94% of her 48 passes. She made 8 successful passes into the final third and created 2 chances for her teammates. She also did well on the defensive side, making 10 recoveries and 1 interception.
Moorhouse -6- A bystander for much of the game.
McCutcheon -6- Should have done better with the goal.
Montefusco -7- Marshalled the defence well.
Madril -7- Played the ball out well from the back.
Strom -7- Got forward well.
Cluff -8- Helped Orlando control the game.
Abello -6- Got forward well, but could have done better with a few chances.
Adriana -7- Caused the Red Stars plenty of problems.
Tymrak -6- Needed to do better with a few chances that came her way.
Marta -7- Unlucky not to have scored again.
Bright -6- Positive all round play, but finishing was lacking.
Doyle -6- Good to see her back out there.
Watt -6- Couldn't get into the game.
Yates -6- Came in too late.
Orlando Pride head coach Seb Hines
"Disappointed with the result. It was a great opportunity for us to keep that momentum going. I thought any time you play a team like Chicago, who are short confidence, you have to not give them any hope and that's what we did. We gave them hope by allowing them to score first. But, at the end of the day, you can't dominate a game the way that we did and not come away with three points and that's the disappointing thing. The game is built on goals and we didn't we didn't take our opportunities tonight.”
*All statistics courtesy of fotmob.com.
Game still courtesy of DAZN/NWSL/CBS.
Top player image and cover image courtesy of Orlando Pride.
Media availability footage and b-roll footage courtesy of Orlando Pride.