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2019 Orlando Pride Season in Review: Erin Greening

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A look at how the rookie from Colorado University did in her first professional season.

SOCCER: JUL 20 NWSL - Sky Blue FC at Orlando Pride Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Orlando Pride Pride did not have a pick in the 2019 NWSL draft until the third round. Without a head coach, General Manager Erik Ustruck opted to draft Colorado University’s Erin Greening with the 25th pick. She had an impressive collegiate career, starting in all four years, and was an excellent pick for Marc Skinner’s team.

Quite frequently in the NWSL, draft picks do not get significant minutes. It is tough for a college player to break into the league, so much so that previous Orlando Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni was known for trading the majority of his draft picks away. This was the reason why the Pride didn’t have a pick until the third round, but Greening turned out to be a solid pick.

Here’s how the rookie did in her first professional year:

Statistical Breakdown

The 22-year-old was ever present in the lineup in 2019. She came off the bench in Orlando’s season opener, got her first start in the fifth game of the season, and then never looked back. She finished the season with 17 appearances (16 starts) and 1,438 minutes played. She had the third-most minutes played on the Pride behind Carson Pickett (1,688) and Shelina Zadorsky (1,440).

Greening had just one shot on target, but it ended up finding the back of the net. The goal came in a thrilling match against the Portland Thorns. The Pride trailed 3-2 and were pressing. The Thorns had a couple of chances to clear, but kept gifting the ball back to Orlando. Camila ended up winning a free kick, Marta sent in a perfect ball, and Greening had one of the best first professional goals one could imagine. She took it off the half volley and powered it into the back of the net.

That ability to get forward was seen throughout the year. While that was the only goal she scored, and the rookie did not have any assists, she showed her ability on the attacking end. Greening was on the ball more than any other player, and finished with 1,022 touches. She had 550 passes — the fourth most on the team — but her passing accuracy was only 57.6%. This is an area where she will need to improve heading into next season. Greening also attempted 35 crosses.

Greening attempted 184 duels — good enough for third on Orlando. She was successful on just over half of them though (52.7%) and Skinner will definitely want that ratio to improve. Still, the majority of the Pride players had success rates between 40% and 55% so Greening was average within the team. She also had 40 clearances, 43 interceptions, four blocks, and a 43.2% tackle rate. The rookie did not have any red cards but her three yellow cards was tied for the second most on Orlando.

Best Game

Greening’s best game was the Pride’s only shutout on the season. The Pride beat Sky Blue FC 1-0 in front of 9,415 fans at Exploria Stadium — the largest home crowd since 2017. It was an overall very good performance and Greening did very well, also. She was tied for the lead in tackles, and had five interceptions to cap it off. She also made six recoveries. She was impressive on the attacking end as well. She had two chances created and led the team in touches with 75.

2019 Final Grade

The Mane Land Staff gave Greening a 4.5 for her rookie season. Similar to most of the team, there were ups and downs, but the poor team performances did not do her any justice. She played a significant number of minutes for a rookie, but was also part of a back line that allowed 53 goals. Her poor passing percentage hurt her, and is an area for improvement.

2020 Outlook

Greening almost certainly will be in Skinner’s plans next season. Skinner and Ustruck will look to improve the Pride’s team in all areas of the field — except perhaps goalkeeper — so expect quite a few trades before next season. Greening could be used in a package to get a higher profile player, but Skinner will likely prefer to have the 22-year-old on his team. She needs to improve in a few key areas but should remain a key part of the team if she is here next season. Expect about the same amount of games played, and for Greening to grow significantly in her sophomore season.


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