"I like firsts. Good or bad, they're always memorable". Ahsoka Tano, The Mandalorian, season 2.
In this case, the first was definitely a bad one on Star Wars night at Exploria Stadium. This was the San Diego Wave's first ever win over Orlando Pride. We've typically had their number. Not so on Friday night, however. A win would have been enough to lift the Pride into the top 6, for the night at least. It wasn't meant to be.
A generally positive performance in possession was undermined by sloppy defending and, to be honest, even worse goalkeeping.
As a result, the Pride remain below the line, whilst San Diego have jumped all the way up to second.
Positives to take
"To Defeat An Enemy, You Must Know Them. Not Simply Their Battle Tactics, But Their History, Philosophy, Art." Grand Admiral Thrawn, Star Wars, Rebels, Season 3.
The Pride had certainly done their homework on San Diego. San Diego had the second worst defensive record of the team among the top 6, coming into the game. As such the Pride did a great job of getting at them, and putting them under pressure.
The Pride moved the ball around well and tried to get on the front foot as often as possible; FlashScore recorded 129 attacks (entries into the opposing half) and 73 dangerous attacks (entries into the final third). Overall, the Pride had 52.4% of the play and had an overall pass success rate of 80.98%. There was nothing wrong with the possession game. They created 1 big chance and had 17 shots on goal (figure 1).
They did enough to win the game, but somehow managed to lose it.
Figure 1 shows the Pride's shooting statistics, whole 90.
Bad defending and even worse goalkeeping
"Why do I get the feeling you're going to be the death of me?" Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars Episode 2: Attack Of The Clones.
I'm sorry, but I think Anna Moorhouse needs some time out of the side. Her confidence looks shot. If we're not careful, sloppy goals could end up costing us a play-off spot.
The first goal is awful. I take no credit away from Abby Dahlkemper. It's a very good finish. But it's straight over and at Moorhouse. She needs to stick an arm up and tip that over (figure 2). She has enough time to set her feet and see that shot coming. No excuses.
Figure 2 is a timestamped YouTube video showing San Diego's first goal.
To be fair to Moorhouse, the defending is pretty poor. After Rafaelle Souza wins the initial header, Kerry Abello should get more pressure on the loose ball, but hesitates at the last second.
The ball should never come back in, and Moorhouse should save it when it does.
The second goal is even more frustrating (figure 3).
Figure 3 is a timestamped YouTube video showing San Diego's second goal.
A simple corner routine; Kyra Carusa isn't marked at all. It looks like Mariana Larroquette is meant to be picking her up, but Carusa shakes her and has a free header. The ball, however, is put into an area that Moorhouse should be commanding. There's no reason she shouldn't be bellowing 'keepers' and plucking that from the air. It's not played in with much pace and it's at a good height. She, instead, remains routed to her line and just stares at the ball as it sails past her and into the net. She made a couple of decent saves, but it's these fine margins that separate the winners and losers.
"I like to blow stuff up". Wrecker, Star Wars: The Bad Batch, season 1.
Adriana blew up San Diego's script with her well placed, close range header after some fabulous work from Marta on the right edge of the penalty area. Adriana looked lively all evening. She was 3/3 for shots on target and also did her share of defensive work, making 6 recoveries and winning 2 duels.
Orlando Pride head coach Seb Hines
"It is a strange one. I thought we did enough to win the game, but football doesn’t always work out like that. We have been in this situation before or I sat in this seat multiple times where we felt like we had done enough to win the game, it just hasn’t fallen our way. I think the first 20 minutes of the game, we were kind of passive. We changed that and had more intensity to our press, putting them under pressure and caused a lot of problems with turnovers and we got ourselves back into the game. It was a brilliant goal with Marta’s brilliance and a great finish from Adri[ana]. Second half we started fast and also put a lot of pressure on San Diego and then they punished us off a set piece and we just couldn’t get ourselves back in the game. Just fallen a bit short, but I am proud of the players and the effort they put into the game.”
Top player image and cover image courtesy of Orlando Pride.
Media availability footage and b-roll footage courtesy of Orlando Pride.