Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride Midfielder Viviana Villacorta Placed on Season-Ending Injury List



The Orlando Pride announced this afternoon that midfielder Viviana Villacorta has undergone surgery on her left ankle and will miss the remainder of the 2022 NWSL season. The 23-year-old suffered ligament damage to the ankle, resulting in the club placing her on the Season-Ending Injury list.

“Viv has had such a strong rookie season and has been an important part of our midfield, so we’re absolutely devastated to have her miss the remainder of the year,” Pride General Manager Ian Fleming said in a club press release. “But if there’s anything we know about her, it’s that she comes back even stronger from her setbacks. With both the resources we have as a club and through our partners at Orlando Health, we’re here to do everything we can to assist her in making a safe and speedy return to the field.”

The injury occurred on Aug. 26 during the team’s 2-1 loss to OL Reign. In the 21st minute, Villacorta reached out for a ball and went down. It appeared as though she had rolled her ankle, resulting in her being substituted from the game. The surgery was performed by Dr. Steven C. Choung of the Orlando Health Jewett Orthopedic Institute, the team’s official medical partner. 

This is the second major injury suffered by Villacorta since she was selected by the Pride with the ninth overall pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft. Rather than joining the Pride immediately, Villacorta stayed at UCLA for the delayed 2020 season. But in her first game of that campaign on Feb. 7, 2021, she tore her ACL in a game against Pepperdine.

The injury resulted in the rookie missing the entire 2021 NWSL season. She returned this year under her college coach, Amanda Cromwell. After sitting out the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup, Villacorta made her professional debut in the team’s season opener on May 1 against NJ/NY Gotham FC, coming on as a second-half substitute.

After not appearing in the two following games, Villacorta started 14 of the next 15 games. In total, she has appeared in 15 of the team’s 17 regular-season games, making 13 starts and accumulating 1,044 minutes. When Seb Hines took over as interim head coach following Cromwell being placed on administrative leave, he continued to use Villacorta as a key part of the Pride’s midfield.

“We have to remember that this is her first season back from an ACL,” Hines said about the injured player after the loss to OL Reign. “So the way that she’s progressed and she’s been such an important part of our success.”

What This Means for Orlando

The Pride are in the middle of a full rebuild. Villacorta is one of the key players in that process, which is largely being done through the NWSL Draft. The biggest concern regarding this injury is that it’s the second major injury she’s suffered. She’s shown her ability to be a key part of this team into the future but has yet to put together a full season due to severe injuries.

On the field, this will also impact that Pride as they attempt to qualify for the NWSL playoffs for the first time since 2017. The team is currently in eighth place, sitting just five points behind the Chicago Red Stars for the sixth and final playoff spot with five games remaining.

Villacorta’s spot in the starting lineup will likely be taken by Mikayla Cluff. The fellow 2021 NWSL Draft selection was taken in the second round by the Pride and is seen as another key player in the team’s rebuild.


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