Orlando Pride

2023 Orlando Pride Season in Review: Caitlin Cosme

The former Duke defender finally saw some professional action in 2023.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Mark Thor

The Orlando Pride selected defender Caitlin Cosme out of Duke in the first round (No. 10 overall) of the 2022 NWSL Draft. Although the club signed Cosme to a two-year contract on Jan. 31, 2022, the center back did not play for the Pride during the 2022 season. Injuries delayed her debut, as she missed the first half of the 2022 season, was named to the subs’ bench for half a dozen games, and then finished the season back on the injury report.

With Pride Head Coach Seb Hines looking to find his best back line at the start of 2023, Cosme finally got onto the field. Let’s take a look at her second season in Orlando.

Statistical Breakdown

The 24-year-old made her NWSL debut in the Pride’s 2023 season opener at Portland on March 26. She appeared in four regular-season games (all starts) and totaling 360 minutes played. Those four matches were the team’s first four of the season, with Cosme not playing after that except in Challenge Cup competition. Cosme started at left center back alongside Emily Madril in the first three games and was partnered with Megan Montefusco in Game 4. She did not score a goal or assist on one, attempting just one shot, which was off target. Cosme completed 146 of 181 pass attempts (80.7%). She was successful on 89.3% of her passes in the Pride’s defensive end, but just 58.8% in the attacking half and 28.6% on her long passes, although she did register a key pass.

On the defensive end, Cosme logged six blocks and three interceptions while winning just two of five tackle attempts (28.6%), 11 of 31 duels (35.5%), and two of six aerial duels (33.3%). She won two fouls, conceded nine, and was not booked in the regular season.

Cosme also appeared in two NWSL Challenge Cup matches in 2023 (both starts), going the distance in both matches against Washington for a total of 180 minutes played. Although she did not score a goal, Cosme did register her first professional assist in the competition and attempted two shots, one of which was blocked, while the other was off target. She completed 70 of 89 pass attempts (78.7%), including 86.2% in her own half, 58.3% in the attacking half, and 36.4% of her long passes, registering one key pass on her assist.

Defensively, Cosme recorded two blocks and three interceptions, winning one of her two tackle attempts, five of 11 duels (45.5%), and two of four aerial duels (50%). She did not win or concede a foul and was not booked.

Best Game

Despite the Pride losing 4-2, I’m going with Cosme’s performance in the Pride’s 4-2 road loss to the Washington Spirit in NWSL Challenge Cup competition on May 10. As a center back, there was little she could do about the Spirit’s four long-range bombs that resulted in four goals. Cosme picked up an assist on Tori Hansen’s opening goal in the 10th minute, earning her first pro assist. Her touch on the ball was in traffic, so it wasn’t exactly a spectacular pass, but it still counts. It was more like the ball found her and bounced off of her to Hansen.

Cosme also had a shot attempt in the match, although it was off target. The Pride were under siege much of the night, but the Spirit couldn’t score inside the box thanks to the efforts of Cosme and her back line mates. She completed 65.7% of her 35 pass attempts, but no one on the back line was above 68% on the night as Orlando was pinned back and forced to play through the Spirit press.

2023 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff gave Cosme a composite rating of 5.5 out of 10 for her first six professional matches. She didn’t get to taste victory as a player, as the Pride lost both of her Challenge Cup matches and all four of her starts in the regular season. That’s not all her fault, as Orlando scored just one goal in the four matches she started in NWSL play. The Pride were shut out in her second Challenge Cup start, 1-0. TheTML staff simply didn’t see enough from the young defender to give her a higher grade.

2024 Outlook

Cosme ends the 2023 season out of contract, so the Pride will need to re-sign the young center back in order to keep her around. With Carrie Lawrence coming back from injury and Madril, Montefusco, and Rafaelle ahead of her on the depth chart, she’d likely be a depth player again in 2024 if she returns, which is fine at this stage in her career. I would say she needs to become more physical, particularly on set pieces, but there is a chance she could develop into a starter down the line.

Previous Season in Review Articles (Date Posted)


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