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  • Writer's pictureDan Berridge

Analysis: Kansas City Current (a). The Pride Take A Huge Leap Towards The NWSL Shield.

Sometimes, in football, there are moments, games within a season where you just start to think things might be written in the stars.


This was one of those moments for the Orlando Pride. To go away from home, against your closest title rivals, be reduced to 10 players and still come away with all 3 points... This was a statement win. A win that the Pride had to grind out, showing tremendous courage and determination in the process.


The NWSL shield is firmly in their hands. It's the Pride's to lose at this point. We're also another game closer to an invincible season. There are 10 games to go. I think we can dare to dream now.



This team is full of winners. And that showed here. The Pride had to show the gritty side of their game. The sending off of Carrie Lawrence was always going to put their backs to the wall. The decision to withdraw Julie Doyle and bring on Rafaelle was probably the correct one. It's probably been a frustrating time for the Brazilian, but she showed her experience and class to help see out the win.


Adriana, Marta and Barbra Banda all showed their tremendous quality. The withdrawal of Summer Yates at half-time, for Haley McCutcheon, signalled Seb Hines' intent to move to a more defensive minded set up in midfield. Meanwhile the Pride's aforementioned forward line more than made up for KC's player advantage.



They showed why they are all elite level players in their own right. This is a winning team.

Tremendous character


Sometimes, I look at games and I can spot tactical reasons why we have won or lost. And sometimes it's just pure heart, determination and character. This win was largely a result of the latter, with a sprinkling of the former. As I've already alluded too, Hines did well in recognising we needed to stifle space in the middle and defensive thirds. He did this by introducing McCutcheon and Rafaelle. But don't underestimate how important the mental side of the game was here. The determination to win all of the mini battles that can ultimately lead to victory in the overall war of the game.


It would have been so easy for their heads to drop after the red card. The Current had levelled, and many onlookers probably assumed there was a red tsunami coming.


But this team does not accept defeat. They won their duels, they were the first to every loose ball. They did the nitty gritty well.


That's why they won.


Anna Moorhouse


The English goalkeeper has come under a fair amount of flack at times this season. Including from myself on a number of occasions. At the start of the season she was shaky, indecisive and oftentimes erratic.


Her improvement has been immeasurable over the last few weeks and months. She was probably the Pride's best player on the night. The commentary team were critical of her attempts to save Temwa Chawinga's equaliser, but for me it's just a well placed finish.



Her 7 saves (figure 1) were crucial to the win, but so was her decisive, confident nature. It's 7 clean sheets for her this season. She has a very respectable save percentage (figure 2). She made key saves at important times in Kansas. She was the only tornado in Kansas. No yellow brick road for the Current.


Figure 1 shows some of Moorhouse's key statistics.


Figure 2 shows some of Moorhouse's key statistics for the season.


Top player


Anna Moorhouse


As I've already made reference to, the former Bordeaux and West Ham United stopper has improved massively as the season wore on. It was a backs to the wall job, at times, during a frenetic encounter in Kansas City. Game winner.


Player ratings


Starting XI


Moorhouse -9- Superb.


Lawrence -6- Bit of a clumsy challenge for the second yellow.

Strom -7- Defended well.

Sams -7- Coped well.

Abello -8- Got up and down well.


Angelina -7- Understated.

Yates -6- Game slipped away from her.

Doyle -7- Had some positive moments.

Adriana -7- Ran well.


Marta -8- Match winning performance and goal.


Banda -8- Baller.


Substitutes


Rafaelle -8- Vital.

McCutcheon -7- Shored things up.

Dyke -6- Fresh energy.

Watt -6- Fresh legs.

Martinez -6- Came in very late.


Reaction


Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines


“More than deserved. To go down to 10 players so early on in the game and show the character that we have been talking about all season long is just incredible. To come to this environment, we knew that it was going to be a tough game. We had the same amount of points, same amount of wins, same amount of ties and there was nothing between us in this game. Then, I think we showed our class on the day, our character and personality. Everyone contributed to this win today and it is so good to head into this break with a valued three points.”




*All statistics courtesy of Fotmob.

Cover image and top player image courtesy of Orlando Pride.

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



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