The Pride dropped their eleventh match of the season last night in Houston and failed to get the season sweep against the home side. The Pride are now out of playoff contention, with only 9 points available for the rest of the season and the team 10 points behind the fourth-place Chicago Red Stars. The Pride gave up four goals, matching their high for the season, and they also had two players having to leave the match with injury: Sarah Hagen in the 43rd minute after a hard challenge, and Becky Edwards early in stoppage time of the second half, after the Pride had already used all three of their permitted substitutions, and it put the team down to 10 players for the remainder of the match.
- Kristen Edmonds - Kristen was involved in both goals last night; registering an assist on the goal scored by Captain Alex Morgan in the 80th, and scoring a goal of her own in the 87th. For my money, Edmonds has shown me she is strongly deserving of consideration for team MVP for the season in terms of anyone who does not play in goal.
- Defensive Struggles - The Pride gave up 21 shots and 10 corner kicks to the Dash, with 12 of those being on target. Errant passes generated counter-attack opportunities, and missed assignments in marking opposing players left wide-open scoring chances.
- Players Leaving with Injury - Sarah Hagen appeared to take a knock to the head in the 40th minute from Houston's Morgan Brian. She fell to the turf and took a little time to stand, and once she was standing she was attended to by the training staff. She had to leave the match in the 43rd minute, as soon as Maddy Evans was able to come on in relief. Then in the 90th minute, Becky Edwards suffered an injury from friendly fire, as it were. Edwards raced across the top of the defensive 18-yard box as it appeared Cami Levin was chasing after the ball to turn it back out of the danger area. Both players were focused on the ball and did not appear to notice each other until the last moment, when Levin tried to pull up, but still collided with Edwards at the high point of her leap. Edwards went down to the turf hard and was unable to continue. That play seemed to kill the momentum for the team in trying to get back into the match, and it just seems to be emblematic of the worst struggles the team has had in this expansion season. All the players are talented and they all play hard, but international breaks, injuries, and the chaos of local events off the pitch in Orlando have just conspired to keep the team from synchronizing like gears in a well-oiled machine.
- Record-tying Save Total - Ashlyn Harris had 8 saves on the night, tying her total for the season. I feel like both our MLS and NWSL sides have been anchored by great play in goal all season, and neither Joe Bendik nor Ashlyn Harris have received the level of defensive support and attacking consistency to give them the kind of win total they deserve.
What about you? What were your thoughts on the match? Whom do you think deserves consideration for MVP for the team this season, aside from Ashlyn Harris in goal? Let me know in the comments below!