• Dan Berridge

Analysis: NJ/NY Gotham FC (h). Sub par Pride are defeated at home again.

It's hard to say anything too kind about this Orlando Pride performance. Despite a spirited late fight back, the Pride simply gave themselves too much to do. With Gotham roaring into a 3-0 lead, it became increasingly difficult to see Orlando salvaging anything from the game as events transpired. And, if we're being honest, they didn't deserve anything from it.


The Pride's play-off chances now hang by the weakest of threads. This was a game that Orlando had to win. In all actuality, though, it never really looked like happening. Especially after Gotham's early goal. From then on in, the Pride made it fairly simple for Scott Parkinson's team. It's hard to truly decipher what has happened to this team. After such a bright start to Becky Burleigh's tenure, hopes of a top 6 finish were high. Now, they look increasingly unlikely. Still, the Pride showcased a plucky spirit in the dying embers of the game. It was just too little, too late.

Orlando's inability to keep possession


This was the crux of the Pride's issues in this game. Whilst their overall passing accuracy of 78.6% wasn't that bad, this was inflated somewhat by periods of the game (late-on), that Gotham were more than happy to let Orlando have the ball for. Truthfully, the ball was being passed around like a hot potatoe for much of this contest. Orlando struggled to break through Gotham's press, which ultimately led to them conceding possession in key areas, with alarming frequency (figure 1).


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None of the Pride's players looked comfortable on the ball. They all seemed sluggish and off the pace. Whenever the ball was played into midfield, Gotham were pressurising the ball carrier in an attempt to force the turnover. This tactic led to a high number of Gotham recoveries in Orlando's half of the field (figure 2). An excellent example of this is the chance for Margaret Purce late in the first-half (figure 3). Gotham win the ball back high, they break on the Pride and end up nearly grabbing a 2-0 lead. Orlando just couldn't cope with the relentless pressure and Gotham, ultimately, made them pay.

Figure 1 shows Orlando's unsuccessful pass positioning matrix, whole 90.

Figure 2 shows Gotham's recovery/interception positioning matrix, whole 90.

Figure 3 is a game still from just before a late first half effort at goal.


Lack of midfield


There was a substantial disconnect between the back 4 and the attack throughout much of this game. The level of dissociate was akin to when Obi-Wan Kenobi fails to recognise R2-D2 in a New Hope, despite their numerous adventures together in the Clone Wars and Prequels. The story tellers failed to connect the dots properly. There were no dots connected in Orlando's midfield. . Orlando's midfield were guilty of giving the ball away far too much; Gunny Jónsdóttir had a pass completion rate of 66.7% from 18 passes. That's just not good enough.

Marisa Viggiano was guilty of dropping far too deep to pick the ball off the centre backs. Ordinarily that's all well and good but Jónsdóttir was always too far forward. Therefore, it became difficult for Viggiano and Jónsdóttir to link up. They didn't seem to by in sync.


The defensive positioning from both players was also poor. The 3rd goal highlights this perfectly, there's oceans of space in the middle (figure 4). And Gotham exploits that with a very good goal. It's all basic positioning. Orlando have to go back to basics on Wednesday evening, against Chicago.

Figure 4 is a game still from just before the 3rd goal.


Never say die attitude


I'd be remisce not to reflect on this team's spirit, no one can deny they have that. They have it in abundance. The Pride could've rescued an unlikely point late-on, asgoals from Erika Tymrak and Marta set up an exciting finish. The Pride were inches away from an equaliser courtesy of Toni Pressley, who hit the post late on. The ball then broke to Ashlyn Harris, who had meandered forward for the set piece. Harris was unlucky not to find the bottom corner for a goal that would likely have bought the house down. What a moment that would've been, right?


Top player


Marta

Never stopped trying to make things happen for Orlando. Her stats were fairly impressive, the Brazilian legend had 79 touches, 6 shots, 4 key passes, 4 tackles and 1 goal. She's an inspirational leader, who even at the ripe old age of 35 is still the best player in this league. Marta completed 84.8% of her 46 passes. Took her penalty excellently.

Player ratings


Starting XI


Harris -6- Probably could do better with the first goal. Nearly scored at the end.


Riley -6- Solid going forward.

Krieger -6- Not her best game. Ran ragged at times.

Turner -6- Is struggling right now.

Petersen -5- Really struggled with her positioning.


Viggiano -5- Energetic, but was too disconnected from Jónsdóttir.

Jónsdóttir -5- Probably her worst performance for Orlando.

Marta -7- Industrious as ever.


Taylor -6- Barely got a kick.

Morgan -5- Off the pace and spurned a great chance off Marta's shot.

Leroux -6- Had to drop deep to get involved. Starved of service.


Substitutes


Kornieck -7- Energetic, gave the team a spark.

Tymrak -7- Got the Pride on the board.

Dougherty-Howard -6- Provided fresh legs in the middle.

Pressley -6- Unlucky not to nab a late leveller.

McClernon -6- Helped shore things up.

*All statistics courtesy of nwslsoccer.com

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