Why I Believe Alex Morgan's North London Renaissance Could Be Great News For The Orlando Pride
Updated: Dec 19, 2020
Make no mistake about it, the Orlando Pride haven't seen Alex Morgan's best form for a while. Even the most ardent 'Morganista' would have a hard time arguing otherwise. Obviously the striker missed the entirety of the 2020 season. As did the rest of the squad, it's OK; I'm still upset about it too. Pregnancy and the Coronavirus pandemic have meant we haven't seen the Boss suit up in over a year. The popular forward also missed large chunks of 2018 and 2019 through injury, meaning she only featured 25 times across both seasons; scoring 5 times. All of those came in 2018. It's not a record befitting a player as decorated as Morgan. We are talking about a player who has in excess of 100 goals for her country, and she's still only 31. There's still plenty more left in the tank. Whilst I'd stop short of saying she's the best striker in the world; I think Arsenal's Vivianne Miedema is most deserving of that particular title, she's certainly up there.
The Coronavirus pandemic threw a spanner in the works for the collective soccer world. Things got a little crazy, didn't they? Even Morgan herself admits she never saw the move to Spurs coming. Despite her move to North London, I think she will be back in Orlando for 2021. What makes me say that? Well, a number of things. First of all, Alex's husband, Servando Carrasco, signed with Beckham FC's USL affiliate Inter Fort Lauderdale (weird right? It's almost as if they know?). The move seemed, at least to me, indicate Morgan's intention to stay in Central Florida. At least for one more year. Servando impressed for Fort Lauderdale, so it would be surprising if they didn't pick him up for a second year. Especially when you consider they are led by his former Orlando City head coach, Jason Kreis. Fort Lauderdale should (Covid pending) be getting their season underway in the spring, shortly before Morgan finishes her stint in England. Sticking around Central Florida would make a whole lot of sense for them both. Morgan will also want to hit the Olympics with a bit of form, so featuring with the Pride (who begin their regular season in mid-May) would be mutually beneficial. Long story short... Both Alex and Servando should be registered to clubs in Central Florida for the 2021 season. And with baby Charlie to consider, you have to fancy Central Florida is where they'll stay. At least for now. There's been much talk surrounding Angel City, but with LA's maiden NWSL side not set to make their bow until 2022, such discussions are a little way off.
Alex Morgan isn't quite finished in Orlando. Not yet.
Now, I hear you saying it. She's going to miss large chunks of the NWSL season with Olympic and USWNT duty. And you're absolutely correct. The Tokyo games take place between the 23rd July and 8th August. There will doubtless be warm-up games, and potentially a victory tour. Based on the last games in 2016, we can probably expect her to be absent for a few weeks beforehand. She'll possibly have 4-6 weeks to make an impact with the Pride. And for a player of Alex Morgan's calibre, that should be enough time to have a significant affect on the team's season. She'll have the wind in her sails from having played a full-season in the FAWSL, with another gold medal firmly in her sights. We could be about to witness peak Alex Morgan, again. And that should be an exciting prospect for everyone connected with the club.
Now, the Pride haven't exactly covered themselves in glory lately. Let's be honest. Fear not though, brighter times are on the horizon. He says... In all seriousness, and assuming the Pride hold on to their assets, this could be the team's strongest ever roster. With players like Ali Riley and Jade Moore finally set to don the hallowed purp... You have to think better times aren't too far away. Which could lend itself well to Alex showing her best form at Exploria Stadium. The Pride's roster is arguably stronger than the one Morgan currently features in.
This Spurs team is not a great side. The name Tottenham Hotspur carries a fair amount of weight in the world of global soccer. Mainly due to the exploits of messrs Bale, Kane and Mourinho. Whilst the club's male team frolics at the summit of the Premier League table, their female counterparts are struggling to stay afloat. Rehanne Skinner's team languish in 9th place, 3 places above Bristol City in last place. This is a team that only came up from the Championship in 2019, so Morgan's signing was seen as a huge coup. It was the equivalent of Christian Pulisic signing for West Bromwich Albion. Whilst the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City are stacked with talent, Spurs' 3 best players were all with the Pride last season. Alanna Kennedy, Alex Morgan and Shelina Zadorsky are the standout names on this roster. In an attacking sense, Morgan doesn't have the ammunition behind her that players like Ellen White and Sam Kerr enjoy. This just makes Morgan's form all the more impressive.
Alex has impressed recently whilst playing for Spurs.
Despite the distinct lack of quality around her, Morgan has begun to find her feet in the league. Consecutive penalties against Brighton and Aston Villa mean she actually jointly leads the team in goals scored. Which sort of tells its own story, 9 games into the season. She also chimed in with a very smart looking assist for Ria Percival against Villa. Morgan is undoubtedly beginning to find her best form, which has coincided with their recent renaissance under new head coach Rehanne Skinner.
If Morgan keeps this sort of form up, and indeed improves upon it, she will be re-joining Orlando in fine fettle. That can only be a good thing for Marc Skinner's team. She will come back a better player, having proved herself in a very tough, and physically intense league. All whilst playing for a team that is someway short of the league's very best. Dare I say, she'll have much more to work with in Orlando. With the team finally having a solid spine with the likes of Ali Riley and Jade Moore complementing Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger at the back, the Pride are better positioned to maintain possession for their creative types to get on the ball. And with an in-form Alex Morgan up top, we could finally see her at her brilliant best whilst wearing purple again.
Highlights of Tottenham's recent victory over Aston Villa.
Edit: there is currently fresh confusion pertaining to the length of Alex's contract. At the time of writing it was believed that Alex was due to stay at the club for one year. However, we now understand Alex has an option to return to Orlando before December 31st. As we understand it negotiations between the concerned parties are on-going. 19/12/20.