Analysis: NJ/NY Gotham FC (h). More Frustration For The Pride, As They Are Downed By A Late Goal.
It was an evening of more frustration for the Orlando Pride, as a late goal from Midge Purce sealed all 3 points for the visitors. By far the most irritating aspect of this defeat for Orlando, is undoubtedly the fact that they were actually the better side, they just couldn't convert their dominance into goals. Or even shots on target for that matter; 23 efforts at goal, 2 on target.
Still, there was enough to please head coach Amanda Cromwell. And there should be enough for fans to take away from this Pride moved the ball around well and were able to create some openings, they just weren't able to put the ball into the back of the net unfortunately. In an attacking sense, this was the most dangerous they've looked so far.
Defensively speaking, the Pride performed well overall too. They kept their shape and everyone seemed to know what their jobs were. The Pride's lack of defensive solidity has been an ongoing issue for some years now, and it seems like they're finally going someway to correcting that under Cromwell's tutelage.
The Pride's attacking movement
This is something that Amanda Cromwell has spoken about a lot in recent weeks; what the Pride do with the ball moving forward. Something which I think we'll see a lot of this season, particularly with Darian Jenkins and Sydney Leroux, is that vertical pass from back to front when on the counter. It's a move that was used effectively on Wednesday (figure 1), as Gunny Jonsdottir found Leroux in space down the left. The Pride got some good numbers forward (figure 2), however the final play on the ball was what was missing. I think crossing the ball here is the better option.
Figure 1 is a game still from the 19th minute, showing Leroux's run.
Figure 2 is a game still from just a few seconds later, showing how many runners the Pride had.
Still, this is something the Pride did well all evening. These vertical runs are always dangerous, particularly in moments of transition. They stretched the Gotham defence well, which creates gaps for runners off the ball (as seen in figure 2). The only reason the Pride didn't profit is because the execution wasn't quite there. But that will come with time.
Toni Pressley has to play every week
I feel like I've said this before. She has to. Pressley is to the Pride, what Robin Jansson is to City; a left footed centre back who is able to switch the play. Pressley is able to fire passes from the left centre back slot to the right wing. The quality of these passes mean that Orlando can use them to get the chains moving. They're also useful when negating a high press, as we saw against the Courage. If you look at her pass positioning matrix in figure 3, you'll see what I mean.
Figure 3 shows Pressley's pass positioning matrix, whole 90.
This was an interesting performance from the Pride, overall. Many will draw negatives from a second consecutive defeat and a third straight scoreless game, which is rational. But you have to dig a little deeper here. There's plenty to be optimistic about; the Pride's new found defensive stability, their possession play (54.2% of the play, and an 80.1% pass completion rate) and they are starting to create chances. But again, this rebuild is going to take time. Don't sweat it. If you're feeling stressed about the team, don't. Grab some popcorn, watch Moon Knight and then get back on the horse Sunday.
Imperious performance from Pressley. Her distribution was second to none, she was 90.2% for all 51 of her passes. She also played 1 key pass and had 3 shots on goal. Pressley reads the game exceptionally well and helped to get the team on the front foot with her excellent range of passing.
Moorhouse -7- Solid deput for the 'keeper.
Petersen -7- Got up and down the flank well.
Pressley -8- Distribution was excellent.
Turner -7- Solid play, positionally.
Strom -7- Seems more confident 1 v 1 than in 2021.
James -7- Kept the play ticking over well.
Jonsdottir -7- Broke up play well.
Cluff -6- I need to see a little more from her, though her quality is obvious.
Dougherty-Howard -7- Drifted between the lines well.
Tymrak -7- Quality on the ball.
Leroux -7- Tireless running.
Jenkins -7- Made some good runs.
Washington -7- Provided some energy late on.
Orlando Pride Head Coach Amanda Cromwell:
“I thought it was actually one of our best games, probably the best game so far as far as a 90-minute period. I think we’ve had moments that were very good in other games and halves. I thought we had a lot of the ball and were very creative going forward, unlucky not to score in this game. I was really proud of the team. I thought the effort was there, the mentality was there. And that was a tough one to give up towards the end on a transition moment and we got caught a little bit. We’re just going to keep grinding, getting better and I think you saw some improvement from the last game.”
Cover image, top player image, b-roll footage and post match media availability footage courtesy of Orlando Pride.
Game stills courtesy of Twitch.