Some good news came from the Orlando Pride’s training session at Moores Station Thursday.
“[Alex Morgan] should be fit for the start of the season,” Pride head coach Tom Sermanni told media Thursday.
Morgan, who aggravated a hip-pointer injury in a preseason friendly against the University of Florida Gators, was called up to the United States women’s national team for two friendly matches against Colombia.
“I hope not,” said Sermanni half-jokingly, when asked if he thought Morgan would start the international matches. “The key thing for us is for her to be fit for our game. I think if there’s any degree of risk, it’d be unwise to play her in a friendly game against Colombia.”
Unfortunately for Morgan, this isn’t her first setback from injury. In July 2015, California native underwent arthroscopic surgery on her right knee.
In two preseason matches, Morgan scored six goals. The 26-year-old U.S. star also saw meaningful international action in the SheBelieves Cup in early March.
The Pride open up their inaugural National Women’s Soccer League season with a visit to the Portland Thorns on April 17 at 4 p.m. EST.
Sermanni focused on team form, not Portland
Ahead of the Pride’s first match in the NWSL, Sermanni emphasized a focus on the team’s form first and not its opening day opponent.
“We’re focusing on how we want to play,” Sermanni said. “And we are focused, but we’re not focused at the moment in saying, ‘We know this player is going to be playing here, so this is what we’re going to do against that player.’ … You know, we’ve got three starting players not here at the moment. So, the focus is about us getting ourselves organized, and then the next step will be [on Portland].”
With new additions like Australian international teamer Laura Alleway, the team is still learning to form that chemistry.
Said Sermanni about Alleway: “[She has] real power, strength, good soccer ability… She brings us international experience now and that kind of quality.”
Alleway, who played for Melbourne City FC in the Australian W-League last season, played under Sermanni for the Australian women’s national team in the 2011 and 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Most recently, she helped her country to a berth in the 2016 Olympic Games.
Pulis ‘relishing’ opportunity to play Louisville
Orlando City B (0-1-1, 1 point) will travel for the first time this season, as they face Louisville City FC (1-1-0, 3 points). OCB head coach Anthony Pulis considers it one of the toughest road matches his squad could have faced for its first road game.
“It’s going to be a tough game,” Pulis said. “It’s so much like a baptism of fire for some of our younger boys for their first road game in USL… It’s a challenge I’m relishing. I’m hoping the players are going to relish it, as well.”
Despite the nerves surrounding the team’s first road match, Pulis isn’t changing any of the preparation for Friday’s match, either mentally or physically. The OCB manager said that the only difference between this week and the previous two weeks is that his team now has to get on a plane.
“The focus is that we’ve prepared exactly the same way this week as have done any week,” Pulis said. “The way that we manage our week — from a physical standpoint, a mental standpoint, technically, tactically — everything’s been the same.”
The Lions’ minor-league squad will be without Tony Rocha, who drew a red card last match, and potentially Lewis Neal, who is a match-time decision.
OCB play Louisville City at 7:30 p.m.
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