Analysis: Racing Louisville (a). Louisville Deliver Hammer Blow To The Pride's Play-off Hopes.
That was probably the Pride's most gut wrenching defeat of the season. It's possibly a hammer blow to the team's play-off chances. It felt like a mjolnir level hammer blow when I first watched it, but having had chance to reflect all is not lost. Still, it hurt because the Pride were 2-0 up and cruising. All that being said, Thor has yet to deliver the killing blow.
They had to see the game out from that position. They just had to.
Frustratingly, the Pride were the sole architects of their own downfall, with all 3 Louisville goals coming from howling Orlando mistakes. A Savannah DeMelo free-kick aside, Louisville didn't offer a whole lot in an attacking sense. I got the feeling, had Orlando not been so generous with the mistakes, they'd have come out of Lynn Family Stadium with all 3 points, and their play-off destiny very much in their own hands.
Now they need a favour, and the fixtures aren't as kind as they were in this round. That being said, it's not game over yet. Whilst you'd fancy OL Reign to beat the Chicago Red Stars, North Carolina Courage and Washington Spirit face one another. A win for either team, or even a draw (both depending on the Courage's result against San Diego, which had yet to be played at the time of writing), could open the door to Orlando.
As I've already alluded to, this was a game that got away from the Pride because of their own mistakes. Something which Seb Hines highlighted after the game: "We've just looked at the goals [after the game], and it's our own doing. Individual errors that allow Louisville to win the game. It's something that we haven't seen recently, we've been [playing] really good."
It wasn't as though anything was amiss tactically; the set up was good, as was the overall performance. Orlando took care of the ball reasonably well and created a whopping 4 big chances. This should've been a Pride win.
The first goal is the one that swings the momentum their way. After Katie Lund had parried away an Adriana shot, that would've made it 3-0, Messiah Bright inexplicably ran straight in the back of Savannah DeMelo. In fairness to the rookie, Celia's positioning is poor here. The whole defensive line is too narrow, which leaves an acre of space for DeMelo to meander into (figure 1). Bright tries to cover and just clumsily runs into the back of her (figure 2). It's a clear penalty, and it was just what the hosts needed.
The second goal is just horrendous defending. Rafaelle made her first mistake since arriving in Orlando. The Brazilian was blindsided by Kirsten Davis' run, as was Celia by the run of Thembi Kgatlana (figure 3). The Pride just switched off, and they lost the 3 points.
And the final goal is just... I think Carly Nelson can count herself very unlucky in all honesty. Anna Moorhouse just doesn't fill me with any confidence at all. Her decision making is really poor at times. This was one of those times. It was an awful punch. There's no foul. And then she looks around, looking for someone to blame. She has to catch the ball there. If not, then it has to be a solid punch. She puts nothing into it, and the powder puff 'punch' only helps the ball into the net (see the highlights reel below).
Figure 1 is a game still from the first half.
Figure 2 is a game still from the first half.
Figure 3 is a game still from the second half.
I felt Abello had a very good game. Aside from her very well taken goal, she had a pass completion rate of 83%, had 49 touches, 5 shots, completed 3 dribbles and 3 crosses. She worked as hard as she normally does and can count herself very unfortunate to be on the losing side.
Moorhouse -5- Shouldn't be starting.
Celia -7- Out of position for 2 goals.
Rafaelle -6- Caught out for the equaliser. Uncharacteristic.
Madril -6- Not her best game.
Strom -7- Was solid one-on-one.
Listro -6- Combative.
McCutcheon -6- Displayed her versatility.
Abello -9- Very good.
Marta -8- Did Marta things.
Adriana -7- Lively.
Bright -5- Struggled.
Watt -6- Worked hard.
Cluff -7- Missed in the XI.
Martinez -6- Looked rusty.
Doyle -6- Couldn't get into the game.
Larroquette -6- Struggled to have an impact.
Orlando Pride head coach Seb Hines
"Good start, to go two-nil up away from home. I think we were pretty comfortable and then...We've just looked at the goals [after the game], and it's our own doing. Individual errors that allow Louisville to win the game. It's something that we haven't seen recently, we've been [playing] really good. And, I hate to make excuses, but with the travel and injuries and so on, played part in the in the game. I can never fault the players’ efforts. They were brilliant, they battled all the way to the final whistle. And that's been a theme throughout the season. There's been the standards, we haven't always got the result at the end of it but today was disappointing considering where we were at the start the game.”
*All statistics courtesy of fotmob.com.
Game stills courtesy of CBS Sports/NWSL.
Media availability footage and b-roll footage courtesy of Orlando Pride.
Top player image and cover image courtesy of Orlando Pride.