Sydney Leroux has been the NWSL’s MVP so far


Sydney Leroux is having a moment.

The Pride striker has been on a scoring tear this season, helping to keep Orlando unbeaten and atop the NWSL standings. On Wednesday, Leroux notched a brace to lead Orlando past Kansas City.

This campaign is somewhat of a renaissance for Leroux, who had her second child in 2019 and returned to the pitch only three months after giving birth. Leroux’s comeback was delayed twice, first by the pandemic and then when Orlando skipped the 2020 Challenge Cup because of COVID-19 protocols.

After a long time away from the sport and a trying few seasons with the Pride, Leroux started the 2021 season with something to prove.

With Alex Morgan back from maternity leave and Leroux in top form, the Pride boast a menacing front line. Orlando’s direct style of play has served Leroux particularly well, allowing the striker to get on the end of lofted balls and beat defenders one-on-one.

In six regular-season games, Leroux has scored four of her 11 shots on goal, tied for the NWSL lead with Morgan. Leroux’s presence poses a constant threat for her opponents, whether she is scoring bangers, stretching the backline or breaking up plays in the midfield. Simply put, the 31-year-old striker is irreplaceable.

Leroux has a unique opportunity as the Olympics approach and the Pride’s international players leave for Tokyo. In their absence, Leroux will have the chance to lead the charge for Orlando, a campaign that’s already well underway.