NWSL Notebook: Marta Arrives in Orlando

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By TOM SLATER

imgresMarta has landed.

Perhaps the biggest star to join the National Women’s Soccer League has arrived in Florida.

The striker from Brazil is expected to suit up for the Orlando Pride’s home-opener, against the Washington Spirit on Saturday afternoon.

Marta’s arrival, and plans for her to play against Washington, is an exciting addition to the league and an Orlando franchise that is one of the best-marketed clubs in the league.

The Pride will try to “fill the bowl,” according to their social media’s hashtag, which has been promoting Marta’s presence.

Marta, 31, is one of the most decorated players in the world — male or female. She has been named the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year a record five times and is the record-holder for most goals scored (15) in the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The United States international Alex Morgan will return to the Pride in a few months to join countrywomen Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris. The Pride already have Brazilians Camila and Mónica.

Where Will Pugh End Up?

Ever since she burst onto the national team scene last winter as a schoolgirl sensation, there has been speculation about where and when Mallory Pugh, 18, would play as a professional.

Pugh announced this week that she is leaving U.C.L.A. after one year. Washington owns her NWSL rights for the next allocated player from U.S. Soccer. But Pugh, a native of Highlands Ranch, Colo., has expressed a preference for the Portland Thorns. Portland, however, is stacked with federation and attacking players. Pugh has also said he might pursue opportunities in England and elsewhere in Europe.

A decision is expected within the next two weeks.

Bad Break for Rodriguez

Amy Rodriguez was having some fun and making things happen for FC Kansas City in its season-opening win over Boston.

Rodriguez, playing in her first game since giving birth, scored a goal in the 2-0 win.

After completing a pass, Rodriguez collided with a Breakers player and her knee buckled. She sustained a season-ending torn ACL injury.

“I am heartbroken to announce that I tore my ACL and will soon undergo surgery,” Rodriguez wrote on Instagram on Tuesday afternoon. “I plan to return back home and recover with my family. I couldn’t be more thankful for the support of my coaches, teammates, medical staff, friends, family and fans. I know I have a long road ahead of me, but I’m already looking forward to lacing up my cleats again. I’ve made a comeback twice before, and I will do it again! Philippians 4:13.”

NWSL Part of Conference on Head Injuries

Head injuries, especially concussions, have been a growing concern in sports — soccer in particular has been aggressive in putting protocols in place, especially for the young players.

The NWSL, Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer are hosting a conference, “Head Injury in Soccer; From Science to the Field,” on Friday and Saturday in New York. The conference is bringing together soccer administrators and medical professionals to discuss head injuries and the best ways to prevent and treat them.