ORLANDO, Fla. -- It's been 588 days since Marta scored for the Orlando Pride.
Four-hundred and 20 days since the most significant injury of her career.
Fifty-five days since she made her return to the Pride in Portland.
None of those mattered in the 23rd minute of Saturday's game as she stepped up to the penalty spot. Not the endless hours of recovery from her ACL tear. Not the struggles she went through to get to that moment.
All that went through her mind was simple:
"I just didn't think about it so much," she said, "Maybe because of the moment in the game I just thought like, yes, we scored, I scored the penalty. I think it's more double pressure because if you miss you don't know how the game is going to be for you and your team. So I was so happy that I didn't. Mostly happy that we won this game."
Missing almost all of the 2022 season, the 37-year-old legend of the game has worked hard to get back to the pitch. Coming on as a substitute in Brazil's SheBelieves cup match in Orlando back in February, she notched the game-winning assist. On Saturday night, after scoring that first goal, she also assisted Kylie Strom's game-winning goal in the 77th minute, continuing her path back to form.
“It’s a testament to her recovery coming back from a long-term injury," Pride head coach Seb Hines said. "You don't want anyone else stepping up for that penalty other than her. She's been in that moment so often on the biggest stage. We had full confidence in her hitting the back of the back of net. Obviously, it’s a great feeling for her and the team.”
Topping off the goal and the assist was the result; a 2-1 win over the previously unbeaten Washington Spirit, the top team in NWSL. The Pride as a team are unbeaten in four league matches and trending up in the standings.
“It means a lot when you're against a team that is at the top of the table," she said.
"It's extra special. This is a team with veteran [players] like me, but also many new players, young players who want to help build this team and build something special. So of course, it is important for the team.”