Lineup changes came as a surprise during last Saturday’s Orlando Pride 2-0 win over the Boston Breakers at Orlando City Stadium.
Alanna Kennedy was moved up to midfield, Camila played higher up.
One change that really didn’t come to a surprise was Kristen Edmonds playing at right back.
The offensive-minded player has primarily played as a center forward or winger for the Pride since the start of last year. A position she was successful at after a team-leading six goals in 2016.
So when Edmonds was told she was playing at right back, there was no problem putting in the work.
“Playing right back is a lot of fun for me. I played it in Western New York [Flash] for two years, and I played it my last season while I was overseas, and that’s kind of where I really learned it from,” Edmonds told the Orlando Soccer Journal. “Coming into this league, obviously everything is a lot faster, so having those two years up in New York definitely helped me a lot. When they told me that I was going to be put [at right back] for this game, it was just no problem for me because I’m familiar with the role.”
The lineup changes for the Pride came at a crucial time. In the midst of only winning one of seven games to start the season, Pride head coach Tom Sermanni sought moving certain players around the field to outbeat the Breakers. That meant moving a versatile players like Edmonds to a position she doesn’t play often, but is a natural spot for her.
“There’s a couple reasons behind it. One, we felt in this particular game we wanted Ali [Krieger], particularly If we were playing Kennedy in midfield we wanted Ali Krieger at center back. Also, Kristen Edmonds came here as a full back although she hasn’t played that often,” explained Sermanni.
The Pride coach continued: “We felt that one of the things we had to change up was our midfield. I think in previous games we’ve coughed up too much possession in midfield and Kristen is a very valuable player for us. So, we wanted to fill her in somewhere where she would still be a big asset for us and I think that position she is really suited to play. In some ways it is putting her back to her natural spot.”
Longtime teammate and roommate Jasmyne Spencer, who scored the Pride’s second goal, praised Edmonds on her performance.
“Kris is like a franchise player, anywhere you put her on the field she’s going to be effective and that’s great for us,” said Spencer. “I had the pleasure of playing with her at the [Western] New York Flash so that right flank is natural to both of us.
“So it was a lot of fun today connecting with her and I think defensively as well,” she concluded. “We are used to each other’s movements so we were able to be locked down on that side which allowed us to be able to get the points today too.”
(Photo Courtesy of Orlando Pride)
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