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Orlando Pride’s Marta and Ali Krieger Named to 2017 NWSL Best XI

The duo made a huge impact in their first year in Orlando, leading the club to its first postseason.

Nick Leyva, The Mane Land

Orlando Pride forward Marta and defender Ali Krieger have been named to the National Women’s Soccer League Best XI for the 2017 season. The duo helped lead the Pride to third place and a spot in the NWSL playoffs this past season before falling at Portland in the league semifinals last Saturday. Both players joined the Pride for the 2017 season and helped the club finish with a record of 11-6-7 (40 points).

Marta

Marta was one of the league’s brightest stars this season, finishing second in the league in goals (13), assists (6), and combined goals and assists (19) — all Pride season records. The Brazilian, who teamed up with Alex Morgan as half of the most dangerous attacking duo in the league, was the NWSL’s runaway leader in chances created (64), finishing 17 ahead of league assist leader Nahomi Kawasumi of Seattle, and was tied for fourth in the league in shot attempts (65). The 31-year-old was named to the NWSL Team of the Month four straight times from June through September, and was the league’s Player of the Month for September by the NWSL Media Association as well.

She played 1,938 minutes, appearing in 23 of the Pride’s 24 matches after being signed just before the season started. Her 84% passing accuracy was second only to fellow Brazilian Monica’s 84.4%. Her 43 crosses were second to Steph Catley on the Pride and she had more touches (1,393) than any other non-defender for Orlando. She capped her season by becoming a finalist for the NWSL MVP award, which will be announced on Friday, Oct. 20.

Ali Krieger

Carlos Romero, The Mane Land

Krieger, making her second appearance on the NWSL Best XI, showed her versatility in 2017 by playing right back, right center back and left center back over the course of the season. She played every minute of all 24 Pride matches in 2017, amassing 2,160 minutes played. Krieger finished second on Orlando in touches (1,652 — just 15 behind team leader Catley) and also led all NWSL players in passes (1,300) in 2017. She won 61.2% of her duels, leading all outfield players who appeared in more than one game this season and led the Pride in clearances (99).

Offensively, Krieger, who made the NWSL Second XI last season, didn’t score but she did finish with two assists on the season, with 11 shot attempts and 21 crosses.

Marta and Kreiger join teammates Catley and Morgan in being honored by the league, as they were named to the NWSL Second XI on Tuesday.


The full NWSL Best XI for 2017 included three members of the North Carolina Courage, two players each from the Orlando Pride, Chicago Red Stars, and one each from Portland Thorns FC, FC Kansas City, Seattle Reign FC, and Sky Blue FC:

Goalkeeper: Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns).

Defenders: Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina Courage), Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars).

Midfielders: Jess Fishlock (Seattle Reign), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage), McCall Zerboni (North Carolina Courage).

Forwards: Marta (Orlando Pride), Samantha Kerr (Sky Blue FC), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars).