Analysis: Chicago Red Stars (h). Orlando Beaten, As Amanda Cromwell Apologises To The Fans.
Unlike with the other team in purple on Sunday, the Orlando Pride's inability to beat Chicago was purely down to their own deficiencies, rather than those of the officials. The Pride simply did not turn up. They were out thought and out fought, all over the field, for the entire 90 minutes.
Amanda Cromwell did not shy away in the post match press conference, she knew this performance wasn't good enough. 'The lack of energy was unacceptable. I want to apologise to our home crowd... There was a lack of movement. We didn't work for each other' was Cromwell's damning assessment.
It's hard not to agree with her to be honest. The Pride looked disjointed and devoid of any ingenuity for the entirety of the match. It was a bizarre performance, coming off the back of 3 very encouraging results. A run of 2 wins and a draw had lifted them to 2nd in the table, albeit with the season still very much in its infancy.
A severe disconnect
To be quite frank, the shape of the team was all wrong. Not necessarily in terms of the formation, but just in terms of the gaps between the defence, the midfield and the forwards. This was exacerbated by Orlando's insistence on playing out from the back.
When playing out from the back, particularly from goal kicks, Carrie Lawrence and Toni Pressley would drop to the edge of the 6 yard area, which allowed Chicago's forwards to push right up on them. The trouble was, the midfield wasn't dropping in to help out, so there were no passing lanes for the Pride to be able to play their way out (figures 1 & 2). They then resorted to longer, more high risk passes which led to avoidable turnovers for Chicago (figure 3).
Figure 1 is a game still from the 25th minute.
Figure 2 is a game still from the 25th minute.
Figure 3 shows Orlando's recovery positioning matrix, whole 90.
A lack of energy
To me this was the most troubling aspect of the defeat. You can say they were tired etc, but the lack of energy and movement was unacceptable. Now, I've said all along this season is going to be a process. But performances with such a lack of intensity cannot be accepted. Chicago won more tackles, more interceptions (figure 4) and more clearances despite having more of the ball (56%).
Chicago just seemed to want it that bit more than we did. Cromwell said after the game; 'we weren't even under that much pressure, there was a lack of movement for each other'. Nobody seemed to want to show for the ball, particularly in the first half. This led to passes being played that weren't really on, which led to more and more turnovers (figure 5).
Figure 4 shows Orlando's (left) recovery statistics, whole 90.
Figure 5 shows Orlando's unsuccessful pass positioning matrix, first half.
The only 2 players who can really come out of this game with any credit are Carrie Lawrence and Leah Pruitt. I've gone with Pruitt and that's predominantly down to her goal. She had the least amount of touches of any outfield player, which tells you just how isolated she was. She had a mere 30 touches and only played 16 passes all evening. Pruitt took the goal well, though. Hopefully it's the first of many.
Erin McLeod -6- Made some good saves, but could've done better with some of the goals conceded.
Celia -6- Lacked energy.
Lawrence -7- Only one in the back line who showed up.
Pressley -5- Was caught out on numerous occasions.
Petersen -5- Her touch deserted her.
Montefusco -5- Looked lost.
Villacorta -5- Needed guidance.
Jónsdóttir -5- Anonymous.
Jenkins -6- Hardly got a look in.
Pruitt -7- Took her goal well
Leroux -6- Didn't get a kick.
Turner -6- Got a goal.
Cluff -6- Brought a little more energy to the midfield.
James -6- Might not have been fit, but needed to start really. Sorely missed.
Listro -6- Struggled to get into it.
Kim -7- Was very lively, did more in 15 minutes than some did in 90.
Orlando Pride Head Coach Amanda Cromwell:
“Obviously, we had tired legs. We had three games this week and they did not. There is still no excuse for that. We rested players [at the midweek] so we would be ready for this game. We had multiple players get minutes on the Wednesday game. The lack of energy is inexcusable. I really want to apologize to our home crowd because they deserve better when they come out to see us. You saw some of that energy at the end when we get two goals and also had a penalty. Their penalty, I don’t know, I was too far away to see really what happened. Even with all that, it is a penalty or a non-penalty away from being three-three, which is crazy.”
*All statistics courtesy of fotmob.com and nwslsoccer.com
Cover image and top player image courtesy of Orlando Pride.
B-roll and media availability footage courtesy of Orlando Pride.