Pickett’s Pride zeroing in on league title run

By Randy Lefko
Posted 7/25/18

ORLANDO - St. Johns Country Day School soccer star Carson Pickett knows what it feels like to win a title or two with a few Class 1A titles at St. Johns and an NCAA title at Florida State University …

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Pickett’s Pride zeroing in on league title run

Posted

ORLANDO - St. Johns Country Day School soccer star Carson Pickett knows what it feels like to win a title or two with a few Class 1A titles at St. Johns and an NCAA title at Florida State University and it just seems likely that she is thinking about another as a back defender with the Orlando Pride of the National Women’s Soccer League.

“Hopefully, I don’t know for sure if any of the other girls on the team have a similar background,” said Pickett. “It would be nice to get a league title too. I’m sure lots of players on this team and in the league have numerous titles among them.”

Pickett, 24, who had been traded from a two-year stint with the Seattle Reign after being drafted out of FSU in 2016 to Orlando for this season, was part of yet another tough match with Seattle that put both teams in win or go home situations with five games remaining in the 2018 campaign. The two teams tied 0-0 in their first regular season match June 3 in Seattle.

“I’m pretty good friends with most of the girls from Seattle,” said Pickett, who did get a “friendly” collision with a Seattle player late in the game. “It was a friendly goodbye, but I got away with that one late in the game.”

For the season, Pickett, as a defender, has 14 games started in 16 contests with 1220 minutes played. In 10 games, Pickett played the entire 90 minutes.

“North Carolina (Courage) is the top team with one loss and the rest of the standings; the two, three, four spots are all pretty close and pretty evenly talented,” said Pride coach Tom Sermanni, 64, a former professional player and a former USA and Australian womens national team coach born in Scotland, “Wins are critical from this point; losses will be hurtful.”

North Carolina’s Courage sits atop the league standings at 14-1-4, with 46 league points to hold a commanding lead over Seattle (8-4-6) with 30 points, Portland Thorns FC (8-5-5) with 29 points and Orlando (8-6-5) with 29 points. Chicago’s Red Stars sit just below Orlando at 7-4-7 with 28 points. Orlando travels to North Carolina for a swing game on August 18.

Against Seattle on Sat., July 21 in Orlando, the Pride scored first in the first half off a loose ball in front of the Seattle goal from defender Toni Pressley. Seattle would answer that goal in the second half in the 70th minute with a quick-tough goal that snuck past Pride goalie Haley Kopmeyer who had six saves to that point of the game.

At 1-1 with nearly 10 minutes left in the game, Sermanni sensed a need for a change of attack and put Pickett in on the left side defensive formation.

“I was in the starting lineup because we were going with a different lineup,” said Pickett.

Sermanni did not like the way his Pride team was attacking the Seattle defense and put Pickett in to move the ball forward.

“I thought we needed to change up the lineup to inject some speed into their end of the field,” said Sermanni. “We know Carson can gallop up and down the lane all day and get forward to make her crosses. Her attacking ability would be an asset for us in those last 15 minutes. She made some really good runs, but we could not get our formation set up for a scoring shot.”

Sermanni lamented his teams inability to transfer scoring opportunities into actual goals in the past few games with just 27 goals for versus 26 goals against. Orlando has just two games with three goals scored; one a 3-2 win over New Jersey June 16, the other a 4-3 loss to North Carolina May 23.

“We know we have the ability to score as today’s pre-game ceremony showed (forward Ali Krieger honored for 100th goal),” said Sermanni. “We have to be able to put the ball in the back of the net when we get the opportunity.”

For Pickett, who was recently featured in a LIFETIME documentary for her soccer career playing without a left arm since birth, the pro life has been chock full of good experiences.

“For the upcoming kids who are thinking of playing at this level, the game’s speed of play and physicality is tremendous,” said Pickett. “Knowing where you are going to go before you get to the ball is probably the biggest adjustment at this level.”

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