With the return of Alex Morgan from Europe, the Orlando Pride have officially re-added the USWNT star striker to the club’s roster. To make room on the 20-player roster for Morgan, the Pride waived Christina Burkenroad.
After months of courting the 27-year-old superstar, Olympique Lyonnais finally got their player on loan from the Pride in December. Morgan remained with the French club through its UEFA Women’s Champions League final triumph over fellow French side Paris Saint-Germain, although she aggravated a hamstring injury in the final and is currently rehabbing in preparation for rejoining Orlando on the field.
Morgan appeared in eight games for Lyon in domestic competition, scoring five goals. Additionally, she appeared in five UEFA Women’s Champions League games, failing to score in each of the contests. Prior to the European final, Morgan suffered a left hamstring injury against PSG during a league match. The injury, which kept her out of the French Cup final for treble-winning Lyon, forced her departure from the Champions League final against the same club in the 23rd minute.
In her first season with the Pride in 2016, Morgan took part in 15 games, recording four goals and one assist.
“Alex is going to add another dimension to our attacking ability,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said in a club press release. “I think we already have a great deal of mobility and attack and somebody like Alex coming back into the team will add to that further. Obviously, bringing someone like Alex back gives everybody a boost — the players, the team, the club and the supporters. So there’s a whole range of positives with Alex coming back into the fold.”
To make room for Morgan’s return, the Pride have waived forward Christina Burkenroad. The 23-year-old was selected by the Pride with the their third pick, 32nd overall, in the 2016 NWSL College Draft out of Cal State Fullerton. She made eight appearances during her time in Orlando but had trouble even making the 18-player game day roster this season.
“We’re sad to see Christina leave the Pride,” Sermanni said about Burkenroad in the club release. “She has been a dedicated professional and a wonderful contributor to our team, the club and the community. Knowing her playing time would likely have been limited with Alex’s return, we believed it would be in her best interest to provide her the opportunity to explore other options for her career. We wish Christina every success and look forward to seeing her continuing to grow both on and off the field.”
The timing of the move is due to Burkenroad’s move to Norwegian side Grand Bodø.