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2022 Orlando Pride Season in Review: Kylie Strom

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The Orlando Pride signed Kylie Strom to a two-year contract with one option year in July of 2021. On paper, Strom looked to be a good depth addition with two years of experience with Atletico Madrid and having played in the UEFA Women’s Champions League. The Endicott, NY native was not drafted in the 2014 NWSL Draft and played one season in Germany with FFC Frankfurt II, two seasons with the Boston Breakers, and had a two-year stint with Sparta Prague in the Czech Women’s league before joining Atleti.

All of that experience never coalesced for Strom with the Pride, though in her defense there have been five head coaches (mostly interim) for the club since she arrived. Let’s take a look back at the defender’s second season in Orlando.

Statistical Breakdown

In the 2022 Challenge Cup, Strom made five appearances with two starts for a total of 236 minutes. She did not record a goal or an assist, attempting one shot that was not on target. Strom completed 72 of her 99 passes for a 72.7% passing rate, and completed two of her five long passes with one key pass. She did not attempt any crosses. On defense, she made eight clearances, three interceptions, and won five of nine tackle attempts. She won only 11 of her 28 duels and one of four aerial duels. She also committed four fouls, suffered one, and earned two yellow cards.

In the 2022 regular season, Strom made 18 appearances with 14 starts for a total of 1,296 minutes. She scored one goal but did not record an assist on four shots, with two on target. She completed 491 of her 676 passes for a 72.6% passing rate, and completed 20 of her 63 long passes (31.7%). She was successful on two of her seven attempted crosses, and contributed seven key passes. On defense, she was successful on 18 of 35 tackles (51.4%), made 42 clearances, 36 interceptions, and five blocks. She won 101 of her 166 duels (60.8%) and 17 of 35 aerial duels (48.6%). She also suffered 30 fouls, committed eight fouls, and earned two yellow cards. 

Best Game

Strom’s best game came in the Orlando Pride’s 2-2 draw against Racing Louisville FC at the Daytona International Speedway. It was a gimmick location for the NWSL with the Florida team playing the Racing team, but when trying to grow the league and the audience, I think it is acceptable. Strom played 79 minutes and most importantly started the Pride’s comeback with her 59th-minute goal. It was her first career goal, her only one on the season, and it helped start the Pride’s seven-game unbeaten streak.

I’m picking this match because it also started a run of good form from Strom that coincided with the Pride’s better play. Interestingly, it was a revamped lineup without Gunny Jonsdottir on international duty and Courtney Petersen starting on the bench. As a result, Strom started on the back line with Celia, Megan Montefusco, and Toni Pressley. Strom played well defensively other than one turnover that led to a shot for Louisville. Fortunately, Erin McLeod easily handled the save.

2022 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff gave Strom a composite rating of 4.5 out of 10 for the 2022 season. She was not eligible to receive a grade from The Mane Land last season as she didn’t meet the requisite number of minutes, though I doubt her score would have been any higher had she earned one. Despite the run of good form displayed during the Pride’s seven-match unbeaten streak, overall Strom was a part of a defense that allowed the second-most goals in the NWSL, with 45, and garnered a -23 goal differential as a result. Strom would not have been a starting defender on most NWSL teams and it showed. Defensive mistakes, cheap turnovers, and inconsistent play earned her this grade.

Like most players on the Pride, I don’t doubt her heart, or willingness to give her all. It’s simply that the overall production on the pitch wasn’t good enough for a team that needs better play from all positions.

2023 Outlook

Strom was signed through 2022 with an option year for 2023. As such, if she is to stay with the Pride, her option will need to be picked up. Strom will be 31 years old by the time the next season starts. Whether she is back may depend on the new coach — once one is announced and arrives — though Seb Hines seemed to like her well enough. My gut tells me that the Pride will pick up her option for 2023, though her role will be as a depth player as the club continues to fill in positions of need with younger and better players.


Previous Season in Review Articles (Date Posted)

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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