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2021 Orlando Pride Season in Review: Taylor Kornieck

The Pride’s top 2020 pick showed flashes of offensive potential, but had limited production.

SOCCER: AUG 22 NWSL - Orlando Pride at Washington Spirit Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Orlando Pride drafted Taylor Kornieck with the third overall pick of the 2020 NWSL College Draft. It was the highest selection made in Pride history. The Troy, MI native played her college career at the University of Colorado. All told, she scored 39 goals and recorded 24 assists in 82 appearances for the Buffaloes. Of those goals, 15 were game winners, and she was a perfect nine for nine from the penalty spot. She left as the University’s all-time leading scorer.

The 6-foot-1 Kornieck was brought in to bolster the Orlando Pride attack and to provide a physical presence at the front. Despite that, Kornieck is pretty good on the ball, and is willing to work defensively.

Statistical Breakdown

Kornieck started in all four of the Pride’s 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup matches for a total of 348 minutes, and was only subbed off in the match against Racing Louisville FC. Her 44th-minute header against Louisville was also her only goal of the Challenge Cup. During the regular season, she made 22 appearances, starting 13 of those, for a total of 1293 minutes.

Kornieck was primarily positioned as a striker, though she also dropped deeper and deeper into the midfield as the season went on. She registered 36 shots, with 12 on target, scored two goals, and added three assists on the season. Kornieck completed one cross, and made 13 key passes. She completed 62.8% of her 505 total passes with 53.5% accuracy in the opponent’s half, and 75.3% accuracy in her own half.

Defensively, Kornieck made 36 clearances, five blocks, and 16 interceptions in her time on the field. She had a 60.8% tackle success rate, and won 63.2% of her total duels, though she was more successful on her aerial duels, winning 76.2% of those. She committed 20 fouls, suffered 17, and earned one yellow card.

Best Game

Kornieck’s best match was the Pride’s 1-1 draw with the Washington Spirit on June 6. She played 88 minutes, and scored the equalizing goal for the Pride. It was her first goal of the regular season. She did well to bring the pass from Marta down to her feet, make a move into the area, and slot the ball into the lower left corner past two defenders and the keeper.

Kornieck really showed on that goal that she can use not just her size, but also her skill on the ball and in space to potentially be a big part of the offense. She also had four other shots that were off target, committed two fouls, and suffered one.

2021 Final Grade

Kornieck had moments where her potential showed through. She is the type of player that can be a difference maker on offense when put in the right situation. Unfortunately, she was only able to contribute three goals through all competitions, and will need to do better to convert the chances she gets. Indeed, she will need to help create some more of those chances herself. As such, she gets a grade of 6 from The Mane Land staff. She is nowhere near her ceiling, and hopefully she will get a chance to grow into the game as a target striker.

2022 Outlook

The Pride signed Kornieck to a one-year contract with one option year on Feb. 11, 2020. The club picked up her option for 2021, and she is now out of contract. Once again, it may depend on who the new head coach is as to whether Kornieck receives a new contract. She has all the physical tools needed to be a striker in NWSL, though her future in Orlando may depend on which other players are retained on offense.

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