Christine Nairn, as well as Carson Pickett, joined the Orlando Pride in a deal that sent Steph Catley to the Seattle Reign. Coach Tom Sermanni had this to say once the trade was announced:
“Christine is a player that we’ve had eyes on for a while. What we see in her, technically, is a great footballing quality. She has an exceptional left foot, she’s a great passer, she understands the game really well,” Sermanni said. “She’s been in this league from day one, been a regular starter virtually since she came into the league. She brings that experience and that quality with her.”
So how did she do in her first season with the Pride?
Christine had the 12th-most minutes played with 1,115 in 20 appearances, 13 of those being starts. The longest drought was from July 11 to Aug. 19 in which she only got 66 minutes on the field in six games. Orlando went 1-3-2 during that span.
She ended the season tied for the most assists with Marta, at four, her last coming on June 16 in the 3-2 victory over Sky Blue FC. Nairn’s lone goal came in the victory at Portland on May 12 where she was nominated, and ended up winning, Goal of the Week in Week 7.
In addition to that, she completed 74.2% of her passes. Of those, 26 were key passes, the second-highest total on the team. Defensively, she had 24 interceptions and only conceded three fouls, getting only a single yellow card on the season.
I was bouncing back and forth on the 3-2 victory over Sky Blue FC on June 16, and the 1-0 victory over the Washington Spirit on June 23. In the end, I’m going with the game against Washington. Almost every single promising attack in the match came from Nairn, and she was the very definition of “effort” on the night. I can still clearly recall her end-to-end runs to get involved in the attack that unfortunately went unnoticed. She led the team in tackles that night and won the most fouls, as well as being near the top in passing accuracy.
Final 2018 Grade
The Mane Land gives Nairn’s 2018 season a 5.5. Although she had a decent start integrating into a completely new team and climate, the second half of her season left a lot to be desired. As her minutes dwindled, so did her production, understandably. Her vision and discipline remain bright spots and if there had been even a small bit of cohesion in the group, I feel like she would have lived up to expectations.
I see nothing but upside on retaining Christine for the 2019 season. Nairn will be turning 28 years old on Sept. 25, and with another year in purple, she could provide some very integral leadership during the World Cup. She could easily be part of a core foundation to a solid roster in the summer months and beyond.
Previous 2018 Season in Review Posts (Date Posted)
- Rachel Hill (9/23)