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  • Writer's pictureDan Berridge

Analysis: North Carolina Courage (a). Point On The Road As The Pride's Unbeaten Start Goes On.

Orlando might have surrendered top spot, for this week at least but a point away in Cary is never anything to be sniffed at.

That being said, I think the Pride will be disappointed with this result. This was another game where Orlando were far superior to their opponents.

This is a team that goes into games, expecting points.

And it's great to see.

Despite the disappointment over the result, this was another accomplished display from the Pride, who created chances whilst limiting their hosts mainly to pot shots and half chances. Seb Hines' team have the second best defence in the league and it's not hard to see why. Only Gotham have conceded fewer goals.

It never seemed like their clean sheet was under any sort of duress.

In fact, the Pride were the more likely of the two teams to break the deadlock. The Pride's movement was excellent, particularly in forward areas. Their passing was crisp, accurate and front footed. As such they were able to progress the ball into good areas, leading to 43 touches in the opposition box and 21 overall shots.

But it's not only going forward where the Pride look good.

Defensive solidity

The Pride look impervious at the back. The Pride are top for clean sheets and 2nd for goals conceded per match. They lie in the bottom 2 for saves per match, whilst also ranking lowly for interceptions and tackles per match. That might seem quite a weird thing to be happy about, but when you're in the top 4 for shots per match, 3rd for big chances created, 4th for goals per match and 5th for accurate crosses per match... It means you're doing most of the attacking. So the need for tackles and interceptions are diminished.

This is a good team. It doesn't have to do a lot of defending, but when it does it does it well.

Somebody is going to get a hiding

I've been saying it for a while. I know the Pride left their shooting boots in Orlando, but the numbers they are putting up (figure 1) and the way they are playing... Somebody is going to get hammered and hit for 4 or 5 by this team. Their movement and running off the ball in transition is frightening.

Their movement is interchangeable as well; Barbra Banda in particular will run all across the frontline. Summer Yates, Marta, Adriana and Julie Doyle were all getting into great positions.

It's clear their chemistry is beginning to develop more and more; their XG of 1.62 was a little surprising to me as I felt a couple of the chances they carved out were a bit more guilt edged than the numbers suggest.

Figure 1 shows Orlando's shooting statistics (right), whole 90.

Top player

Haley McCutcheon

In Orlando's fluid formation she has just as much work to do on the ball as she did off it. She did an excellent job of recovering the ball, breaking up play and helping Orlando to dictate possession.

Player ratings

Starting XI

Moorhouse -7- Didn't have much to do, steady.

Abello -7- Tireless.

Strom -7- Solid.

Sams -7- Didn't put a foot wrong.

Martinez -7- Decent performance.

McCutcheon -8- Ran the game.

Adriana -7- Gave NC plenty to think about.

Marta -7- The glue that holds it all together.

Yates -7- Lively.

Doyle -7- Ran the line well.

Banda -8- Constant threat.


Dyke -6- Fresh legs.

Angelina -6- Bought energy to the midfield.

Watt -6- Full of running.

Allen -6- Too late to make an impact.

Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines

The positives are the point on the road is probably something we would have taken before the game, no other team has done that against North Carolina. A clean sheet as well, shutout. It is really important to start to get that going as well. After the game, it is almost a bittersweet taste in our mouths because we felt like we played really well. We were really aggressive in our press and caused a lot of troubles to North Carolina and a lot of turnovers. I think after all of it, we have to reward ourselves with a goal. We had countless amount of opportunities to score and I think on another day we take them. That will probably be the reflection this week going into the Utah game next week.”

*All statistics courtesy of Fotmob.

Cover image and top player image courtesy of Orlando Pride.

Media availability and b-roll footage courtesy of Orlando Pride.


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