In this weekly column, I will update news that has come out during the week. This is also where I go out on a limb and try to foresee the Starting XI and formation that Coach Sermanni will deploy for the match.
New Roster Addition
During the week the Orlando Pride announced a new addition to the roster. The club traded a third-round draft pick in the 2019 draft for Defender Lotta Ökvist, whose rights were acquired from the Houston Dash. Ökvist is from Sweden and has had an eventful offseason. After making 25 appearances for Swedish side Pitea IF, Ökvist was acquired by the Boston Breakers before that club went defunct. Then the Dash acquired her in the dispersal draft, and finally, her rights have been traded to Orlando.
The addition brings the Orlando Pride roster to 21, but under terms of the dispersal draft from the Breakers, Ökvist will not count against the club's salary cap or roster maximum. So this means the Pride has become an even deeper team. The 21-year-old Ökvist has international experience as well. She played on Sweden's 2015-16 UEFA U-19 Women’s Championship. Prior to that, she was also a member of Sweden’s U-17 Women’s National Team.
Camila's Rehab Continues
Camila became a fan favorite in 2017 and had a devastating knee injury at the end of the season. At Monday's "Pride in the House" event, she received ovations from the crowd as she was jogging around the pitch with one of the team trainers. She did not participate in training drills with the rest of the team, but her activity shows that she is progressing toward health. She will start the season on the 45-Day Disabled List, so the club is not rushing her to be back on the pitch until she is completely healed and ready.
Pride in the House
Speaking of Pride in the House, check out the Gallery of photos I've posted from Monday night's event. Remember we are also on Instagram, and you can follow us there at lionsteethblog. I try to post photos in real time on the Instagram account and eventually post some here on the blog as well.
One of the ways you quickly learn about gender inequity is by following sports. I'm someone who loves stats in my sports and digging up details. In the world of global football there are no end to sites that are easily accessible and searchable to find just about every detail you want on most male football players, but the details are not so easy to find on women's teams and players. If anyone knows of a good non-subscription site that tracks detials like the passes, blocks, tackles, heatmaps, duels, and other details for NWSL matches, contact me and let me know.
All that preamble is to say that with a team as rich in talent as the Orlando Pride, it's hard to guess what Tom Sermanni may do for an opening weekend starting lineup. I'm going to post my guess below, but I am by no means certain if I'll have the formation or the actual lineup correct. By studying the stats available for MLS players it's a bit easier to guess the OCSC lineups. At least when we don't have players missing for International Duty, predicting Pride lineups is going to be a bit of a crapshoot for me. As for this week, I'm predicting a 4-5-1 formation with Alex Morgan on the pointy end of the formation, with both Sydney Leroux and Marta in attacking midfield positions. In reality, my 4-5-1 could easily be a disguised 4-3-3, and I've even seen some people call for Tom to go with a 3-5-2 formation. Frankly, none of those options would surprise me, since the versatility of the players on the roster would support any of those formations, in my opinion.
Look for my Preview and Prediction post tomorrow. I'll be downtown all afternoon on Saturday, and you may find me doing a Facebook live video at some point with other Pride fans to discuss our thoughts on the match tomorrow evening.
What kind of formation do you think Tom Sermanni is going to put on the pitch tomorrow? If you could ask Tom to put your dream lineup in the match, who would have in your Starting XI? Let me know in the comments below!