Analysis: Washington Spirit (a). Heavy Rotation As Pride Go Down Fighting On The Road.
The Pride made a host changes to the line-up that bested Racing Louisville at the weekend, whilst the Spirit also rotated heavily. So it's difficult to put too much stock into the result, as the NWSL Challenge Cup doesn't seem like a priority for either club.
Still, there were lots of positives to take from the performance, as the Pride bizarre lost out to a series of long range screamers.
Having taken the lead through an excellent close-range, back-heel finish from the impressive Tori Hansen off of an excellently delivered Thais Reiss corner, the Pride settled into a groove for the opening 30 minutes. The passed the ball around confidently and generally looked fairly comfortable.
Then the goals came.
The first goal was unfortunate, the ball was bouncing around and then it's an excellent finish from Lena Silano. The second is just a golazzo from Sam Staab and then the third is what I'd call a 'worldie' from Chloe Ricketts.
The goals, understandably, took the wind out of Orlando's sails and they struggled to maintain meaningful possession thereon in. Ally Watt's well taken goal gave them hope, but it was just an unfortunate day at the office. One which was perhaps summed up with the 4th, when Ashley Sanchez pounced on a flat clearance from Kaylie Collins, who otherwise looked solid. There was nothing she could do about the first 3, there aren't too many 'keepers in the world who would save those shots.
It was a bit of a tricky game for Yates, as she came in at a time where Washington were getting on top and Orlando's control of the game was severely diminished. Her numbers aren't overly impressive out of context; 44.4% passing accuracy and 25 touches, but she certainly passed the eye test. She made a great play for Ally Watt's goal (figure 1) tenaciously winning possession before hitting a perfect chipped pass into Watt's path. It was a pitching wedge pass, weighted just perfectly.
Yates has been really impressive whenever I have seen her come on. She plays with tenacity and likes to drift between the lines. We've only seen her in brief glimpses so far, but I can't imagine she's too far away from a more prominent first team role. She looks to be a real talent.
Figure 1 shows Ally Watt's goal.
A reasonable full debut for Brianna Martinez
Having made a brief cameo in league play just recently, it was good to see the defender make her full debut for the Pride. Overall she won 5 tackles, drew 5 fouls and took 1 shot (figure 2). The flip side is that she only completed 45% of her 40 passes. I would caveat that, however, by pointing out how many forward passes and passes in advanced areas she played (figure 3). Those passes are generally more risky.
I liked that she was looking to get forward a lot; she'll have to learn when and when not to go, but that's something that develops with time. She made a number of defensive actions in the left-back slot (figure 4), and generally acquitted herself very well.
It'll be difficult for her to dislodge Kylie Strom, but it was good to see her in action nonetheless.
Figure 2 shows Martinez's overall statistics.
Figure 3 shows Martinez's pass positioning matrix, whole 90.
Figure 4 shows Martinez's clearance (🔵) and tackle (🟢) positioning matrix, whole 90.
Ally Watt ran the line well, and helped herself to a goal on what was otherwise a frustrating game for her. After the Spirit took control of the game, Watt was starved of service. Regardless, she ran the line well and worked hard throughout the game. Showed her class with the goal, latching onto that clever pass from Yates and cracking a low drive into the corner of the net.
Collins -7- Not much she could do about the goals, commanded her area and claimed crosses well.
Celia -6- Looked a little rusty, but that's not unexpected.
Hansen -7- Clever finish for the goal.
Cosme -6- Is developing nicely.
Martinez -7- Encouraging debut.
Listro -7- Put herself about well in midfield.
Abello -7- Had the captain's armband, which shows how well she is thought of.
Bugeja -6- Struggled to get into the game.
Reiss -6- Showed glimpses.
Amanda Allen -6- Good to see her get the start.
Watt -7- Ran the line well.
Tymrak -6- Couldn't really get into the game.
Yates -7- Positive impact.
Bright -6- Game was gone when she came in.
Morris -6- Good to see her get on.
Orlando Pride head coach Seb Hines
"Disappointed, you never want to lose a game by [allowing] four goals. It’s a hard one because we took a lead, Tori [Hansen] scored a terrific goal, and you go one-nil up early in the game. You’re looking for the team to manage it from that moment and I don’t think we did; I don’t think we managed the game too well. I think we showed a little bit of naivety within the team and we allowed them to get back into it. The goals, I’m disappointed, I don’t know how many goals they’ll score like that in the season let alone in one game. But we have to learn from it, we had a really young team [tonight], a team that hadn’t played together [before]. Again, we use every game as a learning moment for us so we’ll review it and ultimately be better come the next game.”
*All statistics courtesy of nwslsoccer.com
Game footage courtesy of CBS Sports/NWSL.
Top player image and cover image courtesy of Orlando Pride.
Media availability and B-Roll footage courtesy of Orlando Pride.