The Orlando Pride acquired forward Ally Watt from OL Reign on Aug. 15 in exchange for $125,000 in Allocation Money. The Pride needed to improve a dismal attack and taking a chance on a 25-year-old former first-round draft choice seemed a worthwhile investment. Watt is a player with tantalizing pace who had her professional development stymied early in her career due to knee injuries.
Finally healthy, Watt returned to the field in 2023 and Orlando acquired her from the Reign to bolster the team’s offense.
Let’s take a look at how she fared in her first season in Orlando.
Watt played in six matches with the Pride, starting one and playing 219 minutes. She scored one goal but did not add any assists, taking nine shots and getting four of those on target. Her 68% passing rate could have been better, but most of her passing is done in the attacking half and much of that is in the final third, where spaces are tighter, and it bears mentioning that in only six matches she hardly had time to become familiar with her teammates. Watt won six tackles and two interceptions. She committed four fouls and drew one and was offside once. She was not booked. Because the league site has combined her season stats, I’m not able to provide as much detail as usual for Watt’s season.
Watt’s best outing was her first with the Pride, and it was surprisingly one of her shortest appearances since joining Orlando. Coming off the bench in the 64th minute against NJ/NY Gotham FC on Aug. 20, Watt showed off what she could do on her Pride debut. She scored her first Pride goal just nine minutes after entering and it proved to be the decisive strike in a 2-1 win. She took a pass from Meggie Dougherty Howard, took a touch to her right to open up space, then slotted a perfect shot inside the far post for the goal.
Watt attempted two shots, putting both on target. Her pace and movement was a problem for Gotham and it was a solid debut with her new team.
2022 Final Grade
With just 219 minutes played since joining Orlando, Watt doesn’t meet the minimum requirements to fairly grade for the 2022 season. The Mane Land staff will give her an incomplete rating for the year. While she brought a different dimension to the Orlando attack, it’s difficult to judge her overall impact given the fact that she averaged only 36.5 minutes per game across six matches.
Per the Orlando Pride’s game notes, Watt is under contract through the 2023 season. Her speed makes her an intriguing asset for the Pride’s attack and, if she can stay healthy, she should be in a position to earn a lot of minutes next season, either as a starting forward / wing player or a sub to come off the bench against tired defenders, where her pace will be an even bigger attribute. Watt’s injury history has slowed her development but her upside remains as high as it was when the North Carolina Courage made her the No. 6 overall selection in the 2020 NWSL Draft. We expect her to have a bigger role with the Pride next season.