Marta, Krieger hon­ored

Orlando Sentinel - - BASEBALL / SOCCER -

Brazil­ian star and de­fender head­line a group of four Or­lando Pride play­ers who earned Na­tional Women's Soc­cer League post­sea­son hon­ors.

Marta and Krieger were named to the NWSL Best XI an­nounced Thurs­day by the league.

“This is a well-de­served recog­ni­tion for both Marta and Ali,” Pride coach

said. “Both play­ers have been in­cred­i­ble lead­ers and cat­a­lysts for our team, both on and off the pitch, and I’m de­lighted they are re­ceiv­ing this honor for their tremen­dous week-in and week-out per­for­mances this sea­son." Or­lando Pride for­ward and de­fender earned sec­ond-team hon­ors.

The awards were voted on by club of­fi­cials, play­ers, fans and me­dia who con­sis­tently cover NWSL.

Marta has made a ma­jor im­pact on the Pride since join­ing the club in March. The five-time FIFA World Player of the Year’s ball skills helped her fin­ish among Pride play­ers and sec­ond in the league with 13 goals and six as­sists.

Marta and Mor­gan clicked, help­ing fuel the first play­off run in fran­chise his­tory. They com­bined to cre­ate five goals dur­ing the Pride’s nine-game un­beaten run to fin­ish the reg­u­lar sea­son. Marta also men­tored 23-year-old Brazil­ian mid­fielder help­ing the third-year pro be­come a valu­able play­maker for the Pride and the Brazil na­tional team.

Marta was named to the NWSL Team of the Month each month from June through Septem­ber, earn­ing Septem­ber NWSL Player of the Month.

Krieger, who signed with the Pride in Novem­ber af­ter pre­vi­ously play­ing for the Wash­ing­ton Spirit, was the only Pride player to ap­pear in all 2,250 min­utes in the reg­u­lar and post­sea­son. The U.S. women’s na­tion­al­team de­fender brought key lead­er­ship to the Pride back line. Krieger played a ma­jor role in the trans­for­ma­tion of the Pride de­fense.

Krieger also added two as­sists and has reached the NWSL play­offs each of her last four years in the league, help­ing the Pride to their first post­sea­son ap­pear­ance in 2017.

Mor­gan, 28, joined the Pride in June af­ter open­ing the sea­son with French side Olympique Ly­on­nais. The U.S. women’s na­tion­al­team for­ward fin­ished sec­ond on the team with nine goals, five of them gamewin­ners. She was named the NWSL’s Au­gust Player of the Month.

A fi­nal­ist for 2017 De­fender of the Year, Cat­ley con­tin­ued her dom­i­nance on the left side dur­ing her sec­ond sea­son with the Pride.

The 23-year-old Aus­tralian led the Pride in to­tal touches (1,667), but she showed her at­tack­ing ver­sa­til­ity down the flanks, lead­ing the Pride with 75 crosses and fin­ish­ing sec­ond with 27 chances cre­ated. The de­fender recorded two as­sists.

The North Carolina Courage and Port­land Thorns will host train­ing ses­sions open to the pub­lic to­day at Or­lando City Sta­dium ahead of their NWSL cham­pi­onship show­down Satur­day.

The Courage will train at 10 a.m. and the Thorns will train at 2 p.m. Ad­mis­sion is free and open to the pub­lic, but fans were asked to RSVP at http://nwsl.us/2g9XYQf.

Gates will open at 9:30 a.m. the Courage’s morn­ing ses­sion and at 1:30 p.m. for the Thorns’ af­ter­noon train­ing.

Fans at­tend­ing both ses­sions will be asked to clear the venue between prac­tices but will be able to reen­ter and only need to RSVP once. Fans should en­ter through Gate A. Lim­ited park­ing is avail­able around the sta­dium.

The teams will face off at 4:30 p.m. Satur­day for the NWSL ti­tle. The match will be broad­cast live on Life­time.

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