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2019 Orlando Pride Season in Review: Bridget Callahan

The former UCF midfielder was called into action in 2019.

SOCCER: OCT 05 NWSL - Washington Spirit at Orlando Pride Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Orlando Pride originally signed midfielder Bridget Callahan as a National Team Replacement Player on March 23, 2018 but saw enough from the former UCF player to bring her back in 2019, signing her to the roster just before the season started. Callahan played only one minute for the Pride in 2018 and easily eclipsed that this year during a World Cup summer that kept nine regulars out of the lineup for a huge chunk of the season.

Here’s a look at the second-year pro’s season.

Statistical Breakdown

Callahan appeared in eight matches in 2019, starting six, and playing 496 minutes. She missed three games due to injury in the middle of the season and sat 13 times at Marc Skinner’s discretion. Callahan did not score a goal or assist on one and attempted only one shot, which was not on target. She did, however, manage one of the best passing percentages on the team, hitting accurate balls to her teammates 80.5% of the time. That was the best among all outfield players on the team in 2019 and tied with goalkeeper Lainey Burdett — who played only one game — for the team’s overall lead. She attempted only two crosses, won 50.8% of her duels, made six clearances, and committed four fouls while winning 10. She received one yellow card on the year. She had a respectable 80% tackle rate, which was second only to Marisa Viggiano’s 83.3% among Pride midfielders and only Chi Ubogagu’s 87.5% was higher on the team in 2019.

Best Game

Of Callahan’s individual game performances in 2019, I was tempted to go with one of the two times she played the full 90 minutes — her match in a 2-0 loss on May 25 at Utah. Callahan set a personal high for passes in a game (35), attempted her only shot of the season, took some decent corner kicks, pressured the ball well, and passed at a 77% rate in that match. However, she did concede a foul that led to the first Utah goal.

Instead, I’ll go with the opening match at Portland on April 14 — also a 2-0 Pride loss. In that match, Callahan started in the midfield and played 74 minutes, attempted her second-most passes on the year (32), and passed at a 90.6% rate — her second best of the year but her best with more than four attempts.

Here’s what our Jack McAwesome had to say about her performance, which he rated as a 5.5:

I thought she was pretty great on the ball, but lacked awareness on defense from time to time. In the first half alone, Horan came close to having a field day, settling right into her space and taking the shot from outside the box. There was quite a bit of promise though, and I loved her calm demeanor on the ball.

2019 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff gave Callahan a composite rating of 4 for her 2019 season. We simply didn’t see enough quality from her, which you could say about any number of players on this year’s Orlando Pride team. There were moments of quality both defensively and moving the ball forward, but not enough of them. Perhaps more consistent minutes could have helped with that. Her injury didn’t help. She had played five consecutive games for her longest run of appearances as a pro to date when she was injured on June 30 in a 3-2 loss against the Chicago Red Stars after a midfield collision with Yuki Nagasato in which the two players clashed heads. She missed three matches due to the injury but then sat out the next five as well before returning to the pitch for a nine-minute appearance on Sept. 14 against the Courage.

2020 Outlook

The Pride exercised their option on Callahan yesterday but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll see her playing for Orlando in 2020. There could still be quite a bit of movement in the off-season and — let’s face it — for a team that was this bad in 2019, there should be. Everyone on the team at season’s end is either under contract, had their option picked up, or was offered a new contract. However, it would be madness if the Pride went into 2020 without any significant changes to a roster that performed so poorly in 2019.

Thus far, Callahan has not shown a whole lot other than the ability to slot into the midfield in an emergency when a starter is unavailable. That said, this was a season in which she received her first meaningful minutes. She may yet reveal herself to be a useful player with more time and experience, but she’ll need to show something in preseason or risk falling into practice player status.


Previous Season in Review Articles (Date Posted)