Kerry Abello was selected by the Orlando Pride with the 24th overall selection in the 2021 NWSL Draft out of Penn State. The midfielder elected to return for her fifth year of college eligibility rather than joining the Pride last year. Prior to the 2022 NWSL season, Abello signed a two-year deal with the Pride and joined the team’s supplemental roster.
Let’s take a closer look at the rookie season for the midfielder.
Abello played in three of the Pride’s six NWSL Challenge Cup games this year, starting one. She played a total of 152 minutes, completing 38 of her 56 passes (67.9%) but just one of four long passes. She made two key passes and had one assist in the preseason tournament, but failed to connect on any of her five crosses in open play. The attacker took two shots with one being on target and did not score a goal. Defensively, she contributed two clearances and an interception. Abellow won one of two tackle attempts (50%) and eight of 12 duels (66.7%), but neither of her two aerial duels. She won two fouls without committing any and was not booked.
When the regular season began, Abello featured regularly for the Pride. She played in 21 of the team’s 22 games and started 12 but did not record a goal or an assist. In total, she was on the field for 1,041 minutes. The left-sided midfielder took 14 shots on goal during the NWSL regular season with five on target. The rookie completed 226 of her 322 passes (70.2%), eight of her 22 long balls (36.4%), and four key passes, but continued to struggle with crossing accuracy, completing just five of 32. Her passing was much more accurate in her own half of the field (74.7%) than in the opposing half (55.7%). Abello tallied nine clearances and eight interceptions. She won 15 of 30 tackle attempts (50%), just 44.6% of her 139 duels, and eight of 17 (47.1%) aerial duels. She won nine fouls and conceded 14, picking up two yellow cards.
Abello’s best game was on Aug. 7 against Angel City FC. The Pride entered the game on a four-game unbeaten run. Abello was active in this game, recording a season-high three shots, though none were on target. But it wasn’t the attempts on goal that stood out.
The Pride went down in the 40th minute but came back with a goal by substitute Julie Doyle in the 64th minute. However, the visitors took the lead in the 72nd minute and the Pride were trailing nearing injury time.
In the 90th minute, quick passing by Courtney Petersen and Meggie Dougherty Howard saw the latter send the ball out to the left for an oncoming Abello. The midfielder sent her best cross of the season into the box for Doyle inside the six-yard box.
Not so fast! @ORLPride equalize in the 90th! pic.twitter.com/FheWBEkRjZ— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) August 8, 2022
Paige Nielsen ended up getting the touch for an own goal so Abello didn’t get credited with an assist. But it was an extremely dangerous ball that likely would’ve ended up on the foot of a Pride player had Nielsen not gotten to it first. The goal saw the Pride pull out a 2-2 draw and extend their unbeaten run to five games.
2022 Final Grade
The Mane Land staff gives Abello a composite grade of 5 out of 10 for the 2022 NWSL season. She was dangerous going forward on the left and created plenty of chances, although her crossing accuracy was an issue at times. Her grade could have been higher had she shot more accurately. She hit the target just five times despite taking 14 shots (excluding blocked shots), the fourth-most unblocked shots on the team. The lack of finishing pulls her grade down a little.
Abello is signed through next season, so we expect her back with the Pride next year. If she continues to develop, she could be a key contributor to the Pride for years to come. At only 23 years old, her best years should still be ahead. Her young age and potential make her a great fit for this new Pride team. She mainly came off the bench early in the season but was a regular starter under Interim Head Coach Seb Hines. Depending on what the Pride do this off-season, she could be a regular starter again in 2023, but Orlando will need more production from someone playing on the left wing to be competitive next season.
Previous Season in Review Articles (Date Posted)
- Kaylie Collins (10/11/22)
- Parker Roberts (10/13/22)
- Haley Bugeja (10/14/22)
- Anna Moorhouse (10/15/22)
- Thais Reiss (10/15/22)
- Marta (10/16/22)
- Chelsee Washington (10/18/22)
- Ally Watt (10/18/22)
- Haley Hanson (10/19/22)
- Jordyn Listro (10/20/22)
- Leah Pruitt (10/21/22)
- Carrie Lawrence (10/22/22)
- Erika Tymrak (10/23/22)
- Julie Doyle (10/24/22)
- Darian Jenkins (10/25/22)
- Viviana Villacorta (10/26/22)
- Toni Pressley (10/27/22)
- Celia (10/28/22)