The Orlando Pride announced a surprise addition on Oct. 7 when the team announced it had re-signed Australian international midfielder Emily van Egmond for the remainder of the 2021 season. The signing had been completed during the transfer window but was announced later and it seemed uncertain if the Australian would get all of the proper paperwork through and get cleared to play in time to help Orlando in its playoff quest.
It almost didn’t happen, with van Egmond only becoming eligible to play for the final couple of matches of the season. Here is a look at her brief return to the club in 2021 after her stint at West Ham United.
After gaining eligibility, van Egmond appeared in only two matches in 2021 — the last road game at Racing Louisville on Oct. 16 and the season finale at home against the Chicago Red Stars on Oct. 29. She came off the bench for both games and played only a total of 59 minutes. The 28-year-old was not involved in a goal and attempted just one shot, which went wide of the target. Van Egmond completed 42 of 53 passes (79.2%). She conceded one foul but did not receive a card in her brief time on the pitch with the Pride.
As with some of the other players who didn’t see the pitch much, there isn’t much to choose from. Since she played an entire 45-minute half against Chicago, rather than just 14 minutes at Louisville, we’ll go with the match against the Red Stars in the final game of the year. Although she didn’t have a shot or contribute to a goal in the 1-0 loss, she at least was able to get on the ball. Van Egmond finished that match with 43 touches, which was nearly one touch per minute on the pitch, and good enough for eighth on the Pride that day. Five of the seven Pride players who finished with more touches in the match played the full 90 minutes, with the other two playing 59 and 69 minutes. She was at least able to be involved against the Red Stars, and she was tied for the team’s fourth most accurate passer on the day (tied for second among non-defenders behind Marisa Viggiano (86.7%) and even with Jodie Taylor at 84.2%).
2021 Final Grade
With just 59 minutes on the pitch, van Egmond doesn’t qualify under the minimum requirements for a season grade and gets an incomplete grade from The Mane Land staff. The Pride could no doubt have used a player with her quality over the course of the season but had to settle for a couple of late-season appearances.
There’s no telling whether van Egmond is in the Pride’s future plans at this point. Most of the league’s Australian internationals have gone to play in Europe, which is where van Egmond was before failing to reach a new deal with West Ham. Her contract was only through the end of 2021, so a new deal will need to be reached if she is going to continue in Orlando, and she’ll likely have other options. In her first stint with the Pride, van Egmond wasn’t as effective as expected and contributed little to the team’s attack from a statistical standpoint, but there were issues on those teams that may have impacted her game. She has proven herself to be a valuable player for the Matildas and at West Ham, but whether the Pride technical staff are willing to bring her back remains to be seen.