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2021 Orlando Pride Season in Review: Ali Krieger

A look back at the veteran’s fifth season with the Pride.

NJ/NY Gotham City FC v Orlando Pride Photo by Jeremy Reper/ISI Photos/Getty Images

The Orlando Pride acquired Ali Krieger in a trade with the Washington Spirit on Nov. 2, 2016 prior to the start of the club’s second season in the NWSL. The Dumfries, VA native played her college career at Penn State University, starting all 94 matches she played for the Nittany Lions, scoring 12 goals and recording 19 assists. Krieger played for the Washington Freedom and FFC Frankfurt before returning as an allocated player on the 2013 Washington Spirit for the NWSL’s inaugural season.

Krieger’s role has shifted as she has gotten older, and she is playing more center back for Orlando. She has a ton of experience and is smart in how she plays the ball. Let’s take a look back at her fifth season with the Pride.

Statistical Breakdown

Krieger played all but one minute of the first three matches in the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup. She came off in the 89th minute of the match against her former club, the Washington Spirit, due to a nasty fall. She was under concussion protocol for the final match. Krieger logged 269 minutes without a goal or an assist, though that’s not unusual for a defender. She passed at a 67% rate (82.7% in her own half), and completed eight of 20 long passes (40%). Krieger had one successful cross and two key passes.

Defensively, she made five clearances and three interceptions, winning two of three tackle attempts (66.7%), 11 of 20 duels (55%), and despite not being very tall, five of six aerial duels (83.3%). She committed three fouls over the three matches and was not booked.

In the regular season, Krieger appeared in 23 of 24 matches (all starts), playing right back three times and center back 20 times. She was subbed off only three times all season and logged 1,968 minutes. Krieger took two shots (neither on target), did not score a goal, and had two assists. She completed five successful crosses on the year, with 12 key passes, passing at a rate of 78.4% (88.6% in her own half and 56.3% in the attacking half). She played 49.4% of her passes forward, passing backward only 4% of the time with the remainder to the left or right.

On the defensive end, Krieger finished with 105 clearances, nine blocks, and 28 interceptions. She won 12 of 20 tackle attempts (60%), 48 of 82 duels (58.5%), and 20 of 37 aerial duels (54.1%). Krieger committed 10 fouls, and suffered five, earning two yellow cards on the season but was not sent off.

Best Game

Krieger’s best match was the Pride’s 2-0 win over the Chicago Red Stars on Aug. 8. She played the full 90 minutes, and provided a perfect long pass to get the assist on Jodie Taylor’s first goal for the Pride.

Krieger played well defensively throughout the match, and made an important defensive play in the 85th minute as Sarah Luebbert tried to pull a goal back for the Red Stars. She and the rest of the defense had a lot to deal with given the opposition had more shots (14-8), corners (12-3), and crosses (37-8) than the Pride. Krieger committed one foul, suffered one foul, and took one corner kick in addition to the assist.

The win ended a six-game winless streak, and gave Becky Burleigh her first win as interim coach.

2021 Final Grade

For the 2021 season, Krieger gets a composite grade of 6 from The Mane Land staff. She played as a center back in 20 of her 23 matches, though traditionally she’s been a right back. Evidently various coaches believed her experience was needed at center back, which is why she was moved inside. That she was the better option at center back speaks to the Pride’s quality on the back line. Despite that, she did the best she could given the circumstances, and her quality as a leader on the defense is not in question.

2022 Outlook

As an allocated player for the USWNT, Krieger’s salary is not paid by Orlando. Whether she will remain an allocated player going forward is unknown and she’s fallen out of the USWNT picture a bit in 2021. If not, is the 37-year-old someone who the Pride might sign to a short-term contract? Depending on what General Manager Ian Fleming and the new coach want to do, having a veteran like Krieger help during the transition period might be a smart move.

If Krieger isn’t signed, she has already made a partial move into the sideline reporter position for Orlando, and that could be where she ends up if her wife, Ashlyn Harris, is retained by the club. She may could have designs on coaching.

Previous Season in Review Articles (Date Posted)