The only thing left to do is play the games.
The Orlando Pride held their first Media Day ahead of their inaugural 2016 season, which kicks off this Sunday in Portland against the Thorns. In an afternoon that included the unveiling of the club's home and away kits for the upcoming season, one of the biggest topics, of course, was United States Women's National Team star Alex Morgan and her status heading into the weekend.
Morgan, who missed most of the Pride's preseason because of national team duty, picked up a hip injury early in camp, which limited her ability to be on the field with her teammates during the time she actually spent in camp.
Orlando Head Coach Tom Sermanni cleared all doubts about the 26-year-old, deeming her fit to play on Sunday.
"She's fit, healthy, and ready to go," Sermanni told the assembled media. "She will be starting on Sunday. Whether she plays the full 90 minutes or not, that will all depend on quite a few factors. But at this moment of time, she's playing and will be playing significant minutes."
Morgan will also be wearing the captain's armband in the match, Sermanni noted.
Even though she wasn't able to be with the club for a large chunk of the preseason, Morgan is confident things will come together throughout the season.
"Not having been with my teammates as much for preseason, I know for them it was really tough," Morgan said. "It's exciting to have this weekend and to be able to showcase what we've learned this month and grown. We have high expectations, and we're going to continue to grow in the next few months."
Her return to Portland will mark her first match at Providence Park since being traded to Orlando back in October. Morgan had spent the last three years of her career with the Thorns, dating back to their inaugural season back in 2013.
Morgan, one of several former Thorns, said she's ready for the challenge on Sunday, and knows just how hard it is to play in a tough environment in Portland not just as a visiting player, but even as a player on the home side.
"I think it helps because I know that environment super well," she said. "And we know that it's hard for Portland to play in Portland. It's a lot of pressure for them to play in front of their fans, and the expectations that the club sets for their players."
"We're going in there a little naive, and that's almost good," she added. "Because we don't have the sort of pressure that Portland does. For me personally, I'm just excited to get it out of the way because I'm expecting some boos, and that's totally okay."
Other Media Day Notes
The club announced the signing of midfielder/defender Dani Weatherholt, a fourth-round pick (No. 31 overall) in the 2016 NWSL Draft.
"Dani has impressed us from day one and she continues to improve each day," Sermanni in a team release. "She's a versatile midfielder who can also drop into a defense spot, adding to the depth of our roster, which will be key this season."
In his Media Day press conference, Sermanni tagged Weatherholt as a "good footballer," having earned high praise and respect from many of the senior players on the roster.
Sermanni noted that while college players usually got off to hot starts in the preseason before sputtering out near the end, Weatherholt never saw that drop in production, and was able to earn a hard-fought spot on the club's opening day roster.
Pride players Alex Morgan, Ashlyn Harris, and Laura Alleway introduced the team's new kits for the 2016 season.
The home kit, modeled by Morgan, is predominantly purple (shocking, I know) with two light blue hoops on each arm sleeve. Alleway showed off the away kit, which features much more light blue down the middle and purple on the sides and sleeves. The goalkeeper kit featured by Harris was all black, for those of you keeping track at home.
Need actual pictures? Here ya go:
And that's not even the slightest bit of what went down at Media Day. The Mane Land was fortunate enough to sit down with just about every player on the roster, and we'll have plenty of more on the club heading up to the opening match on Sunday night and, of course, throughout the entire season.