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Angel City FC 2022 Player Postmortem: Megan Reid

Quite possibly the best story in the NWSL in 2022.

Orlando Pride v Angel City FC Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

Megan Reid was officially an NWSL rookie in 2022, which sounds surprising considering she’s 26.

A product of the University of Virginia, Reid absolutely took the road less traveled to get to this point, and become arguably the story of the season in the NWSL. After finishing her NCAA career in 2017, Reid was burned out, grieving the loss of her father, and ready to move on from the sport. She became a paramedic, first in Virginia and then closer to her hometown in California, and eventually ended up on her club team’s WPSL outfit, Lamorinda United, last year. Playing for fun, but getting the itch to see if she could hack it at professional level, all while leading a productive life with a career already.

Reid was invited to San Diego Wave FC’s training camp, but she was cut partway through, and would you believe, Freya Coombe said she’d take a look at Reid in Angel City FC’s camp, and basically the rest is history.

Reid earned a contract and pretty much went from “break in case of emergency only” to being brought in for an emergency, to becoming Angel City’s ironwoman of 2022. After entering the lineup in the penultimate Challenge Cup game, Reid played every single minute of the rest of the campaign for the Angels, including every single minute of the regular season.

Here are Reid’s competitive stats with ACFC in 2022:

Megan Reid Angel City FC 2022 Statistics

2022 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
2022 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
Challenge Cup 2 2 180 0 0 1 0 0 0
Regular Season 22 22 1,980 0 1 3 1 2 0
Total 24 24 2,160 0 1 4 1 2 0

I don’t think I can stress enough how much of a surprise it was to see Reid’s emergence. She hadn’t played elite soccer in four years, and had hardly played soccer at all in that time. Unlike other positions, it’s not easy to be like “Yeah, sure, let’s see what this center back can do from the start of a game, no worries!” but with Sarah Gorden, Paige Nielsen, and Vanessa Gilles all unavailable for a Challenge Cup game, Coombe was pretty much looking at the available options, it being a Challenge Cup game with Angel City already out of the running to advance in that competition, and going “Sure, why not? Let’s try it.”

Honestly, Reid looked great in her debut, which was one of the toughest environments in the league, the turf at Lumen Field against OL Reign. The whole team raised their level in that game, but Reid genuinely brought a stability, a calmness, to the defense and became the anchor as the season progressed.

And there was a lot of changing as time went by around her. Gilles started not quite the first half of the regular season, and she had a good partnership with Reid, but the Canadian never returned to the lineup after exiting it for the Concacaf W Championship in the summer. Nielsen returned from emergency surgery to start most of the back half of the season. Madison Hammond got some time in there, too, and Gorden, the expected backline anchor, missed the entire season. So it’s a good thing Reid was up for the challenge of being dropped in the deep end, because she was needed!

Angel City’s defense was pretty good in spite of all the lineup changes in the regular season, and the team allowed 27 goals in 22 games, really a great total that was ultimately undermined by the team scoring only 23 goals on the season. In other words, the backline, and with Reid central to that, was a key part of giving Angel City a hope of reaching the playoffs in their debut season up to the final weekend, and helping them to the second-best inaugural season ever by a true expansion team in the NWSL.

Reid’s scouting report graph on FBref.com, comparing her play to players in her position across the top eight leagues, shows a mixed bag in terms of her advanced stats. She appears to be world class in terms of defensive clearances, and her defensive numbers otherwise are some above average, some below average.

FBref.com

To me, this indicates Coombe told Reid to keep things simple, play a simple game, and above all, keep her head above water. She did that, and again, also brought intangible qualities like calm play and even some leadership along the way.

While Reid didn’t score any goals, I have to note she did let her parallel career bleed into the new one, in a very endearing way. We talk about having an “extra coach” on the field, Reid was an “extra physio,” always the first player to get to an injured player, helping them until the trainers made it to the player needing attention. Most pro athletes wouldn’t know what they’re doing and probably shouldn’t be dispensing medical advice during games. Reid? Well, she actually has the training, so it was beautiful to see her trot over to players on the ground and check in with them.

Reid is under contract for 2023, and I’m going to go on a limb and say she probably deserves a raise, I assume she was signed to a league minimum deal and obviously being a regular starter merits a bigger paycheck. But aside from that, with Gilles returning to ACFC late or potentially never next year, and Gorden hopefully actually getting on the field, I think Reid should have the inside track to start with Gorden. We’ll see how they settle together, but potentially that could be Angel City’s stout center back partnership for years to come. And if it is, then I think an awful lot of people are going to be rooting for Megan Reid all along, I know I will be.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.