Going into our second meeting against North Carolina, I thought for sure the Pride would give up five or more goals again in the absence of some “key” players. It’s not that I think those players are vastly better than, have more drive or are more committed to victory than the rest of the team but rather thought they would have a larger impact on morale.
I’m starting to think maybe it’s just the opposite and Marc (after game 1) wasn’t fully disclosing some Yoda like instincts during the press conference after the loss to Portland. When asked during the Portland post game conference “what needs to change in order to get that final ball in” Marc responded (in part) by saying “We have good players what we need is a whole team that can provide for each other”. Seems like a perfectly normal thing to say regarding getting a “team” to work together. Hindsight however paints a slightly different picture. I didn’t give it much credence at the time but a confidential source had referenced some internal conflict on the team after that match. I never could dig up specifics on that statement as they didn’t want to disclose more detail nor go on the record so that was a non-story.
Fast forward to Pride vs Courage without the “star” players and you see they only gave up three goals, NONE of which were in the first half. Could it be that conflict had something to do with the team thinking (and maybe even Marc feeling) some stars were fading. Much talk of “mixing” things up and developing a new team has occurred during these pressers so are we about to see Marc try and move the spotlight off some individuals and finally have some recognition, responsibility and credit go to the other super talented ladies on this team… I think that’s exactly what is happening.
Saturday night, when asked about the plan going forward due to the players on “hiatus” for World Cup, Head Coach Marc Skinner responded by saying “We’ve obviously signed Claire Emslie that’s part of / a brick in the wall for the future vision. It’s a future idea about what we need” … Skinner went on to say “this team will not be the same team. I’ve told you that, it’s just very frustrating with the way / the what we were left, I’ll leave it at that.” Take a listen for yourself, in the video attached below.
I must say, I may have pegged Marc wrong based on the first few losses and his reaction to those defeats in his post game comments. Tonight, I saw a whole new Marc Skinner, a guy which just might be willing to move away from the glitz of a swimsuit model which has been trespassed from a local attraction to focus more on real gritty talent willing to give everything for this badge and a super high functioning TEAM. I love when someone is willing to go against the status quo and shake things up and if that’s what Marc is doing, I can’t wait to see his vision come to life.