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Orlando Pride vs. Chicago Red Stars: Player Grades and Player of the Match

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With the 3-2 loss to Chicago on Sunday night, the Pride near the end of the first half of the season with just five points. However, taking a step back, we can see that six of the eight goals this season have been scored in the last three matches.

There is still a long way for the Pride to go, and the steps forward have felt like teeny-tiny baby steps, with this match in particular feeling that way. It was a frustrating match to watch as almost every player played with their back to the goal or their head down. Even against a Chicago team finding its way out of its own struggles, you can’t expect results to go your way playing like that.

Let’s get to it.

Starters

GK, Haley Kopmeyer, 6 — She wasn’t without her own gaffes in this one, but man, she couldn’t catch a break from her teammates on Sunday. The moments when she could, she put together several great saves, including the last minute hustle in the 94th, which I can’t stop rewatching.

D, Erin Greening, 5 — Erin had a pretty good game defensively, and a pretty atrocious game offensively in my opinion. She out-touched everyone on the field with 103 touches. She also had the second-lowest passing accuracy at 55%. (Only beating Danica Evans, who completed one of two passes.) So yeah, needless to say, the ball just never went anywhere on the right side of the pitch, really making it hard for the team to have more than one dimension.

D, Morgan Reid, 3.5 — Not a good one for Morgan. Several turnovers that directly impacted the match and led to the opening goal. She would eventually get subbed off in the 62nd minute. With more of the World Cup players coming back, I suspect she’ll get to take a step back and recalibrate to those first few promising performances.

D, Toni Pressley, 4.5 — Decent distribution with 90%, however, she had to get bailed out by Kopmeyer for a horrible back pass in the 51st minute that should have given Sam Kerr a hat trick a bit earlier. Defensively, her moments were mixed, she got turned around by one of the best out there — Kerr — and that led to Chicago’s final goal of the game. But hey, only five missed passes. More of that please, but preferably not in your own box.

D, Carson Pickett, 6 — A great save by Emily Boyd kept Carson from notching her first NWSL goal. A lot of missed runs plagued Carson’s game. Whether it was her doing the running, or her with her head down, the play along the left could have been a lot more threatening if it weren’t for that.

MF, Joanna Boyles, 5.5 — A pretty active shift for Boyles. She was third in touches with 65, second in passes with 53, and had a completion rate of 79.2%. To me, she just seemed a bit slower in this match compared to previous ones, and her tenacity is a big part of her game.

MF, Bridget Callahan, N/A — There’s not much to say for this one due to the injury in the 12th minute, so it wouldn’t be fair to give her a grade for such a short stint. She took to Twitter the following day to update everyone on her condition and appears to be in high spirits. She completed all four of her passes.

MF, Marisa Viggiano, 5 — The rookie sent very few balls forward, and I think that was a large portion of the problem on Sunday night. Not just her specifically of course, but her pass chart looks more like a sweeping defender’s — not the ideal look you want from your midfielder.

F, Rachel Hill, 5 — We saw only 30 touches from Hill. This is a callback to my assessment on Greening as well, but the ball just couldn’t ever get in a dangerous area on that right side, taking her out of the game for long periods. She put in a great cross in the 58th minute, and had solid moments defending, but the offense just seemed nonexistent at times.

F, Marta, 7 (PotM) — Marta was the only player on the field playing facing the goal, and moving the ball forward consistently. For that alone, she gets Player of the Match from me. Putting away the penalty kick is a cherry on top. She also helped set up the penalty with the pass of the night to spring Camila into the area. Her post-game comments show that her leadership knows no bounds.

F, Chioma Ubogagu, 6.5 — Chi pouncing on an Emily Boyd misplay kept the Pride from being completely out of the game. She showed great awareness and reaction on that play. A couple of tackles, a few fouls won, and a passing rate of 76.9%. Now, if she can just look up when moving forward.

Substitutes

MF, Camila (16’), 6 — It was the first long look we’ve gotten of Camila in what feels like forever. I thought she was good at putting herself in dangerous positions, and her earning the penalty in 79th minute really showed that.

MF, Abby Elinsky (62’), 4.5 — In 28 minutes played, Abby just didn’t have an impact at all. I think with just the style of players that Abby and Danica are, I would have preferred those two subs be swapped.

F, Danica Evans (81’), 6 — To add on to my comments from Abby’s grade, I think a player like Danica benefits more from time on the field, and if those two subs are swapped, you are getting more out of each player. She almost had a good moment from a Chi cross and had a decent header from a Marta free kick.


That’s it. This Saturday against the Washington Spirit will mark the halfway point for the season. With the internationals trickling back into the line-ups, we’ll probably start seeing less of some of these players. Who made an impression on you? Let me know, and of course, any other perspective you had on this one. Now vote on your favorite performance below!

Polling Closed

PlayerVotes
Haley Kopmeyer3
Carson Pickett2
Marta10
Chioma Ubogagu0
Other (comment below)1

Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride Sign Midfielder Kerry Abello to New Contract

The Pride have signed midfielder Kerry Abello to a new three-year contract.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride announced this afternoon that the club has signed midfielder Kerry Abello to a new three-year contract. The deal keeps Abello in purple through the 2026 NWSL season.

“We are thrilled to keep Kerry in Orlando through 2026. Since joining the club, she has proven to be a reliable and versatile player for our team,” Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter said in a club press release. “In a few short years, she has grown into a leader in our locker room and sets the standard for professionalism and accountability, two values we center our culture around. Ensuring she remains a part of what we are building here, both on and off the field, was a priority for us in the off-season. We are happy to bring that to fruition and look forward to her continued growth and performance.” 

Abello was initially drafted by the Pride with the 24th pick of the 2021 NWSL Draft, but decided to return to school for a fifth season. The club finally signed the Penn State product to a two-year contract on Jan. 28, 2022. The midfielder signed another two-year deal on Feb. 23, 2023, with a club option for 2025. Just over a year later, she’s now inked a third contract, ensuring her stay in Orlando will run through 2026.

Initially coming off the bench, Abello became a regular starter late in her rookie season. Over the past three years, she’s seen time at attacking and defensive midfield, showing her versatility. In total, Abello has made 49 appearances (31 starts) in all competitions and recorded 2,835 minutes. She’s scored one goal and contributed one assist.

Last year, the 24-year-old midfielder made 25 appearances (18 starts), recording 1,642 minutes, and adding a goal and an assist. She participated in all but two league games and five of the team’s six Challenge Cup contests.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there is truly no place I’d rather be. Thank you, Orlando, for having me for the next three years,” Abello said in a club press release. “I’m feeling full of joy, gratitude, and inspiration. There’s work to be done, and I can’t wait to put my whole heart into this season and all the rest. Vamos!”

The Batavia, IL, native was a part of the United States youth set up at the U-14, U-15, U-17, U-18, and U-19 levels. She received a call up to the U-23 U.S. Women’s National Team for the 2022 Women’s U-23 Three-Nations Tournament, scoring in a 3-0 win over Sweden.

Prior to being drafted by the Pride, Abello was a three-time All-Big Ten selection, helping Penn State win three Big Ten championships. She was also named to the All-North Team twice in her five collegiate seasons.

What It Means for Orlando

Similar to her last contract, this deal ensures that Abello will continue her stay in Orlando beyond the upcoming season. She originally started on the bench under former Pride head coach Amanda Cromwell, but won over Seb Hines with her versatility in the midfield. During her first two professional season, she’s played extensively at attacking and defensive midfield. However, she can also play on the back line, having been a center back in college.

Following the 2023 NWSL season, Carter told The Mane Land’s Skopurp Soccer podcast that the club focused on the back line last off-season and was focusing on the midfield this off-season. Signing Abello, who has been a crucial part of the club’s rebuild, was always going to be part of that plan.

Between the re-signing of Abello and the new additions to the team, the midfield has more depth than before. Abello’s presence could be crucial, because the midfield’s Brazilian internationals will likely miss time due to international call-ups. Abello can fill in multiple positions, ensuring there won’t be a significant drop-off when the internationals depart.

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Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride Unveil New Kits Ahead of 2024 NWSL Season

The Pride take part in the NWSL kit reset with new primary and secondary jerseys for the 2024 season.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride unveiled their two new kits today ahead of the 2024 NWSL season. The jerseys are part of the league-wide kit reset, launched by the NWSL and Nike. The club’s new Phoenix Kit features the Pride’s two recognizable colors, purple and blue, and the secondary Citrus Kit has an all-new color scheme, paying tribute to Florida’s citrus industry. Both jerseys will be formally unveiled on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at “The Kit Party presented by Orlando Health,” taking place at the Orlando Regional History Center.

Replicas of the two new jerseys are available for purchase at ShopOrlandoPride.com, in The Den at Inter&Co Stadium during regular business hours, and on NWSLshop.com. Replica goalkeeper jerseys will also be made available during a late spring release.

“We are proud to share two new, powerful kits with our fans and honored that we are again able to share the story of one of the pillars of our community and the state of Florida,” Pride Chief Marketing Officer Pedro Araujo said in a club press release. “Each year, it is important for us to use our platform to celebrate those that laid the foundation for our city, and this year is no different. We hope our fans are as excited to wear the Citrus Kit and the Phoenix Kit as we are, and to proudly represent Orlando both at home and outside of Central Florida. This new partnership with Nike is a very exciting moment for the league. We’re grateful for their continued support of the Orlando Pride and the NWSL as a whole and are excited for the future opportunities this new, refreshed commitment will bring to our kits and team performance gear.”

The Citrus Kit features a new orange and iced-out green scheme, a first for the Pride, with inspiration taken from Central Florida’s citrus industry. The jersey features oranges and leaves, with letters and numbers featuring the same iced-out green coloring. The design of the kit takes direct inspiration from the historic packaging of citrus crates and labels, unique to each grove. The back of the socks features a hand-drawn “Pride,” which is also inspired by the labels. Meanwhile, the “Outer Pride” on the lower corner of the jersey is a stylized “OP” with an orange cross-section and orange blossom leaves and flowers.

The primary home jersey this season will be the new Phoenix Kit, which is more recognizable to fans. The jersey features the club’s traditional colors of purple with blue letters and numbers. The jersey features a unique two-toned purple gradient that runs diagonally from the top right to the bottom left of the jersey. The club’s shirt sponsor, Orlando Health, remains in white, but the letters, numbers, and Nike logo on the darker purple are the team’s second color, “Eola Blue.”

The new kits are part of the NWSL’s league-wide kit reset, the first time a women’s professional soccer league has presented refreshed primary and secondary uniforms for all of its teams. Each club is receiving jerseys that reflect the club’s identity and joyful expression and celebrate the team’s community.

The Pride’s unveiling has been in cooperation with Hollieanna Groves, a local and family-owned grower, harvester, packer, and shipper of Florida citrus. The Maitland-based company is a fourth-generation packing house and sales room, providing the backdrop for one of the club’s kit photo shoots.

Here are some photos of the Pride’s newest kits courtesy of the Pride:

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Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride Place Megan Montefusco on Season-Ending Injury List

The Orlando Pride have placed center back Megan Montefusco on the season-ending injury list following surgery on her right foot.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride announced this afternoon that center back Megan Montefusco has been placed on the season-ending injury list. The defender had off-season right foot surgery, performed by the club’s official medical team, to repair a long-term problem.

“This is an unfortunate situation for Megan, though we’re happy she was able to address an issue that has plagued her for some time, and we are confident she will come out of this a stronger athlete,” Orlando Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter said in a club press release. “Our club is fully behind her and will support her throughout her rehab process, as will our amazing partners at Orlando Health. Our goal is to help Megan get back on the field as safely and smartly as possible, and we are behind her every step of the way. We look forward to seeing her back out on the pitch as soon as she is ready.”

The Pride originally acquired the defender in a trade with the Houston Dash on Jan. 28, 2022 that saw Marisa Viggiano go the other way. She was a regular starter at center back that year and through most of 2023, but lost the starting position when the club signed Brazilian international Rafaelle. Montefusco has made 45 appearances (42 starts) for 3,773 minutes in all competitions over her two seasons in Orlando, scoring one goal.

The 31 year-old signed a new contract with the Pride on June 15, 2023 through the 2024 season with an option for 2025. As one of the team’s main representatives alongside fellow center back Carrie Lawrence, Montefusco appeared at Orlando City’s preseason game against the New England Revolution, signing autographs and taking part in a question-and-answer session while wearing a walking boot.

What It Means for Orlando

This news is a bit of a blow to Orlando’s depth on the back line. Montefusco was the first center back off the bench late last year and was expected to have the same role this year. However, her absence will make room for Lawrence, who missed the 2023 season after suffering a torn ACL during preseason, and Tori Hansen, who is currently on loan with Melbourne Victory FC in Australia. The duo will now compete for the third center back spot unless the club replaces Montefusco with another veteran, as the NWSL transfer window remains open.

This injury could also open up a spot for the Pride to sign 2024 second-round NWSL Draft pick Cori Dyke, who the club took at No. 22 overall out of Penn State. Dyke has experience at center back in college. She played as a central midfielder for the first four years in college, but moved to center back for her final season. Despite moving to the back line, the 2023 season was her most productive offensively, as she recorded five goals and six assists.

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