The 38-player roster also includes 17 new players. Of the 17, only seven are under contract. The most significant new addition is United States Women’s National Team defender Emily Sonnett. New Zealand captain Ali Riley is another high-profile addition to the Pride. Both Sonnett and Riley could be key additions to a defense that allowed a league-high 53 goals in 2019.
Currently, 13 players are not yet with the team. Nine are on international duty, three players are in the W-League playoffs, and Alex Morgan is out indefinitely due to pregnancy.
Here is a breakdown of the roster by position:
Lainey Burdett, Jaelyn Cunningham (NRI), Ashlyn Harris (NYR; FED/USA), Erin McLeod (NYR; INTL/CAN), Brittany Wilson (NRI).
There is not much competition in the goalkeeper position. Ashlyn Harris is the number one choice in net and will be for as long as she is not on international duty. Erin McLeod will be Harris’ backup, however, there is a chance she could be called up by Canada for the Olympics. This would leave Lainey Burdett as the only goalkeeper under contract. Burdett made one appearance last season in a 3-0 loss to the Washington Spirit.
Harris, Toni Pressley, Kristen Edmonds, and Morgan are the only Orlando Pride originals left on the roster. Harris, Pressley, and Edmonds are expected to play a big part this season, while Morgan will miss a big chunk of 2020.
Edmonds has the most Orlando Pride appearances of current players and will likely become the all-time team leader by the end of the season. She is just four shy of Dani Weatherholt’s 74 appearances. Harris (63) has the most starts in Pride history. However, Edmonds (62) could also take over that spot.
Marta leads the all-time list in goals (23), while Morgan (18) is second. The current rostered player with the third most goals is, once again, Edmonds (9).
Madison Duncan (NRI), Erin Greening, Julie King, Ali Krieger (NYR; FED/USA), Carrie Lawrence, Phoebe McClernon (CDP), Courtney Petersen (CDP), Carson Pickett, Konya Plummer (CDP), Toni Pressley, Morgan Reid, Ali Riley (NYR), Cheyenne Shorts (CDP), Emily Sonnett (NYR; FED/USA), Shelina Zadorsky (NYR; FED/CAN).
The defense has an excellent opportunity to be one of the best in the league in 2020 after being extremely poor last season. The back line is loaded with international players — Ali Krieger (USA), Konya Plummer (Jamaica), Ali Riley (New Zealand), Emily Sonnett (USA), and Shelina Zadorsky (Canada). Riley and Plummer are also captains of their respective countries.
Defense has clearly been an emphasis for the Pride front office this off-season, and Head Coach Marc Skinner stated as much after training on Monday. He said that an issue in 2019 was the constant shuffling of the back line and that “in 24 games [the Pride] had 14 different back lineups, and nine different center half partnerships.”
In this group of defenders, there is also a good deal of versatility. Krieger and Sonnett should both be in the mix almost every week and can play in the center or out wide. Riley could play on either wing. Although Orlando has predominantly played in a four-back system under both Skinner and Tom Sermanni, the team has tried a three-back system. Alanna Kennedy is listed as a midfielder but has also played center back on a plethora of occasions.
Bridget Callahan, Claire Emslie (NYR; INTL/SCO), Alanna Kennedy (NYR; INTL/AUS), Taylor Kornieck (CDP), Jordyn Listro (NRI), Camila, Savanah Uveges (NRI), Emily van Egmond (NYR; INTL/AUS), Marta (NYR; INTL/BRA), Marisa Viggiano, Chelsee Washington (CDP).
The midfield might be the biggest question mark heading into the season. Marta frequently plays up top, although she arguably is better when she is in the midfield. Orlando signed Claire Emslie in the middle of last season. Emslie did well right off the bat, but could not keep that level up.
Marisa Viggiano and Bridget Callahan both had games where they were excellent, but it was clear that they were rookies last season. There was little consistency and often poor choices with the ball. If the two of them improve this season, then it would immediately help to bolster the middle of the field.
Rookie Taylor Kornieck could get a lot of game time this season. She has the physical attributes that Skinner wants, and she is a player to keep an eye out for during preseason.
Emily van Egmond and Kennedy both return to the Pride in 2020. Expectations will be high for the two Aussies. The pair has the potential to be among the best players in the league. However, that has not been seen yet.
Kristen Edmonds, Abby Elinsky, Caitlin Farrell (NYR), Kate Howarth (NRI), Abi Kim (CDP), Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan (NYR; FED/USA).
The first name that jumps out here is Edmonds. She has played just about every position for Orlando since 2016, and this season she is listed as a forward. Her versatility allows her to play many different roles, but perhaps this season will be her chance to get a grasp on one position.
Morgan will not be expected back before the Summer Olympics, but Sydney Leroux will be back this season. Having her spearhead the attack could be the missing piece for the Pride.
This is likely a make or break year for Caitlin Farrell. She rarely played in 2019 and will need to step it up to stay in Skinner’s plans. She proved in college that she is a goal scorer and now needs to prove it at the next level.
The Pride kick off the season on April 19 when they host Sky Blue FC. The play three preseason games against FSU, UCF, and USF.
CDP — 2020 NWSL College Draft pick
NRI — Non-roster invitee
NYR — Not yet reported to camp
FED — 2020 federation allocated player
INTL — International player