Analysis: Washington Spirit (a). The Pride Grind Out Another Clean Sheet.
Well, it probably wasn't the most memorable of games was it? Honestly, though, with the way this season has panned out, I'm OK with that. It's another game unbeaten and another clean sheet following on from last week's shutout vs Houston. That will give the team a huge confidence boost from a defensive point of view.
I was particularly impressed with the Pride's organisation and defensive structure in this game. I'm a little disappointed we didn't win the game, we just lacked a little cutting edge on the counter attack. We just needed to be a little more decisive at times, but that will come with time. For right now, Orlando look a lot more solid and they're not a million miles away from the play-offs; the Pride sit 4 points below the line, as we pass over the halfway point of the season.
Another clean sheet
The keeping of another clean sheet is something that cannot be underestimated as far as the Pride is concerned. To say their defence has been porous, would be underselling it somewhat. As a collective, the back-line all played well. Kylie Strom and Celia both had strong games in the full-back positions. Whilst Megan Montefusco and Toni Pressley dealt with things well in the centre.
I think, at this stage of the season, with everything that's happened with the Pride, we have to acknowledge these small victories. If you look at the image in figure 1, you'll see what I mean regarding the shape. In this instance, the Spirit do get a shot off, but it's an effort from distance. Albeit one that was goal bound until Erin McLeod's timely intervention. But that won't always happen. The point is they all did well to get goal side and prevent a clear opening.
You see the same in figures 2 and 3, the Pride have a very aesthetically pleasing defensive line, with the midfield double pivot sat right in front of them. There's precious little space for Washington to work in, which severely limited their ability to create clear cut goal scoring opportunities. Washington had 11 shots in the Pride box, but 3 were charged down and not many were clear opportunities.
Figure 1 is a game still from the second half.
Figure 2 is a game still from the second half.
Figure 3 is a game still from the first half.
Seb Hines got a little upset during the second half, and took his angst out on the Audi Field bench... An offence that earned him a yellow card. At first I thought, 'woah, that's tight'. I'm not sure about that. Then I went back and watched it. Again. And again. I can only assume the flag is for the pass into Doyle... But yeah, not offside (figures 4 & 5). Horrific decision. It can't be for the pass to Tymrak, mainly because it's clearly onside; see figure 6 (not that, that seems to matter). Also, the lines person is supposed to wait to put the flag up, but it goes up immediately after the ball to Tymrak.
Figure 4 is a game still from the second half.
Figure 5 is a game still from one second after figure 4.
Figure 6 is a game still from 4 seconds after figure 4.
Listro's form, for me, is a big part of Orlando's recent recovery. She maintains possession, and her combative nature means she is able to break up opposition attacks well. Listro completed 85% of her 33 passes, won all 4 of her tackles, 6 recoveries and completed 1 interception. Listro was 2/2 on completed dribbles and completed 3 of 4 long balls. She anchors the midfield brilliantly and also gives greater license to the likes of Erika Tymrak to get forward.
McLeod -7- Made some vital saves and commanded the area well.
Strom -7- Defended well 1 v 1.
Pressley -7- Distributed the ball well.
Montefusco -7- Communicated effectively and ensured everyone knew their role.
Celia -7- Looks more and more comfortable out there.
Listro -8- So important to this team.
Villacorta -7- Such a likeable and popular character, glad to see her doing well.
Dougherty-Howard -7- Solid link between midfield and attack.
Abello -7- Offers a lot on both the defensive and offensive side of the play.
Tymrak -7- Was very lively.
Jenkins -6- Not her best game, should've had a goal early on.
Doyle -6- Offered some fresh legs in attack.
Petersen -6- Struggled to get into the game.
Cluff -6- Came in very late.
Kim -7- Some really positive runs. Could've won the game late on.
Acting Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines:
“Tough game today. Washington caused a lot of problems. Some of their tactics and styles of play…they tried to pin our wingers back and they were more direct than I’ve ever seen them. So we had to be switched on at the back. I thought we dealt with the first ball really well but then it was anticipating the second balls and I thought it was something that we addressed at halftime. And then can we pick up more second balls and be more directional with our first contact to find a pass? But, I’m very happy with the result. We’ve grown over the last couple of games. This is another clean sheet so we’ll take a positive with that and, you know what, it’s fine margins. We could have gone a couple of goals up in the first half. We’ll review it and we’ll move on and prepare for Kansas.”
*All statistics courtesy of fotmob.com
Top player image and cover image courtesy of Orlando Pride.
Post match media availability footage courtesy of Orlando Pride.