The Orlando Pride are in the midst of one of the longest winless streaks in NWSL history after falling to the North Carolina Courage on Saturday night, 3-0, pushing the streak to 14 consecutive games without a victory.
The Pride are sitting on just one point through their first eight games now with a goal differential of -16, but head coach Marc Skinner is nowhere near close to giving up confidence in his young, imperfect roster.
“I think if you watch the game and see what the truth is in the matter, we’ve competed with the champions for 60 minutes and then the mistake and all of a sudden, they [we] have to attack from deep because they [North Carolina] can counterattack us because we need to go and get a goal,” Skinner said after the match. “And if you open up against them, they’ve got the players that can just hurt you on the counterattack.
“I think that up until that point I was really proud of the girls and the effort they put in. It’s just always going to be a matter of quality and that’s the thing that has to improve. I’m pleased with them and what they give for the shirt, but there’s a quality issue, both boxes need work and that’s what we’re here to do.”
It’s been a rough go of things this season for the Pride, which will go on a two-week break now for the start of the Women’s World Cup in France this weekend.
The Pride held the defending league champions scoreless through just about the first hour of the match until mistakes piled up and cost them in the end. Skinner, who’s come to be known as a passionate speaker at the microphone in his postgame press conferences, continues to preach a belief in his players, pointing to the tactical executions, but understanding it’s the little mistakes hurting the team most.
“To be honest with you, it wasn’t even about, tactically we were fine tonight, we were fine,” he said. “We forced them down the outside, they were kicking it off the field. They had very little to do in the goal until a point then where they can counterattack on us. Tactically they were fine, the girls understand what we’re asking them to do and they were trying. It’s just when they make individual mistakes, then it kind of kills what we’re trying to do.”
Skinner has brought a passion to the club that is not often seen, and telling the fans he’s far from done trying to build this club into what he sees it can be.
“I’ll keep working and I’ll keep working and when it works you’ll go through all of this that we have to face now and guys, I’m not going anywhere. I don’t give up on anything and my players won’t ever give up on anything,” Skinner said. “I’m going to make sure that this team is something that you can be proud of and for the first time in this Club’s history is thinking about the longevity of the Club rather than a smash, bang, let’s grab something and run and that’s what we’re going to do.
“We’re going to give them a youth team, we’re going to give the players that want to play for this Club and want to die for this Club and that’s my job and I’m not going anywhere until that’s completed.”
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