Two months since arriving to play in the National Women’s Soccer League, Brazilian star Marta is slowly settling into her role with the Orlando Pride, but with an ideal focus on guiding the team in the right direction.
The Pride (1-3-3, six points) currently sits eighth in the NWSL standings and haven’t won in two consecutive games. While she’s enjoying her time in Central Florida, she isn’t letting that steer her away from the primary reason on why Orlando decided to pursue her in the first place.
“Well, I’m adoring it. I’m really enjoying living here, the city, the weather, living the day-to-day life of the American soccer player, especially considering the love the fans put out for us in the short period of time that we’ve been here,” Marta told reporters on Friday. “Things just have to improve inside of the field. We’ve lost some very important points, but I believe we have a very competitive team and enough conditions to start winning and earn those important points.”
The Pride hosts the Boston Breakers on Saturday at Orlando City Stadium at 7:30 p.m. For the Brazilian, however, there’s no other option but to win.
“Win. Win. Win the game,” she said. “We ended up losing three very important points on the road against a team that since the first instance gave us the opportunity to build a victory, but we ended up having some difficulties and lost these three points. So playing at home, in front of our crowd, knowing the importance of the points in play, our mindset is one, win and win.”
Since making her debut for the Pride on April 29, Marta has scored two goals in six games while recording an assist thus far.
Marta said the Pride have been the better team on paper in the last run of games despite not seeing some results go their way. When asked why the results weren’t coming their way, she alluded to minor mistakes that need to be corrected on the field.
“We have to be more effective,” said Marta. “We create a lot of opportunities. You can observe in almost every single game, we created a lot, we had a lot of clear opportunities to score and we’ve made very few. So we have to be more effective in that sense, and take advantage that we have a very high passing percentage in games and convert that to be an important factor in our effort during games.”
For Pride coach Tom Sermanni, expectations for Saturday’s match aren’t much different, but more concentrating on individual and collective responsibilities will be the game changer.
“Just getting results. Getting goals at the right time and just making sure that we don’t concede,” said Sermanni. “You know, when you look back at it, this is a funny game sometimes. I don’t think tactically we’re doing anything that’s wrong. I think the preparation of the team’s good. The structure of the team’s good. The general performance of the team is good. So, it’s just, you know, making sure that for 90 minutes, we have to concentrate individually and collectively to make sure that we don’t give things up cheaply.”
The Breakers will be entering Orlando City Stadium on a four-game winless run and without recording a win on the road this season. For Marta and Co., it’s going to be another game that will require a collective fight.
“I think we need to have a lot of fight within us, we need to want to win the entire time, we need to always be trying to be the best we can,” she concluded. “I’ve been through so many competitions, I’ve won so many things and I lost some too, but I have always been eager and hungry for the win. I’ve always wanted to be among the best. So it’s this eagerness that I try to pass on to the team, it is important to maintain high standards in competitions like these, of big performances.”
(Photo Courtesy of Orlando Pride)
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