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  • Writer's pictureDan Berridge

Analysis: Portland Thorns (h). Well Deserved 3 Points For The Pride.

After about 20 minutes of reviewing this game, it was easy to see how some fans might have gotten a sense of déjà vu. A Sophia Smith goal, the Pride being down to the Thorns... We've all seen that movie. But 'somehow, Orlando returned'.

An incredible free-kick strike from Adriana was only topped by the sumptuous curling effort she hit to put Orlando ahead in the second half. Messiah Bright's opportunistic finish added some well earned gloss to a thoroughly deserved victory.

Seb Hines' team played with a verve and swagger becoming of a team that truly believes it has the quality and desire to compete in the NWSL. And boy, do they.

It was a great game to watch, the archetypal 'great advert for the league' sort of contest. Both teams were quick in transition, looking to hit the front and make things happen. The Pride were resolute defensively and clinical in attack. It was the sort of performance that made me truly believe that this squad can end the club's play-off hoodoo.


It was a match winning performance from the Brazilian, who seemed to excel playing alongside Julie Doyle and Marta in a triumvirate behind Ally Watt. The four of them were able to interchange at will, which meant they were difficult for the Thorns defence to try and track.

Adriana just looked like she was playing with supreme confidence. In a footballing sense she was brash; full of a braggadocio. She was all over the pitch (figure 1), drifting between lines, recycling possession and trying to work openings for her teammates. She's now on 3 goals and 1 assist for the season and is fast becoming one of the leading lights for this team.

Adriana's interchangeability with her fellow forwards made it very difficult for the Thorns defence to keep tabs on her, which is the main reason why she found so much space at times. The second goal is a prime example of that. Ally Watt has drifted over to the left, Julie Doyle is there in support on the left, which drags Natalia Kuikka out of the picture (figure 2). Marta hangs back, which automatically takes at least one Portland defender out of the game. Adriana, meanwhile (figures 2 & 3) streaks into space, completely unnoticed and then Orlando have 2 v 1 with the goal seemingly at Adriana's mercy.

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

Figure 2 is a game still from the second half.

Figure 3 is a game still from the second half.

Emily Madril

It was another strong performance from the highly rated young defender. She scored an 8.0 on, which was indicative of how well she performed. Her defensive numbers were impressive; she made 9 clearances, 2 headed clearances, 2 interceptions, 9 recoveries and 1 block.

What's more impressive, however, is her leadership on the field. Not mention her positioning. She's not afraid to organise her more experienced teammates and seems to have a good positional sense herself. As well as all of that, her distribution is also very good. Madril completed 91% of her passes (figure 4); she averages at a very impressive 85%. Madril's ball playing ability, as well as the ability of Megan Montefusco, mean the Pride are able to comfortably build from the back and beat teams, such as Portland, who press high.

Figure 4 shows Emily Madril's pass positioning matrix, whole 90.

Top player


The Brazilian forward was undoubtedly the star of the show. Her 2 goals were fit to grace any occasion. You got the feeling she was going to create something everytime she got on the ball. Overall she created 1 chance, had 5 efforts at goal, 55 touches and had a shooting accuracy of 67%. It's great to see her finally start to get numbers on the board.

Player ratings

Starting XI

Moorhouse -7- Made some important stops.

McCutcheon -7- Defended well, 1-v-1.

Montefusco -7- Crucial in the build up.

Madril -8- Just gets better and better.

Strom -7- Solid performance.

Villacorta -7- Maintained possession well.

Cluff -7- Was positive in her passing.

Marta -7- Linked up well with the rest of the front 4.

Adriana -9- Stole the show.

Doyle -6- Not her best game, but showed positivity.

Watt -7- Ran the line well.


Bright -8- Predatory finish for the goal.

Abello -6- Full of running.

Jimenez -6- Helped shore things up.

Tymrak -6- Struggled to impact the game much but pressured well.


Orlando Pride head coach Seb Hines

“It was good. You can see the effort that the players have put in. We had a good chat after the Houston game about what we needed to do and bring it back to our identity and style of play. We showed today that commitment from the players, the desire and the attention to detail in sticking to the game [plan] was brilliant. You have to win the game in multiple ways and today, we saw an opportunity to soak up a little bit of pressure and be lethal in the counterattack and the goals were well taken. I am really pleased for Adriana and Messiah [Bright] to get that goal because I know she has been working hard to get it. Overall, I was really pleased with all the performances.” 

*All statistics courtesy of and

Top player image and cover image courtesy of Orlando Pride.

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


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