And then there were eight

After six Orlando Pride players and four of the staff tested positive for COVID-19 the club is out of the Cup tournament in Utah. Here’s the official announcement:

“The National Women’s Soccer League announced today that six players and four staff members with the Orlando Pride have tested positive for COVID-19. Following the NWSL positive test protocol, a second round of tests will be conducted to confirm the initial results. Due to the number of positive tests, and the timeline necessary before returning to training and competition, Orlando has withdrawn from the upcoming NWSL Challenge Cup.”

NWSL Media staff, 6/22/20

This can’t come as too huge a surprise; young players, in a state that has reopened bars, clubs, restaurants, beaches, and yet has a huge – over 100,000 – caseload of coronavirus cases? It would be more surprising if no one had contracted the pathogen.

To re-state Richard Hamje’s observation: “All of man’s monuments will have fallen to sand before Orlando gets a break.”

Then again, there’s this:

That was obviously not a good decision. Like the old knight in the Indiana Jones movie says: they chose…poorly.

Sadly, this is worse than the Pride’s shame. If this continues – and given that we’re still in the Plague Year it’s entirely possible – the entire enterprise in Utah becomes fraught. And if there is no NWSL until next April, can we feel confident that there will be an NWSL by then?

John Lawes
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15 thoughts on “And then there were eight

  1. I would not be surprised if Orlando were not the only team to have to withdraw.

    I wonder if this different from, or connected to, the June 18 story about an unnamed player from an unnamed franchise testing positive.

    1. The athletic’s Meg Linehan is reporting they are connected. The original one positive test was an Orlando player.

  2. The quarantine hopefully is taken more seriously now. I guess I won’t be suggesting acquiring McLernon any more 🙂

  3. COVID is more important than team culture, but boy oh boy it’s time to dismantle the Pride.

    I quote from the Equalizer story:

    “Orlando forward Sydney Leroux said in a tweet that she was ‘heartbroken. The majority of our team & staff worked our asses off to put us in the best position to play the game we love again’.”

    Leroux’s comments about “the majority” and the testing results mean that approximately 1/4th of the club’s roster and some sizable fraction of the staff let down the rest, at least from Leroux’s perspective. It’s probably safe to assume that Alex Morgan is not part of that 1/4th of players, given that she wouldn’t be participating anyway. And it’s worth noting that the Equalizer is reporting that it’s AT LEAST SIX players and AT LEAST FOUR staffers, possibly more.

    It must be an especially bitter pill for folks like Leroux and Toni Pressley. Leroux was coming back from missing most of last season on maternity leave, and Pressley missed most of last season while undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

    1. Ali Krieger is absolutely burying teammates, and Orlando, on Twitter for this.

      It’s quite a read, including where she mentions that some of her teammates kept Marta, the captains, and the veterans from being able to play soccer because they went out to a bar.

      She comes right out and blames it all on younger players.

      She also starts and finishes one tweet with “I hate Orlando.”


      Time to blow up the Orlando Pride.

      1. I’m don’t think this is actual Ali Krieger. Here’s what looks like Krieger’s actual Twitter feed:

        I think the “kriegsleroux” feed is some sort of rando fan, both for the Twitter handle (“kriegsleroux”?) and for the slagging-off-on-teammates, which I can’t see Krieger actually doing in front of the public. In private, perhaps…but not like this.

        1. You’re right. I got fooled by a couple of things: the fan rando had rebranded her account from one specifically named @alikriger, featuring an ali krieger headshot, and a top photo of krieger, heath, rapinoe, and others chilling out in what looks like an infinity pool or some such thing.

          i am embarrassed to admit i got catfished by a krieger fangirl.

          my bad.

  4. Very disappointed for the Pride and the players that worked hard so they could show their stuff at this tournament. I was looking forward to seeing how their new pieces fit in, particularly our Emily Sonnett and their new forward Taylor Kornieck.
    This has got to give pause to the players on the other teams about the possibility that one or more of their teammates had made poor choices that would be putting everybody at risk.
    And your right John, if there is no NWSL until next spring will there be an NWSL?

  5. The Spirit, Dash, SkyBlue, and the Courage have released their rosters this morning. Hopefully this means as people wakeup we will be getting the rest of the rosters later today. Knowing our history I still slightly expect the Thorns roster to be announced 1 hour before first kickoff of the Challenge Cup.

  6. The link to all the rosters. No idea why Sky Blue chose to be the only team to register 4 goalkeepers, but good luck to them all. Thorns to bring 25 players.

    First starting 11


    Renolds Menges Sauerbrunn Klingenberg

    Charlie Horan Rodriguez Sinclair Smith


    Maybe something completely different.

    Link to all rosters for Challenge Cup.

    Portland Thorns
    Goalkeepers (3): Bella Bixby, Britt Eckerstrom, Adrianna Franch (FED-USA)

    Defenders (9): Kelli Hubly, Meghan Klingenberg, Emily Menges, Meaghan Nally (CDP), Madison Pogarch, Katherine Reynolds, Becky Sauerbrunn (FED-USA), Autumn Smithers, Christen Westphal

    Midfielders (6): Celeste Boureille, Lindsey Horan (FED-USA), Emily Ogle, Rocky Rodríguez (INTL), Angela Salem, Gabby Seiler

    Forwards (7): Simone Charley, Marissa Everett, Tyler Lussi, Anika Rodriguez, Christine Sinclair (FED-CAN), Sophia Smith (CDP), Morgan Weaver (CDP)

  7. Tough draw for the Thorns: NCC, Chicago, Washington, OL Reign.

    Out of all 8 in the tourney, it looks to me like Portland has the toughest draw.

  8. “approximately 1/4th of the club’s roster and some sizable fraction of the staff let down the rest”

    Do we know this? My interpretation of the sequence of events is that a small number of players broke quarantine and went out, getting infected in the process, then went to practice and infected the rest of the 10 who turned up positive.

    Also of note, Equalizer ( is now reporting that all 10 of the people who tested positive were tested again and came up negative. That suggests there was some kind of testing mistake — I could see a handful of results being overturned by test variability but not all 10. Of course, we don’t know if the positive results or the negative ones were the mistake.

    1. Unfortunately for Orlando, it appears that even if it was the positives that were wrong that contact issues would keep them in isolation through the first week at least. And what I’m reading indicates that false negatives are about 25-35% of negative test results; false positives are much less likely.

      Still…emphasizes what a total crapshoot this whole thing is.


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