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Haley Kopmeyer Has Earned More Starts for the Orlando Pride

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With Ashlyn Harris not in the best form, Kopmeyer should get the nod more often.

Gabrielle Feulner, The Mane Land

Haley Kopmeyer knows her role on the Orlando Pride. She’s known it since she came over from Seattle this past off-season: Ashlyn Harris is the starter, and she is the backup.

“Yes, my goal is to get a No. 1 job and be a No. 1 somewhere,” said Kopmeyer. “What goalie doesn’t want that or isn’t working for that? In the same token, I knew coming here there would be a role for me. I have an opportunity to go out and get really good training and focus on myself a little bit more, just in terms of my personal development, and learn a lot. The opportunities to showcase it are a little bit few and far between, which can be a little bit frustrating, at times. It’s like each week I go in wondering what’s going to happen. I know and I knew that coming in.”

Kopmeyer has played in two games this season to cover for Harris when she was away on international duty, ironically both against Kopmeyer’s former team the Seattle Reign. In her first game, Kopmeyer recorded five saves, received the NWSL Save of the Week, and led the Pride to a shutout. Then, this past weekend, Kopmeyer came up with six more saves and an NWSL Save of the Week nominee. The lone goal Kopmeyer has allowed this season was unstoppable and came from a wide open Jodie Taylor at the six-yard box.

However, Harris is the undisputed starter and Kopmeyer will not be starting when the USWNT member is available. But should this be the case?

Over the past few games, Harris has not looked like the same player that Orlando Pride fans are used to seeing. Sure, everyone goes through some rough patches, but at this stage in the season, when every point is vital, Tom Sermanni needs to go with the hot hand.

In her last two games, Harris has given up four goals. These goals include one that she punched away but failed to get out of the 18, a breakaway where she never came out to meet the attacker, and being chipped from inside her own six-yard box.

These are not isolated mistakes in the past two games, either. She got beat near post against North Carolina (although the ball was deflected), allowed a mishit cross to find its way in against Houston, and got up too slowly against Sky Blue after making the first save and was beat near post again.

Harris has made some great saves this season. She’s won the NWSL Save of the Week four times this year, but in recent weeks her form has dipped. Sermanni is constantly saying that Kopmeyer is a starting goalkeeper almost anywhere else in the league and when given opportunities, the Michigan grad has played lights out. With the Pride unable to drop anymore points, going with the hot hand might be the best option.