Alex Morgan is back! Maybe... The USWNT star and the Orlando Pride's former undisputed headline player is back in the 18 for today's match against the Red Stars. But will she play? That remains to be seen.
The Pride have been playing very well as of late with goals coming from a number of different players. Of course Marta has been magic on the ball--both in terms of creating chances for herself and teammates, as well as putting goals on the scoreboard. And her presence has helped others like Chioma Ubogagu, Camila, and Jasmyne Spencer score multiple goals, as well as getting several other players on the board. If Marta and Morgan share time on the pitch, the result could be something truly incredible if the chemistry is right. Both women have experience on national teams where they are important cogs in a larger machine, but both are also used to being the number one go-to player on their club teams, so we'll just have to see how the personalities blend under Tom Sermanni's guidance.
[EDITED] The Red Stars and Pride are both coming off midweek matches on Wednesday, which is more unusual for NWSL sides than it is in MLS. The Pride traveled to New Jersey and won the match 3 -2, while Chicago had to go all the way to Seattle and lost to the Reign by the count of 2 -1. We have seen how Orlando City SC has struggled with multi-match weeks in recent months, so we'll have to see how the ladies handle that stress.
One good point in the favor of the home side is that they did not have to travel across time zones for the midweek match, while the Red Stars have had to come all the way from the west coast, likely without a stop at home in between the two games. Another point in favor of the Pride is home cooking. The home stadium has been good for the teams in purple generally, so I'm going to say that it will help the team get a result. Of course, the ladies were so sad last home match that I was on the road and couldn't attend the match in person that it really affected their ability to play and they lost. Sadly, I am still in Utah with Go90 ready to watch the match, so I will have to cheer them on from afar again.
In the end, though, I think my purple-clad brothers and sisters in the stands will help the team perform well, and I'm looking for a 3 - 1 win today--I think the extra travel and time zone changes will be more of a burden on the Red Stars.
What are your thoughts on the match? Will the team be able to get a result and will Alex Morgan come onto the pitch as a sub in the second half? Or will the Red Stars prove tough enough to overcome the extra travel and home pitch advantage to steal all 3 points? Let me know in the comments below!