The Pride just can't catch a break so far this season. This latest defeat was one entirely of their own making, however. They were well in the game until a second half defensive slip allowed Kansas City to open the scoring through Debinha, before a goal from CeCe Kizer sealed the win for the Missouri outfit just a few minutes later.
Up until that point, the Pride had a good handle on the game, and they'll have come away with a distinct feeling that they should have gotten something. This was a sentiment that was reflected in the post-match. Megan Montefusco told The English Lion: 'It's been really tough, we're not going to lie. We are going through it right now and we don't feel like we should be losing these games. We put our heart and soul out in the field and we're prepared, we're ready to go and those things happen. We're sick of it at this point, we are so ready to get a win, and what better way to do that then in San Diego away [next week]?”
The Pride had a good handle on the game until a costly turnover, after Jordyn Listro attempted to collect a pass under pressure on the right edge of the penalty area, and the Current (more precisely Hailie Mace and Debinha) pounced. Still in a state of shock after that goal, the Current doubled their lead as Mace provided a second assist of the afternoon for Kizer.
There's a real danger that this season could spiral out of control for Orlando. A real danger. It's hard to see where those coveted first points are going to come from right now. The Pride go to San Diego next, before facing off against Racing Louisville at Exploria Stadium.
Improved performance in possession
Make no mistake, this was a much improved performance for the Pride. In possession they looked far more accomplished, they looked reasonably compact defensively and even looked like they could knick a goal.
The Pride played 457 passes, whilst Megan played a team leading 82 of them. Which goes to show how Orlando were building out from the back. All of the back 4 did a great job progressing their passes between the lines (figure 1). The midfield double pivot of Listro and Vivianna Villacorta also did well picking the ball up from the back 4 and advancing it. Emily Madril and Kylie Strom also did well progressing the ball down the sides.
All of this lead to the Pride maintaining 52.5% of the overall possession. Unfortunately, neither fotmob.com or nwslsoccer.com provide interval breakdowns in possession. I bet we'd find the Pride's number a lot higher before their first goal. The Pride led the game in pretty much every major offensive statistic (figure 2)... Apart from shots on target and err, goals.
Figure 1 shows the Pride defence's successful pass positioning matrix, whole 90.
Figure 2 shows the game's key statistics.
Marta as a false 9
Initially I was skeptical about Marta playing up front on her own. Marta is obviously the greatest of all time, but she's 37. I was worried we wouldn't have much of an out ball. But actually, with the way we approached the game, in terms of a possession based approach, it worked really well.
Marta, as it turned out, was more of a false 9, rather than an out and striker. Marta would drop back towards the number 10 position, and the onus would then be on Adriana and Ally Watt to run beyond her, as we see in figure 3.
Marta also really helped to maintain possession in forward areas as well as when dropping back into midfield (figure 4). Her movement was excellent and she was a big part of why the Pride were able to maintain possession so well.
Figure 3 is a game still from the first half.
Figure 4 shows Marta's pass positioning matrix.
I thought the youngster acquitted herself really well at right-back. She defended well and also looked really good carrying the ball forward. The rookie completed 86% of her passes, made 1 tackle, 1 headed clearance, 3 interceptions and 4 recoveries. Solid.
Nelson -6- Had a solid game, particularly in the first half. Nothing she could do about either goal.
Madril -8- Very positive performance.
Montefusco -7- Guided Cosme through the game well and was excellent in possession.
Cosme -7- Is really growing into her role.
Strom -7- Dependable as ever.
Listro -7- Will be gutted about the mistake, but she acquitted herself well aside from that.
Villacorta -7- Progressed the ball well.
McCutcheon -7- Provided good support for Strom.
Adriana -6- Got into some good positions.
Marta -7- Worked well as a false 9.
Watt -7- Ran the line well.
Bright -6- Looked energetic, but the game was floating away from us when she came on.
Tymrak -6- Similar to Bright, looked to make things happen but the game had gone.
Yates -6- Looks a real good player.
Martinez -6- Good to get her, her debut.
Cluff -6- Came in too late.
Orlando Pride head coach Seb Hines
"Obviously disappointed with the result. We had a game plan, we stuck to the game plan in moments but didn’t really execute in terms of creating too many opportunities in the attacking third. I don’t think there was a lot between ourselves and Kansas [City] either. We had a lot of corners, lots of shots, but didn’t really make the keeper work. It’s another moment where they’ve capitalized on us giving the ball away and it changed the whole game.”
Game still courtesy of CBS Sports.
Top player image and cover image courtesy of Orlando Pride.
Media availability footage and B-Roll footage courtesy of Orlando Pride.