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Orlando Pride coach Marc Skinner pleased to see team improve, embrace his style of play

Orlando Pride forward Marta dribbled the ball up the pitch on April 17, 2019 in Cary, N.C. (Mitchell Northam, Pro Soccer USA)
Orlando Pride forward Marta dribbled the ball up the pitch on April 17, 2019 in Cary, N.C. (Mitchell Northam, Pro Soccer USA)

Orlando Pride coach Marc Skinner wanted to switch things up a bit Sunday against Reign FC.

Skinner has been adamant in saying the Pride will have a specific style of play with him at the helm, but that style is more based in concepts, rather than a formation.

The Pride’s 1-1 draw with the Reign was an improvement performance-wise over what the team managed in a 5-0 loss to the North Carolina Courage last week, Skinner said. 

“You saw a little bit more flair in the attacking third,” Skinner told Pro Soccer USA. “Not less risks, but you know when you play out of the back all of the time the opposition get used to pressing that and then they stay in your half? Well, you’ve got to mix it up.

“That’s what I’m trying to educate the girls on. If we can mix it up, then the teams will never know what we’re doing, and we’ll have more control of the game. It was a little glimpse more of what we’re doing.”

Skinner does want the Pride to possess the ball. The Courage forced the Pride into turnovers in their own half in order to pounce on the Pride early. Courage coach Paul Riley said he likes what Skinner is trying to do, but there must be room for flexibility.

“It’s great, you’ve got to be able to do both, too,” he said. “You can’t get a possession all the time. You’ve got to be able to penetrate with it.

Riley praised Brazilian star Marta’s play during the first 45 minutes of the Pride’s match against the Courage and said overall, the Pride’s first half was solid. The Courage scored four goals against the Pride in the second half.

“You got to have various ways to play in this league,” he said. “You can’t just play one way in this league. It’s too athletic. It’s too fast. We picked off a couple of them going back into pressure tonight. It looked like they got out and then they played backwards and for a team like us, man, when they play backwards, that’s, the alarms go off and we start running and we chase them like they’ve never been chased. We did that second half.”

Riley also complimented the Pride.

“I liked Orlando,” he said. “I think they’re good. People are going to write them off, but I don’t think you can write this team off. I think [they’ve got] a lot of talent in the team and as long as they can stick together, I think they’re going to be pretty good.”

The Pride (0-2-1, 1 point) host the Utah Royals (1-0-0, 3 points) at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. 

Monica signs with Corinthians

Brazilian centerback Monica, who spent the majority of preseason training with the Orlando Pride, has signed a deal with Brazilian side Sport Club Corinthians Paulista. Corinthians announced the signing via its Twitter page.

Monica announced during the offseason she wouldn’t be returning to the Pride, but it raised some questions among fans when she participated in preseason training and played during the Pride’s preseason friendly against USF.

Skinner said the team looked into bringing Monica back, but that as of April 3, she wasn’t in the team’s plans.

Goal of the Week

Australian centerback Alanna Kennedy’s bicycle kick to open the scoring of the Pride’s 1-1 draw against Reign FC earned more national recognition on Tuesday. The goal was voted the NWSL’s Goal of the Week. It was also featured at No. 7 on SportsCenter’s Top 10.  

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