Orlando Pride

2022 Orlando Pride Season in Review: Erin McLeod



The Orlando Pride signed Canadian international goalkeeper Erin McLeod prior to the 2020 NWSL season to a one-year deal with an option for a second year. After picking up the option, on May 19, the club signed McLeod to a new deal, keeping the goalkeeper in Orlando through the 2023 season.

McLeod was initially the backup to Ashlyn Harris but became the starter when Harris was traded to NJ/NY Gotham FC following the 2021 NWSL season. As a result, this was her first year as the team’s number one.

Let’s take a look at the starting goalkeeper’s 2022 campaign.

Statistical Breakdown

McLeod started the first two games of the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup but suffered a knee injury, keeping her out until the start of the regular season. In her two Challenge Cup starts, the Canadian played 180 minutes. She saved seven of the eight shots she faced in those two games (87.5%) getting a clean sheet in a scoreless draw with the Washington Spirit and falling 1-0 to the North Carolina Courage in the second game to go 0-1-1 as a starter in the competition with a 0.50 goals-against average. The goalkeeper completed 45 of her 57 passes in distribution (78.9%) and 13 of 25 long passes (52%).

By the time the regular season started, McLeod was back. She started 20 of the team’s 22 regular-season games, recording 1,800 minutes. She saved 65 of 106 shots faced (61.3%) with four clean sheets, posting a goals-against average of 2.05 with a record of 5-8-7 backstopping the Pride. She had 15 catches, two drops, six punches, and 15 clearances to go along with one penalty stop. McLeod completed 446 of her 537 passes (83.1%) and 68 of her 149 long balls (45.6%). Most of her passes were directly up field (38.9%) or to the left side (34.3%) while 26.8% of her passes were to the right. She won four fouls, conceded one, and picked up one yellow card during the regular season.

Best Game

McLeod’s best game was a 1-0 road win over San Diego Wave FC on Aug. 13. The Pride were dominated in almost every way in that game except on the scoreboard. The hosts hit the woodwork twice in the second half, first by Alex Morgan and then by Taylor Kornieck. The only goal in the game was a first-half penalty conversion by Meggie Dougherty Howard.

In addition to one of her four clean sheets, McLeod had a season-high six saves in that game. While most of the shots were directly at her, the goalkeeper didn’t give up any rebounds. On multiple occasions, a Wave player would’ve been there to put it away had McLeod not been so sure-handed.

2022 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff gives McLeod a composite grade of 6 for the 2022 season. The goalkeeper was one of the best players on a pretty bad team for most of the season. Her shot stopping, her best quality, was good throughout the year but she had trouble reading crosses. She also struggled with goal kicks which brought her grade down a little. This was a half point lower than the 6.5 she received in 2021.

While McLeod wasn’t as consistent as Pride fans would hope, there were games where she kept her team in the game. She was a victim of some poor defending throughout the year, so many of the goals conceded were not her fault. Next season the Pride will be looking for the same shot-stopping ability but more consistency from their number one.

2023 Outlook

McLeod is currently signed through the 2023 season and it’s hard to see her not being the starting goalkeeper next season. The Pride are young and going through a rebuild so it might seem like a player who will be 40 next season wouldn’t fit in. But McLeod offers experience and leadership that could be crucial on a team that lacks both.

Previous Season in Review Articles (Date Posted)

This concludes our 2022 Orlando Pride Season in Review series. We hope you have enjoyed looking back at each player’s contributions this past year. It wasn’t the NWSL season that any of us were hoping for but in some ways the Pride actually exceeded expectations. We were just getting used to that seven-game unbeaten run when things suddenly fell apart again but each year brings new hope and we’ll see how the club addresses the team’s needs in what is an important — and likely an interesting — off-season.


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