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2019 Orlando Pride Season in Review: Ashlyn Harris

The goalkeeper completed her fourth season with the Pride and third as captain.

SOCCER: AUG 17 NWSL - Utah Royals FC at Orlando Pride Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Ashlyn Harris completed her fourth season with the Orlando Pride and her third as captain since being selected with the team’s second pick in the 2015 NWSL Expansion Draft from the Washington Spirit. With the FIFA Women’s World Cup in the middle of the season and Harris serving as Alyssa Naeher’s backup for the United States Women’s National Team, she missed much of the 2019 season.

The Pride goalkeepers were called upon several times this season to keep the team in games, resulting in 10 Save of the Week honors. Harris won the distinction in Week 1, 19, 22, and 24. Here’s a closer look at Harris’ 2019 season.

Statistical Breakdown

Harris started the first three games of the season for the Pride before she left to join the USWNT. She was replaced by Haley Kopmeyer for the next 10 NWSL games until her return on July 20 against Sky Blue FC. After returning, she started 10 of the team’s 11 remaining games, only missing the Oct. 5 clash with the Washington Spirit as she was an unused sub the next day for the U.S. Women’s National Team against South Korea.

In total, Harris played 13 games for the Pride, accumulating 1,170 minutes. The team went 2-8-3 in Harris’ starts and she faced 85 shots in those 13 games — nearly seven shots per game. She made 58 saves, conceding 27 goals. Her save percentage of 68.2% was slightly better than Kopmeyer, who saved 47 of 70 shots (67.1%). Harris’ lone clean sheet was the team’s only clean sheet of the season, occurring in her first game back when the Pride defeated Sky Blue FC 1-0.

Most balls into the box were punched away by Harris, with the goalkeeper punching nine and catching three. She dropped two during the season. Harris played a total of 216 long passes forward out of her box. Of those clearances, 95 balls, or 44% of those attempted. reached one of her teammates. Additionally, she played the ball out of the back 150 times, only misplaying the pass six times. The 144 completed short passes out of the back gave her a 65.3% completion rate.

Best Game

While Harris did have a clean sheet after her return from the World Cup, her best game would have to be on Sept. 11 against the Chicago Red Stars. Despite conceding a goal in the 1-0 loss, she had seven saves. That was her season high and kept her team in the game. In her only shutout performance, she worked much less, only needing to make a pair of saves.

The Chicago game nearly gave Harris her second clean sheet on the season. It was scoreless five minutes into injury time before the visitors finally struck. Casey Short beat a flat-footed Dani Weatherholt to the ball to head home the Sam Kerr cross. Harris got a hand to the ball but it would’ve taken an extremely quick reaction as the header came from eight yards out. Despite not getting a shutout, Harris made some big saves.

The final strike was the 19th shot by the Red Stars in that game, as they out-shot the Pride, 19-10. While the Pride only had one shot on goal in the game, the Red Stars had nine. It was a disappointing loss for the home team, which was just seconds from a scoreless draw, but would’ve been much worse if not for the strong play by the veteran goalkeeper.

2019 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff gave Harris a grade of 6 for the 2019 season. She made some mistakes that resulted in goals but kept her team in most of the games she played. Other than Marta, no other Pride player made as big of an impact on the team this season than Harris. That’s why she was one of the few players that ended with a grade higher than 5.

2020 Outlook

Harris has been one of the leaders of this team in its four years of existence. She’s been one of the league’s best goalkeepers throughout her career, which now spans over 100 games. She’ll likely miss out on some of the 2020 season as she likely will travel to Tokyo to take part in the Summer Olympics with the USWNT, but she will be an integral part of the team while she’s home.

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