At 56 appearances, Kristen Edmonds has appeared in more games than any other player for the Pride. However, she found herself on the fringes of the roster throughout 2018, and was never quite able to settle into whatever role she found herself in when she did receive game time. Compared to 2017, in which she got 1,891 minutes, her playing time was almost reduced by in her third season in Orlando, at 1,091 minutes played.
Now let’s talk about her role throughout the season. In 13 starts, she switched to a different position nine different times. She made her season debut at defensive midfield, the next match she was on the other side of the field as a right midfielder. The next time she got a start, it was over on the left wing. The very next match, she was on the back line as a right back. This continued as the season progressed.
She got her most consistent starts late in the season when Tom Sermanni settled into a 3-5-2 and she played a right wingback role. That four-game stretch ended with a switch over to the left side, and then for her final game the next week, she was back on the right in a fullback position.
Did you get all that?
When you lay out all the position changes, and then throw in stretches where she didn’t see any playing time, it’s a wonder she even had the season she did, and I think that speaks to her experience and willingness to do whatever it took to get on the field.
Kristen’s 13 starts were her lowest yet for the Pride, as were the 1,091 minutes played. Due to her bouncing around to several roles, it’s hard for the numbers to tell any specific story. Her tackle success rate was among the best, at 80% but her distribution was about middle of the pack at a 71.7%. She came away with one goal and zero assists on the year, and of the seven fouls conceded, she received just one yellow card. Interesting stat: of the 15 fouls she suffered, eight were against Portland, and those are just the ones called.
Edmonds’ best game was the 2-1 victory on July 14 at Utah. It was the Pride’s final win of the season, and her first time playing the 3-5-2 as a wingback. Utah Royals’ goalkeeper Abby Smith tends to play off her line, and in the 52nd minute, Edmonds took advantage of this with a perfect chip over Smith to give the Pride the go-ahead goal, and eventually the victory.
2018 Final Grade
The Mane Land staff give Edmonds a composite rating of 5 for the season — a full point below last year’s final grade of 6 — but she was hindered by the plug-and-play nature of how she was used. It’s not a coincidence that her strongest run of the season came during the stretch where she had the most starts in a row at the same position. She often plays more technical than psychical, and that works well against some opponents, but against a team like Portland, her style — and the Thorns’ style — means she’s picking herself up off the ground more times than most.
Edmonds will be turning 32 this coming May, and that can be a time of uncertainty for a lot of players, especially if they have seen their minutes dwindle by almost half. I think she still has a lot to offer in the 2019 season, so now we’ll just have to wait for a new coach and watch as their vision comes to fruition. Whatever that vision, I’d love to see her in a consistent role fighting for minutes.