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  • Dan Berridge

Analysis: NJ/NY Gotham FC (a). Ally Watt Scores Debut Goal To Clinch Victory For The Pride.

Ally Watt came off the bench to score a valuable goal that secured a memorable 3 points in Pennsylvania. The Pride were already a goal to the good, thanks to Celia's effort early in the second half. It was a win that Orlando thoroughly deserved and helps to extend their impressive recent run of results.

And they were good value for a win that moved them to within 2 points of a play-off position, as results elsewhere fell kindly for Orlando.

Momentum is with this team right now. It'd be a brave person that bets against this team sealing an invitation to the post season party this fall.

Ally Watt is going to be a big player for this team

Ally Watt is a player with tremendous potential. She's been a little unfortunate with injuries, and she'll be delighted to get on the scoresheet for Orlando at the start of her new chapter.

The game became quite stretched as Gotham chased an equaliser, which left plenty of space for the Pride to try and exploit. Which is exactly what Watt (huh?) did. It wasn't just the Pride forward who was benefitting. The whole team did. Gotham were pressing, but weren't doing so in a cohesive manner, which made it easier for Orlando to break lines and get on the attack. Figure 1 is a prime example of this, Vivianna Villacorta rolls one player, but only one Gotham midfielder had gone to press the ball which left acres of space in behind.

The goal is another example, an example which also highlighted Ally Watt's strengths. Gotham don't do a great job of cutting out the initial ball down the line (figure 2) and then they give Watt so much space. Watt uses her considerable dribbling ability to work a favourable angle and apply a good finish.

Figure 1 is a game still from the second half.

Figure 2 is a game still from the second half.

Orlando look so much more expressive in possession

The Pride have been playing with freedom for a while now. They just looked care free in this game, which brought out the best in their more creative players. The Pride's passing was excellent, as was their movement. There's a chemistry in this team. That's clear to see. The player on the ball always seemed to know where her passing options were, which was reflected in the team's pass success rate of 85%. There's a cohesion to this team that's never been seen in Orlando. Not even in 2017.

There were so many nice passing movements in this game, movements that were undoubtedly aided by the acres of space that Gotham seemed to wish to afford them. But still, the point stands. The Pride are playing some lovely pass and move football right now, and there was plenty of it on display in Chester. The clips in figures 3 and 4 are both excellent examples.

Figure 3 is a clip from the first half.

Figure 4 is a clip from the second half.

As ever, Jordyn Listro and Vivianna Villacorta are the enablers in midfield. Listro's excellent anchorage and Villacorta's carrying are like good coverage in football (the other sort). Solid coverage allows for running plays to be executed well. That's exactly what Listro and Villacorta were in this game. Enablers not defensive linemen. I should probably go back to dodgy Star Wars references right?

Top player

Erika Tymrak

Erika Tymrak is playing the best football of her Orlando Pride career so far. She was a huge component in Orlando's attacking machine in Chester, and is one of the main reasons the Pride are now firmly back in the play-off race. Tymrak put up some impressive numbers; she completed 85% of her 40 passes, created 4 chances and 1 big chance. She had 59 touches and drew 2 fouls. She floated between the lines so well and Gotham really struggled to cope with that.

Player ratings

Starting XI

McLeod -7- Dependable as ever between the sticks.

Celia -7- Gave just as much to the attack, as she did to the defence.

Montefusco -7- Commanding presence at the back.

Pressley -7- Was never overly troubled.

Strom -7- Gave the ball away a few times, but recovered the ball excellently.

Abello -7- Worked very hard.

Listro -7- Anchored the midfield well.

Villacorta -7- Carried the ball excellently.

Dougherty-Howard -7- Linked the play well in midfield.

Tymrak -8- Ran the show in an attacking sense.

Doyle -6- Didn't get too much of a look, but held the ball well.


Hanson -6- Good to get her out on the field for her debut.

Cluff -7- Provided fresh legs in midfield.

Watt -8- Got her goal and was generally lively.

Jónsdóttir -6- Helped to see the game out.


Acting Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines:

“Really, really good performance. We knew it was going to be difficult, playing away from home it’s never an easy game but we were going to stick to our principles and our style of play. We spoke to the players about just playing, enjoy it, just go out. Some of it was first class, it was brilliant and that’s what we’re asking for. To see it out all the way to the end of the game, it was terrific…Every game right now is massive. I’ve said it from the start, we’re not settled with where we’re at. We want to be in playoffs and this is another big step to where we want to be.”

*All statistics courtesy of

Top player image and cover image courtesy of Orlando Pride.

Post match media availability footage courtesy of Orlando Pride.

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