It would have been easy for the Orlando Pride to rest on their laurels this offseason. The team had just come of a run to the NWSL Semi-finals, scoring the most goals in the league on the way. It seems like that thought never entered the team’s mind.
Sydney Leroux, Haley Kopmeyer, Poliana, Christine Nairn, Carson Pickett, Emily Van Egmond, Lotta Ökvist and Shelina Zadorsky. Eight new faces added to an already impressive roster. For a team that seemed to score at ease in 2017, things might only be easier in the new year.
“When you look at the team that we have, we’ve got a considerable number of match winners in that team,” said Pride head coach Tom Sermanni. “Even last year we had a significant numbers of players that scored goals for us and we have added to that firepower even more so this year. We have experienced players, we’ve got a lot of players who have played with each other.”
It’s that mix of an established core alongside these new additions that has Pride star striker Alex Morgan excited for the new season.
“I’m really excited about some of the newer players…there’s quite a few that we’ve picked up over the offseason, said Morgan. “We just have the quality on this team to do really well this year. I think we’re going to start of pretty strong from the beginning.”
The Pride will open their season this Saturday at Orlando City Stadium against Utah Royals FC, who were formally FC Kansas City. The change in cities for the club has brought with it changes to their roster and head coach. Laura Harvey, previously with the Seattle Reign, will lead the way for the new franchise.
“We’ve more looked at Laura [Harvey] and what she is liable to do. Us coaches tend to have a way of playing and tend to implement that structure and that philosophy wherever we go,” said Sermanni. “So we’ve probably done a little more work at how Seattle played and making some assumptions that Utah will play a similar style.”
“There is going to be a little of finding out for both teams at the weekend.”