Brazil legend Marta and Orlando Pride are still hoping to reach the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) play-offs after an underwhelming start to the season.
It has been a slow start to 2019 for Marc Skinner’s Orlando, who have only collected one point from their opening six matches of the campaign.
Despite boasting Marta – regarded as the greatest female footballer of all time – United States sensation Alex Morgan and star Australia duo Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond, Orlando are still searching for their first win of the season.
But Marta, who is preparing to leave for the Women’s World Cup in France, is hopeful Orlando can salvage their season – the Pride are nine points adrift of the top four with 18 matches remaining.
“Our aim is to be always in competition with the best ones, to be always at the top, we didn’t start the season very well, so our biggest goal is to leave this uncomfortable situation,” Marta told Omnisport.
“Hopefully, when we come back from the World Cup, we can feel we have a more competitive team and a better atmosphere so that we can keep working for this goal.”
— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) May 22, 2019
Orlando finished third in 2017 as they reached the semi-finals before losing to eventual champions Portland Thorns and Marta led the way with 13 goals that term. In 2018, the Pride ended the season in seventh position.
“It’s early to talk about it but our main goal is to be always competing with the best ones, and the play-offs are an opportunity we have,” she added. “For this to happen, we need to win from now on so that we can fight for a place.”
Marta – a six-time winner of the FIFA World Player of the Year – has called Orlando home since arriving from Swedish side FC Rosengard in 2017.
“It’s been a pleasure to play for this team,” Marta said. “To live daily routine here, to know new people, Orlando culture, to work for the growth of women’s football here and, mainly, to play in such a wonderful stadium, so it’s been fantastic for me.”
Marta, who holds the record for most World Cup goals with 15 heading into next month’s tournament, scored 13 goals and tallied six assists in her maiden NWSL campaign.
She added another four goals and four assists in 2018, though Marta is yet to score in six appearances this term.
“Obviously we can’t be happy when we play so much but can’t score in almost none of them,” Marta continued. “The striker lives for this, to score goals, so… we get a bit angry with this, but I’m happy that somehow I always try to help the team, besides making goals. Also, when I assist, when defending a counter-attack.
“We are always trying to be better and maybe 17 goals are not my best but I still have some more games left to do them for the team, I hope to score more.”
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