Orlando Pride

2023 Orlando Pride Season in Review: Brianna Martinez

How did the depth defender perform in her first season in Orlando?



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Mark Thor

The Orlando Pride signed Albuquerque, NM native defender Brianna Martinez on March 29 to a one-year contract through the 2023 NWSL season with an option year for 2024. The 23-year-old was signed along with Tori Hansen to shore up the defensive depth. While Martinez didn’t log much playing time, she did make it onto the pitch for the Pride this season, particularly in the Challenge Cup.

Let’s take a look at her first year in Orlando.

Statistical Breakdown

Martinez appeared in eight regular-season matches for a total of 49 minutes and, as such, did not register many stats. She did not score or assist on a goal, nor did she even attempt a shot. Of her 22 short passes, Martinez completed 51.6% of her passes in the opponent’s half, and 87.5% of her passes in her own half. She was four of eight on her long passes (50%). She also completed one of her five crosses, and made two key passes. Defensively, she made four interceptions, was successful on one of her three tackle attempts (33.3%), won six of her 11 duels (54.5%), and won one of her four aerial duels (25%). She also committed two fouls, suffered one foul, and was not booked.

The 23-year-old made four appearances in NWSL Challenge Cup play, starting three, and playing 301 total minutes. Despite being a defender, Martinez provided two shots (neither on target), and attempted three crosses (all unsuccessful), but was unable to register a goal or an assist. Of her 67 short passes, Martinez completed 42% in the opponent’s half and 74.6% in her own half. She was five of 20 on her long passes (25%). Defensively, she made one block, six interceptions, won 11 of her 16 tackle attempts (68.8%), won 29 of her 43 duels (67.4%), and won both of her aerial duels. She also committed five fouls, suffered six fouls, and earned two yellow cards.

Best Game

With not a lot of minutes in any regular season match, I’ll go with her 90-minute runout as a starter on Aug. 4 in the 1-0 NWSL Challenge Cup loss to the Washington Spirit. It was the most active and involved she was in any match — and she fired one of her two shot attempts of the year in that game. 

In the first half she played the ball into the box a couple of times for her teammates and was unable to put a header towards goal on a corner kick. Her shot attempt came on an ambitious try in the 10th minute of second half stoppage time when she beat Nicole Barnhart, but the ball slammed off the crossbar. She completed 27 of her 43 passes (64.3%) on 69 touches, and drew one foul.

2023 Final Grade

Martinez didn’t play enough minutes to qualify for a grade for the 2023 season, receiving an incomplete in her first season with the Pride. She was brought in as a depth player, and her minutes outside of the Challenge Cup show that she was exactly that.

2024 Outlook

As I stated on SkoPurp Soccer: An Orlando Pride Pawedcast, I expect the club to pick up the option on Martinez, although she almost certainly won’t be protected during the Expansion Draft. This is a club still in the process of rebuilding and she is a depth player. Martinez will most likely continue in that role, though at 23 years old (she’ll be 24 in April) she still has the opportunity to develop, especially under Seb Hines as coach. Without a Challenge Cup competition, it will be more difficult for Martinez to get competitive minutes, but that doesn’t mean she won’t still be able to contribute, even if just in training.

Previous Season in Review Articles (Date Posted)


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