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Orlando Pride Waive Brazil International Defender Poliana

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The Orlando Pride have parted ways with defender Poliana after she requested her release to return to Brazil.

Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride announced this afternoon that the club has waived Brazilian international defender Poliana. The 27-year-old Brazilian international will return to her native country.

“On behalf of the Pride, I want to thank Poliana for her contributions and wish her the best of luck as she explores a new playing opportunity,” said Pride General Manager Erik Ustruck in a club press release.

The club stated that the defender asked to leave the club following the 2018 season to return to her native country. The two sides came to an agreement for her to depart in order to fulfill her wish.

The Pride acquired Poliana in February 2018 in a trade with the Houston Dash for a second-round selection in the 2019 NWSL College Draft — used by the Dash to select USC defender Ally Prisock. After playing 22 of 24 games during the 2017 season, Poliana played in just 10 for the Pride, starting eight, and accumulated 694 minutes. In her lone season in Orlando, the Brazilian made 20 clearances, three blocks, and 37 interceptions. She won 60 percent of her tackles and 55 percent of her aerial duels.

What It Means for Orlando

The defender has been a regular for the Brazilian national team and was going to miss a significant amount of time during this World Cup year. In addition to friendlies, she would’ve likely missed games in the run up to the World Cup and following the group stage. While a good player is leaving, she never settled in with the Pride, receiving just a composite grade of 3 from The Mane Land staff in her 2019 Season in Review.

The Pride did not get the dangerous flank player they thought they were getting when the Brazilian was brought in from Houston. At worst, Poliana should have been a solid stopgap measure while Camila recovered from her knee injury. At best, she should have provided dangerous wide play on the right that opened up room for Orlando’s forwards by forcing opponents to commit numbers out near the edge of the penalty area.

Too many times we saw Poliana start a forward run, dribble up to an opponent, then meekly allow the opponent to take the ball away far too easily. To make matters worse, there was rarely any kind of determined attempt by the Brazilian to recover it. Her entire season can be summed up as “dribbles into a double-team, takes a heavy touch, then allows herself to get easily walled off and lose possession.”

The Brazilian’s departure will open up a roster spot entering preseason camp. Hopefully the replacement will be someone who will not miss a big chunk of the season on international duty.