Analysis: NJ/NY Gotham FC (h). Another Chastening Defeat For The Pride.
First of all, I want to say if you disagree with anything you read in this post, please appreciate I watched the most nauseating stream on the NWSL website. I'm aware the stream failed completely in the United States, but that was probably preferable! I haven't been impressed with the quality of the league's streams so far this season. I almost vomitted watching the Washington Spirit game a couple of weeks back. The camera work was incredibly amateurish. It needs to be better.
Just like the Orlando Pride. Although I saw a lot of positives, the negatives cannot be ignored. The first half was a frenetic affair at times, but Orlando connected the dots well and seemed to have a clear game plan. They were using the pace of Adriana, and the runs of Marta to isolate both full-backs and put quality balls into the area. Except... That's what was lacking.
The Pride had a good balance in terms of their defensive shape. Both Haley McCutcheon and Kylie Strom looked at home in the full-back positions, whilst Caitlin Cosme and Emily Madril looked increasingly at home as the game wore on.
Sadly, that's where the full extent of the positives lie.
It turned out to be another chastening defeat for the Pride, as Gotham eventually took control of the game. Their 2-0 victory was ultimately a fair reflection of their dominance. I'd love to be able to point to something in a tactical sense and explain why the Pride lost this game. But the truth is I don't think that I can. There seems to be a mentality issue at play here.
This season was always going to be a difficult one, particularly with this young team. A young team that possesses a lot of talent may I add. The team just looks as though it has no belief whatsoever. The team is too passive in midfield areas. No one really wants to get on the ball and take the game by the scruff of the next.
As a result we just end up on the back foot. The lateness of the 2 goals was undoubtedly heart breaking, but the game could have been out of sight by then. The efforts of Kaylie Collins and the rest of the defensive unit stopped that from being the case much earlier on. Then we see a silly error for the penalty and it's game over.
For the next game, I think personnel changes are going to be needed. I like the tactical set-up; the 4-2-3-1 gives us a nice balance, but we need more control in the midfield. Jordyn Listro has to play in my opinion. She offers a grit and determination that no one else does and is very good at winning the ball at the base of the midfield before moving it forward.
Vivianna Villacorta is also one of the most progressive ball carriers we have, so I'm not too sure why she is spending so much time on the bench. Kerry Abello has so much quality in the left foot of hers too, I'd like to see her in a wider position more often. Having her and Adriana as the two wide players in that front 4 could work.
All that being said, PRO didn't help us out much. I have no issues with the penalty. But Victoria Pickett needs to walk in the first half. VAR checked the incident where she flung her arm out. That was deliberate in my opinion. As clear a red card as you're likely to see all season. Mind boggling that they didn't act on it.
I just want to see us back ourselves a bit more.
Otherwise it's going to be a long season.
I would love to give you some detailed statistics on her performance, but the NWSL reporting algorithm is down, so there are no reliable stats to give you. It truly was amateur hour over there at the NWSL on Saturday night. What I can confirm is that she made some crucial stops. Not much she could do about either goal.
Probably did enough to start the next game.
Collins -7- Solid display.
McCutcheon -7- Defended well against Lynn Williams overall.
Madril -7- Grew in confidence and stature.
Cosme -7- It's a shame about the penalty call, because she had a good game otherwise.
Strom -7- Solid.
Cluff -6- Was too passive for me.
Abello -7- I'd like to see her out wide.
Adriana -7- Looked dangerous one v one.
Tymrak -6- Struggled to make an impact.
Marta -6- Almost tried to do too much at times.
Bright -7- Made some impressive runs.
Listro -6- Came in too late.
Montefusco -6- Came in to see the game out.
Yates -6- Didn't get much of a kick.
Villacorta -7- Was positive on the ball.
Orlando Pride head coach Seb Hines
"We were in it the whole way. And then you know, a call doesn't go away, and it just changes the results. We had a lot of opportunities to score, we didn't take them. That leaves Gotham a chance to win the game. So, you have to take your opportunities when they present themselves. But yeah, same old feeling after the game disappointed with the result, effort was great, as always, the players are really putting the effort in, just want the result to really feel like they're rewarded for their effort.”
*Top player image and cover image courtesy of Orlando Pride.
B-roll and media availability footage courtesy of Orlando Pride.