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  • Writer's pictureDan Berridge

Analysis: San Diego Wave (h). Yates On Target As Unbeaten Start Continues For The Pride.

Summer is definitely my favourite time of year.


Whilst we might not quite be there seasonally summer arrived at the perfect time for the Pride on Friday evening.


Yates' ability has never been in question, but she's really coming to the fore and blossoming in a team that is awash with attacking talent. She was excellent in this game, taking her well timed run and finish for the goal, she was everywhere.



This has to be the year the Pride break their play-off duck. It has to be, right? This is arguably the strongest roster in the NWSL. But then we said that about The Last Jedi, so who knows.


This was another accomplished performance from the Pride, who were solid at the back and positive in possession. They looked every inch a team that is capable of challenging at the right end of the NWSL table this season.

The goals aren't flowing yet, but that will come with time. The Pride plundered 20 shots on goal and created 6 big chances. Some better finishing and it could have been a long evening for San Diego.


Pride in possession


This was another accomplished performance in terms of the Pride's ability to look after the ball. Possession is something the Pride have often struggled with in the past. Whilst Orlando only had 46% of the play overall, they were progressive and accurate during transition moments, completing 84% of their 437 passes, culminating in 83 dangerous attacks (figure 1).


Whilst San Diego played more passes and had more possession, it was all in their defensive and middle thirds. They carried no real attacking threat throughout the game. Orlando were much more positive and incisive. If you compare the number of key passes and crosses made, between the two teams (figures 2 & 3), they're night and day. This was a dominant performance by the Pride. Although, if I'm being honest, the margin of victory should have been comfier.


The Pride just look a more confident outfit generally. We saw players willing to take people on and have a go.


I do think somebody is going to get a bit of a hiding from this Orlando team, I really do.


Figure 1 shows the overall statistics for Orlando (left) and San Diego.

Figure 2 shows the number and positioning of key passes (yellow) and successful (green)/unsuccessful (red) crosses played by the Pride.


Figure 3 shows the number and positioning of key passes (yellow) and successful (green)/unsuccessful (red) crosses played by the Wave.


Orlando are defensively compact


The worry, when you dominate a game so much and don't convert, is that you end up letting it slip. San Diego didn't offer much going forward, which wasn't helped by the injury to former Pride forward Alex Morgan, but Orlando didn't offer them a whole lot of space. Nevertheless, the Pride attack failed to kill the game off.


All that being said, on the few occasions San Diego got into threatening areas, Orlando weren't afraid to get bodies in the way. And they were well positioned to do, thanks to their excellent defensive shape (figure 4). Their good positioning allowed them the chance to make those blocks. Overall Orlando made 2 blocks, 12 clearances and 4 interceptions. They defended well as a unit and never really looked like giving up a goal, aside from the Morgan chance. Luckily Anna Moorhouse was up to the task and smothered that effort.


Figure 4 shows a game still from the second half.


Top player


Summer Yates



Yates had one of her best games in Pride jersey, which was underlined by her game winning goal. Yates created 5 chances in the game, took 4 shots, made 4 successful dribbles, 5 passes into the final third. She was absolutely everywhere and her game winning goal was richly deserved.


Player ratings


Starting XI


Moorhouse -7- Did what she needed to do.


Martinez -8- Looked really comfortable.

Sams -7- Led the line well.

Strom -7- Looked comfortable.

Abello -8- Got up and down well.


Angelina -8- Didn't put a foot wrong.

McCutcheon -7- Showed her versatility.


Doyle -7- Looked lively.

Marta -7- Gelled things together well.

Yates -9- Quality display.


Watt -8- Willing runner.


Substitutes


Adriana -7- Energetic.

Banda -6- Great to see her get a run out.

Rafaelle -6- Helped shore things up.

Lemos -6- Provided fresh energy.


Reaction


Orlando Pride head coach Seb Hines


"It is a good feeling, shout out to the fans because they were terrific all throughout the game. It is important that we continue to bring more fans to the stadium. You can really hear them out there, they’re the 12th player, even toward the end helping us get over that line. Overall, with the performance I’m really pleased with the players, the work and dedication they put in, everyone playing their role. I felt that we dominated from start to finish. San Diego had a lot of passes around the back but it’s fine for us because it opens the door for us to be lethal in transition. It would have been nice to get a couple more goals, but it wasn’t meant to be. We will continue to work in that area, so we are not just one - nil toward the end of the game.”  




*All statistics courtesy of Fotmob and FlashScore

Top player image and cover image courtesy of Orlando Pride.

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

Game stills courtesy of NWSL/Amazon Prime.


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