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2022 Orlando Pride Season in Review: Toni Pressley

The Pride’s only remaining player from the inaugural squad returned once again. How did Toni Pressley do in 2022?

NWSL: San Diego Wave FC at Orlando Pride Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Pride selected Toni Pressley during the 2016 NWSL Expansion Draft. The Melbourne native is the last player remaining from that inaugural squad. Pressley signed a one-year contract prior to the 2021 season with a one-year extension. With that option exercised, Pressley has been with the Pride longer than any other player.

Let’s take a look back at the veteran center back’s season in review.

Statistical Breakdown

In the 2022 Challenge Cup, Pressley made five appearances with four starts for a total of 371 minutes. She did not record a goal or an assist. She made 34 clearances, five interceptions, four blocks, and won six of her 11 duels, including four of six aerial duels. Pressley completed 115 of her 153 passes for a 75.2% passing rate, and completed 22 of her 47 long passes with two key passes. On offense, she attempted one cross and took two shots on goal with neither on target. She also committed three fouls.

In the 2022 regular season, Pressley made 17 appearances with 16 starts for a total of 1,341 minutes. Pressley was successful on six of 10 tackles, made 65 clearances, 13 interceptions, 13 blocks, and won 41 of her 62 duels and 25 of 33 aerial duels. She completed 520 of her 654 passes for a 79.5% passing rate, and completed 35 of her 125 long passes. On offense, Pressley scored one goal but did not record an assist on four shots, with two on target. She was successful on one of her two attempted crosses but contributed no key passes. She also suffered five fouls, committed seven fouls, and earned three yellow cards.

Best Game

Pressley’s best game came in the Orlando Pride’s 2-2 draw against the Kansas City Current. She went the full 90 minutes and, when it counted most, she stepped up to show leadership and poise. Sometimes, Pressley can be held accountable for the opposition’s goals, but that was not the case on either goal that night. Kansas City took the lead only a minute into second-half stoppage time, but it looked to be a winner. However, in the dying minutes of the match, Kylie Strom earned a penalty kick for the Pride and without hesitation, Pressley stepped up and took the ball. Sydney Leroux had subbed off long before, and Pressley decided that a center back was the right player to take the shot. Fortunately, she was correct and Pressley made the kick like a seasoned striker. It was her only goal on the season and it saved the Pride a point at home.

2022 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff gave Pressley a composite rating of 4.5 out of 10 for the 2022 season. She has previously received a 5.5 every season that we’ve done these pieces except in 2018, when she also received a 4.5. Despite her size, Pressley doesn’t “play big” and we just don’t see her as a viable starter. She is a decent fourth option that was pushed into the starting role too many times for a club without other options. The center back situation in 2022 was exacerbated by the season-long injury to first-round draft pick Caitlin Cosme and the drama surrounding Amy Turner and Amanda Cromwell — leading to the departure of the former Pride starter and the coach’s (eventual) termination.

There is no doubting Pressley’s toughness, her character, or her heart, but her lack of speed and quickness; tendencies of losing marks and failing to clear the box; and errant passing often do more harm than the good she brings to the pitch. For example, she conceded her fifth career penalty since joining Orlando on April 23, allowing Gotham FC to pull level and ultimately draw the Pride 1-1 in the team’s final Challenge Cup match. Our staff believes the club should continue to upgrade the center back position group this off-season. It’s an area where the Pride have struggled mightily over the years to find the right pairing or any quality depth to deal with either international absences (Laura Alleway, Monica, Ali Krieger) or injuries.

2023 Outlook

Pressley is out of contract and will need to be re-signed if she is to stay with the Pride. The Florida State product has been with the Pride since 2016 and will be 33 years old by the time the next season starts. She was not the Pride’s best option at center back in years past, nor was she in 2022, but she was sometimes the only remaining option. I expect that Orlando will continue to get younger and faster, including on defense, and that Pressley’s days with the Pride have come to an end. But we’ve thought that before.

Previous Season in Review Articles (Date Posted)