Jasmyne Spencer was arguably the Orlando Pride’s top outfield player in 2016. She played in all 20 games a year ago, starting 17 of them and finishing second on the team in minutes played over the course of the inaugural season. The 27-year-old from Bay Shore, NY, finished last season tied for second in goals on the club, used her speed and quickness well in and around the box, and became a fan favorite by utilizing her diminutive size for maximum results.
Coming into Year 2, the Pride’s No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 NWSL Expansion Draft seemed primed to have a breakout year. Yet, even with added talent around her, the University of Maryland product had a tougher time making the offensive impact many expected. In fact, at times she struggled just to get on the field in 2017.
Spencer appeared in 20 of the team’s 24 games in 2017, starting 12 (down from 17 starts in 20 appearances last year), playing a total of 1,099 minutes. She scored three goals and assisted on four others, firing 19 shots (eight on target). Her production from 2016 to 2017 was similar after her four goals without an assist last year in nearly 500 fewer minutes played. Spencer passed at a 70.3% rate for the year, and her 25 crosses were the fourth most on the club. Only Camila (51) and Marta (32) drew more fouls on the team than Spencer’s 23, while Jas committed only 13 fouls all season and collected just one yellow card.
She also played nine minutes off the bench in Orlando’s playoff loss at Portland, attempting no shots and getting only seven touches in her brief postseason appearance.
Spencer started up top on June 3 in a 4-2-3-1 formation for Sermanni’s squad at home against the Boston Breakers. She turned in a standout performance, scoring in the 13th minute to push the Pride to a 2-0 win. Spencer made a lung-busting run from the middle of the pitch to get onto the end of Camila’s cross and tap home an insurance marker after Marta had put Orlando ahead from the spot just minutes into the game.
In addition to scoring the goal, Spencer posted a season high in shot attempts (3) and one of her highest passing rates of the season (80%) in her 88 minutes on the pitch. She also registered one tackle and drew two free kicks.
2017 Final Grade
The Mane Land staff gave Spencer a final composite grade of 6 on the season. We felt that she struggled to make an offensive impact early in the year and then after a flurry of three goals in a four-game span, finished the year on a major goal drought. She scored no goals in her final 11 appearances of the season (555 minutes) after netting three in her first eight games (544 minutes). In fact, she attempted only seven of her 19 shots after June 3. Her inconsistency hurt her final grade but she still got a solid rating for providing a pacey option off the bench who could get forward and create chaos for opposing back lines and performing generally well in her starts.
Spencer isn’t consistent enough to be a full-time starter on the Pride with the firepower Orlando has, but she showed she can provide great depth and a good bench option with her play in 2017. After not registering an assist in 2016, Spencer proved she can set up goals with her four helpers this year – tied with Alex Morgan for third on the team behind only Marta (6) and Camila (5). The club picked up her contract option for 2018, meaning she’ll likely play a similar role next season if she isn’t moved in order to bring in help in another spot. If she could find some consistency next season, Spencer could unseat Chioma Ubogagu as a starter, and since Chi will need to be re-signed, having Jas provides Sermanni with a bit of insurance going into 2018.