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2021 Orlando Pride Season in Review: Alex Morgan

Despite missing games due to the Olympics and injury, Alex Morgan had five goals during the 2021 NWSL season.

Racing Louisville FC v Orlando Pride Photo by Jeremy Reper/ISI Photos/Getty Images

The 2021 NWSL season was Alex Morgan’s sixth with the Orlando Pride. The star forward got off to a flying start before leaving for the Olympics. Unfortunately, she got injured during the bronze medal game, resulting in several missed games after her return.

Despite the time she missed, Morgan still had a strong season. Let’s take a look at her 2021 campaign.

Statistical Breakdown

Alex Morgan missed the first two games of the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup while she was with the U.S. National Team. However, she returned in time to play the final two cup games in preparation for the regular season.

Morgan played all 90 minutes in both of those games. She put three of her four total shots on target, but was unable to find the back of the net. However, she assisted Sydney Leroux for the lone goal in a 1-0 win over the Washington Spirit, the only Pride win of the tournament.

The forward successfully completed 29 of her 49 passes (59.2%) in the Challenge Cup and one of her three long passes (33.3%). Her passing accuracy was 53.7% in the opposing half and she made four key passes in the attack.

As you would expect from a striker in limited games, Morgan didn’t have much of a defensive impact. She recorded one clearance and four interceptions during the Challenge Cup. Additionally, she was successful in two of her four tackles (50%), 14 of her 21 duels (66.7%), and five of her seven aerial duels (71.4%).

Morgan was a regular starter in the beginning of the regular season, starting seven of the first eight games. The only game she didn’t start prior to departing for the Olympics was on June 23 in Kansas City. Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner left Morgan at home as he started the players that would still be around during the Olympics.

An injury during the bronze medal game of the Olympics left Morgan out of several games upon her return. Her first time back in the game day squad was on Sept. 11 against Racing Louisville FC when she came on in the 61st minute. She started the remaining five games and played every minute.

In the end, Morgan played in 13 games (12 starts) and recorded 1,109 minutes. She wasn’t substituted in any of those games.

Morgan got off to a great start in the regular season, scoring in each of the first four games. She was responsible for four of the first six goals, which resulted in three wins and a draw in the first four games. She ended the season with five goals, second behind Sydney Leroux’s eight, from 32 shots and 16 on target. She added two assists during the regular season.

The striker could’ve had more goals on the season but missed the two penalties she took. The first was on May 30 against Kansas City at Exploria Stadium. The second was a terrible penalty on Oct. 13 away to the Chicago Red Stars that completely missed the target.

Morgan completed 178 of her 275 passes (64.7%) this season, and five of her 19 long passes (26.3%). Most of her passes came in the opposing half and she successfully completed 55.2% of them. Additionally, she had 10 key passes.

Defensively, she had three clearances, four blocks, and four interceptions in those 13 appearances. She won 12 of her 17 tackles (70.6%), 76 of her 159 duels (47.8%), and 29 of her 53 aerial duels (54.7%).

Best Game

Morgan’s best game came on May 22 in a 2-1 win over the North Carolina Courage. Leroux gave the Pride the lead in the 36th minute and Morgan doubled the lead in the 79th minute with her second goal of the season.

The forward was heavily involved in the action, recording 51 touches and 28 passes, completing 64.3% of them. She took three shots in the game, putting two on target, and created a pair of chances.

In addition to her goal, her shots and shots on target were season highs. Her pair of created chances were her fifth most of the year. She also had her second-most touches, third-most passes, and fifth-highest passing accuracy of the 2021 season.

2021 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff gave Morgan a composite score of 6 for the 2021 NWSL season. While she started off great, she suffered an injury that kept her out and missed some excellent scoring chances. Additionally, she missed the only two penalties she took this year, which affected her final grade. The Pride’s five straight losses to end the season and crash out of the playoff race were all games without a Morgan goal, even though the star striker played 90 minutes in all of them.

2022 Outlook

Morgan is a federation player so she’s allocated to the Pride by U.S. Soccer. She continues to be a key part of the national team so that status is likely to remain during the 2022 season. It’s likely that the only way she won’t remain on the Pride roster is if the Southern California native decides to return home and play for Angel City FC. If that is the case, the Pride will do what is typical in the league and trade her NWSL rights.

Assuming Morgan returns to the Pride for a seventh year, she’ll be one of the primary attacking targets, along with Leroux. She might’ve lost her penalty-taking duties this year with her two misses, but will be depended upon to provide much of the offense.


Previous Season in Review Articles (Date Posted)