Lindsey Horan, who is on loan from Portland Thorns FC, today made her Olympique Lyonnais debut. Horan came on as a substitute, making her first Division 1 Feminine appearance since 15 Dec. 2015, when she played her last match for Paris Saint-Germain.
Horan came on in less than ideal circumstances. She replaced Janice Cayman in the 58th minute. Two minutes earlier, Eugenie Le Sommer was shown a second yellow card and was sent off, reducing Lyon to 10 players. Lyon was one goal to the good thanks to a Melvine Malard strike but needed to see out a slim lead while playing down a player for over 30 minutes as Bordeaux pushed for an equalizer.
Despite the circumstances in which Horan made her debut, she showed glimpses of what she can bring to the seven-time European champions, especially in the absence of injured midfielders Amandine Henry, Damaris Egurrola, Danielle van de Donk, and Amel Majri.
Horan came on and made an instant impact on Sonia Bompastor’s side. She immediately got involved, receiving the ball in the center of the pitch from Delphine Cascarino, who drifted inward.
Horan turned to avoid pressure and played the ball back to Wendie Renard. The center back swung it to Perle Morroni. She returned it to Horan, who made herself an easy option for Morroni. Horan surveyed the field before playing an incisive pass to Cascarino.
Cascarino played the ball back to Morroni and the left back gave it to Horan again. Horan linked with Renard, who played it to Cascarino. The attacker received with her back to goal as Horan made a forward run. Cascarino played it to Horan, who played it into fellow USWNT teammate Catarina Macario.
Lyon went down the left and recycled it to Horan. The Thorns loanee swung it centrally and Lyon tried to go down the right. Horan then drifted to the right to offer as an option and helped create a numerical advantage.
Horan got the ball back from Ellie Carpenter and hit a penetrative first-time ball to Macario. The move culminated in Macario feeding Cascarino, who struck the ball into the side netting.
The attack didn’t result in a goal but it demonstrated how influential Horan can be in stitching passes together and dictating the flow of play. She also displayed her ability to play multiple different types of progressive passes and showed a great understanding of how to link up and move off of the Lyon players despite only signing for the club recently. These relationships are bound to improve with time and Horan and Lyon will obviously benefit from having an equal number of players on the pitch in future games.
Horan also made a positive impact deeper in possession and demonstrated a good understanding of how to play with Lyon star Ada Hegerberg, who came on in the 63rd minute for Cascarino.
Horan showed great vision to receive and then recognize Hegerberg’s movement before making an entry pass to the Norwegian striker. Hegerberg was then able to quickly switch the point of attack and found Morroni in space on the left.
The Thorns loanee was also able to play out of pressure well. Horan was surrounded by three defenders and calmly brought the ball down off her chest before spraying what would have been a delightful cross-field pass wide if the referee hadn’t made an intervention.
Horan also got forward and further showed her understanding of Hegerberg’s tendencies. As Hegerberg drops and pulls her defender forward, Horan makes a run that exploits the space vacated behind the defender Hegerberg dragged out of position.
Overall, Horan put in a solid first showing for Lyon especially considering Lyon played the entirety of her substitute performance down a player. Horan was still able to play an influential role in build-up and has already developed chemistry with Lyon’s integral players like Hegerberg.
Horan registered one shot on target via a header, made one recovery, one tackle, won a foul and completed 11 of her 12 passes in just over 30 minutes of action.
Lindsey Horan has always been a player who excels in a more European-style system in which she is able to get on the ball often. She enjoys dictating the tempo and playing intricate passes — all of which she will have ample opportunity to do for Lyon. It was only a 30-minute substitute appearance but Bompastor has to be pleased with how quickly Horan slotted into the team and made a positive impact. The Thorns loanee will be called upon heavily as Olympique Lyonnais look to reclaim the French league title and the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
Horan and Lyon are back in action on Friday, February 11 against ASJ Soyaux-Charente. Kickoff is slated for 12 p.m. PT and can be streamed at atafootball.com.