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Bold Predictions for the Orlando Pride’s 2018 Season

Leroux’s addition will help the Pride be the best team to date but what else could 2018 bring?

Nick Leyva, The Mane Land

The Orlando Pride were arguably the best team in the second half of the 2017 NWSL regular season. Alex Morgan’s return to the NWSL sparked the Pride’s mid-season turn and all of a sudden Orlando looked like a completely different team. The Pride ended the season on a nine-game unbeaten run before losing to Portland in the playoffs.

What’s in store for 2018? Well, for one, team this is a stronger team than last season. The attack got even better with Sydney Leroux joining Marta and Morgan up top, while the defense should improve with multiple key signing highlighted by Shelina Zadorsky.

Listed below are my bold predictions for the Pride this season. These are all things that will be difficult to accomplish but there should be an eye out for. They are listed in order of likelihood.

Chioma Ubogagu Will Make Her USWNT Debut

The most likely of the predictions to happen, Chi got her first call-up at the end of last year, albeit as a defender. Her versatility is a key factor as the London-born American international can play almost anywhere on the field. She played in 19 games in 2017 but will have to work harder this year to see the same amount of field time. While not part of the SheBelieves Cup, there will be many more opportunities to impress Jill Ellis and I expect Chi to get a call-up and cap by the end of the year.

The Pride Will Win the NWSL Championship and Supporters Shield

The goal this year is to win the championship but I expect the Pride to one-up it and win the regular season as well. Tom Sermanni will get the Pride running smoothly and Orlando will not miss any of its starters during their extended stays on international leave. This team not only has the most quality in the Pride’s short history, but also the most depth. The season will most likely be won this year during the international breaks and the Pride’s bench play will be the best in the league and keep them on top of the NWSL.

Rachel Hill Will Be the Golden Boot Winner

Hill has killed it in the land down under this off-season. In her 12 games with Perth Glory she scored nine goals and added six assists. She started in every game she played in, scored on 20% of her shots, and even got back on the defensive end. Check out a couple of her goals from back in November below.

Now, of course it helps when you have the reigning NWSL Golden Boot and MVP winner in Sam Kerr playing alongside you, but this Orlando squad is stacked with talent as well. She could struggle to make starts this year, even more so than her eight from 2017, but she could be the best player in the league coming off the bench.

Hill does not need many opportunities and when she is in the correct position she will make it count. .