Alex Morgan completed her fourth season with the Orlando Pride but it was the least memorable of all, even if her other accomplishments in 2019 — notably winning the World Cup — will stand out for her when she reflects on her career.
Morgan, one of the first players the Pride brought in when building the team, appeared early in the year when the team was still trying to figure out how to play Marc Skinner’s system, and then made a couple cameos after returning from the World Cup before missing the remainder of the season due to a concussion and then a recurring knee injury.
So how did her 2019 go with Orlando? Not great.
Morgan made just six appearances for the Pride in 2019 (five starts). She played just 395 total minutes, going 90 in each of her first four starts, then having a 22-minute substitute appearance Aug. 17 against Utah before an abbreviated 13-minute game in a start at Chicago before sustaining a concussion. She did not score a goal or record an assist, and she attempted just 10 shots on the season — getting only one of them on target. Morgan passed at a 63% rate, down from last year’s 74% as she suffered along with her teammates early in the season when no one on the team looked particularly like they knew what they were doing during the team’s 0-3-1 start.
The USWNT star made seven clearances, won 50% of her duels, was offside five times and drew six fouls while committing five. She received one yellow card. Statistically, the year was a disaster for Morgan because it started that way and she never had a chance to finish it due to injury and international duty.
Pickings were slim this year for Morgan in terms of games to shine, since she only played in four full games and small portions of two others. Morgan’s best match of the season came in the season opener at Portland. Our Jack McAwesome gave her a season-high grade of 6.5 for the match, despite the team falling 2-0 on the road at Providence Park. The striker got half of her season total shots in the game, firing five times at the Portland net. She got her lone shot on goal of the year in this match and perhaps should have gotten an assist on a pass to Chioma Ubogagu, who took too long in releasing her shot attempt. Morgan was active throughout, tracked back well, and drew a pair of free kicks.
2019 Final Grade
Morgan played just enough minutes to qualify for a grade and her composite rating from The Mane Land staff for 2019 is a 5, which is a step down from the 5.5 she received last year. This grade should perhaps be even lower but the circumstances of her 2018 grade were present again this season — a lack of quality service plagued her ability to be an effective target striker and she was often forced to just try to get something — anything — toward the target out of frustration, which shows in her 10% shot accuracy, albeit in an extremely small sample size. The 35 minutes across two matches that she played after returning from a World Cup knee injury might as well not even have happened.
Morgan’s 2020 prospects don’t look good either. She and husband Servando Carrasco recently announced that she’s pregnant and due to deliver a baby girl in April. While that’s great news for the happy couple on a personal level, this will put her out of commission from the jump for next season and by the time she regains fitness she’ll hope to be selected for the U.S. Olympic team to compete in Tokyo next summer. If she is, it would be surprising if Morgan appears in even a third of the Pride’s matches in 2020 — and that’s if she doesn’t move on to another club this off-season. With rumors swirling of an NWSL team coming to Sacramento (in Morgan’s home state of California), the USWNT star could be on the move, although the pregnancy may complicate Orlando’s ability to get fair market value in any deal Erik Ustruck might be able to make.