Orlando Pride Tom Sermanni knew Sydney Leroux would eventually open her Pride scoring account.
Leroux, in her first season with the Pride after being acquired from Utah Royals FC, was doing other things just fine – she’s been a particularly active defender this season. Still, until last Saturday’s game against the Red Stars, Leroux was without a goal.
She changed that about 10 minutes after coming off the bench. She subbed on in the 52nd minute and scored her first goal of the season – a header off a ball from Ali Krieger – in the 62nd minute. Then, for good measure, she added a second goal two minutes later during a 5-2 victory over Chicago.
“Obviously, it feels good to get those kind of off my back,” she said. “I’m excited to move forward.”
The first goal of Leroux’s Pride career was also the NWSL Goal of the Week.
“I would have to share that one with Krieger because that ball was like, perfect,” Leroux said with a smile. “It was a good ball in and I got my head on it and we were able to win.”
Sermanni said Leroux has put in hard work from the moment she arrived in Orlando and that work was finally rewarded with a goal in the match against the Red Stars.
“She’s become extremely high-maintenance,” Sermanni joked. “She can stroll about now that [she’s] scored two goals.”
Speaking seriously, Sermanni said, “She’s always been a handful to play against. The thing that was frustrating her, obviously, is that she hadn’t score the goal, but she was doing all the other stuff that we wanted her to do.
“Now that she’s made that breakthrough, I think you’ll see her even more confident, even more of a handful and even more dominant.”
Injuries piling up
Krieger was ruled out earlier in the week with a knee injury, but Friday’s NWSL injury report revealed more Pride players who will miss time.
Pro Soccer USA previously reported Brazilian star Marta was dealing with calf soreness. She’ll miss the Pride’s Sunday match against the Seattle Reign due to a left calf strain.
Forward Rachel Hill, who has two goals in the Pride’s past two matches, is also out with a left groin strain.
Centerback Monica (right knee soreness) and defensive midfielder Toni Pressley (left quad strain) are both questionable for Sunday’s match.
Elinsky, Shimer sign deals
The Pride on Friday announced midfielder Abby Elinsky and goalkeeper Sarah Shimer have been signed as National Team Replacement Players. Elinsky was signed as a replacement player during April. She appeared in two matches for the Pride.
This is Shimer’s first professional opportunity since being drafted by the Houston Dash in the 2018 NWSL College Draft, though she is frequently at training with the Pride. She played college soccer at Washington, where she set the Huskies’ single-season record with 11 shutouts during her senior year.