Lainey Burdett was announced as a supplemental player when the Orlando Pride released the team’s roster for the 2019 NWSL season. With the World Cup on the schedule for the summer, the Pride were always going to need a third goalkeeper due to Ashlyn Harris’ involvement as the primary backup for the United States Women’s National Team, and the Las Vegas native was tabbed to back up Haley Kopmeyer during Harris’ absence.
Burdett was never expected to make a huge impact on the squad beyond providing a keeper for training sessions and being ready in case Kopmeyer couldn’t play while Harris was out. But the backup to the backup did manage to get on the field for her first professional appearance in 2019.
The University of Arizona product made one appearance in 2019, starting in the Pride’s second-to-last match at Exploria Stadium in a 3-0 loss to the Washington Spirit. Harris was away for the final USWNT Victory Tour matches and Head Coach Marc Skinner opted to give Burdett her professional debut rather than starting Kopmeyer to see what the rookie could do. Burdett played 90 minutes and faced 12 shots, allowing three goals as the Spirit got seven of their attempts on target. Her save rate was 57.1% for the match. She made two clearances, won her only duel attempt, and completed 80.5% of her 41 passes on 56 touches.
This is an easy section because Burdett played only once this year. So, by default her best game was the Washington match on Oct. 5 at home. It was also her worst game of the season. Although she didn’t get the win and allowed three goals, Burdett will never forget the match. Not only was it her debut, but she also won NWSL Save of the Week for Week 20 on her first professional save, getting a hand on a blast from long range and deflecting it over the crossbar.
2019 Final Grade
With only one match played, Burdett gets an incomplete grade for the season. There just wasn’t enough time to assess her performance fairly. Her one game was a bit up and down, as one might expect in a goalkeeper’s professional debut.
With a Pride rebuild coming, it’s unlikely that many players are safe when it comes to the 2020 roster. The question is how much did Burdett impress Skinner in her 90 minutes of play as well as during training all season. If she showed enough, Skinner might part with Kopmeyer as the team’s primary backup or she could return as a Supplemental Player on the roster to cover for the potential absence of Harris during next summer’s Olympics. I think the latter is more likely, although that doesn’t mean the Pride won’t shake up the goalkeeper position. Kopmeyer didn’t have her best season while Harris was out, so Erik Ustruck and Skinner may want to shore up that spot.