Negative numbers by definition are any number that is considered to be less than zero, and while the Orlando Pride only have one negative number by definition they certainly wouldn’t consider the rest of their numbers to be positive. Going into their fourth match of the season Orlando finds themselves hanging onto 8th place by a single point and the next two stats give a clear idea of why that is.
Negative Three (-3)
The Pride are currently tied with the Houston Dash for the worst goal differential in the league at -3. Now, a -3 for a Houston Dash defense, that is made up of a good chunk of players converted from offensive positions is one thing, but a -3 for an Orlando Pride defense that consists of natural defenders that have played or do play at international level is a whole different story. To be fair the Orlando Pride’s starting defense hasn’t been truly together since game one, but it seems to be leaving a bad taste in not just the mouths of the fans, but the players as well. Since I hate to leave things on negative notes, bright spots on the backline have occurred as well. Shelina Zadorksy and Toni Pressley have been ROCK SOLID as a centerback duo that I’d like to see get more chances to work together throughout the season.
The Pride have currently only put 40% of their shots on goal, putting them 7th in the league. Last week, I said that Sydney Leroux needed to step up and start scoring. I’ll say it again this week. Orlando is going into their fourth game and neither Alex Morgan nor Sydney Leroux have scored, which is something that I didn’t expect to see happening. The good news here is that the Pride play Houston this week and the Dash have only put 16% of their shots on goal. Now, because this is NWSL and previous history shows that the Pride and Dash love to score on each other I can definitely see these two teams putting multiple goals in the back of the net Sunday night.
The approximate number of minutes that Orlando Pride Midfielder, Alanna Kennedy played throughout her country’s Asian Cup Campaign. While being a work horse defender for The Matildas throughout the entire campaign Kennedy tallied two goals and two assists, with one of her goals saving The Matildas in stoppage time to ensure that they got a chance to play in the final. Look for Kennedy to bring her hot play right into the starting lineup on April 28th against Seattle.
This number doesn't mean much to Orlando Pride fans right now, but it will once they see it on the back of the team's newest Aussie, Emily van Egmond. In 2011 Tom Sermanni brought a 17 year old van Egmond to the 2011 FIFA WWC, now he’s bringing the 24 year old back to U.S. for her second stint in the NWSL. Van Egmond joins the Pride with a plethora of international experience that includes two FIFA WWC, 1 Olympics, and about 80 total appearances for Australia. Not too shabby for someone who hasn’t even hit the quarter century mark yet. Van Egmond will play a crucial midfield role for Orlando, which in years past has been their point of weakness especially when it comes to building play. For two seasons the Pride have pretty much bypassed the midfield when attacking and trying to score, but that stops the second EVG, Alanna Kennedy and Marta take the field alongside each other. Look for van Egmond to pull the strings in what has the potential to be a dangerous midfield.
Pride fans, like I said earlier it hasn’t been pretty but help is on the way. Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond are both coming in hot and are looking to make an immediate impact. Our Brazilians tore apart their world cup qualifying competition. However, the Aussies and Brazilians can’t do it alone, the Pride need each and every single player to step up, whether it be as a starter or a sub, because if these first few matches have shown us anything it’s that every single team is good and that’s going to make for one hell of season in the NWSL.