Orlando Pride forward Marta has been named the September Player of the Month by the NWSL Media Association.
Marta scored twice for the Pride as they went unbeaten for the second consecutive month (2-0-2) and clinched their first ever playoff berth. She added 13 chances created, bringing her league-leading total to 64, according to Opta. She powered the Orlando offense by completing 85.5 percent of her passes in the four games, including three with a passing accuracy over 88%.
Her two goals moved her season total to 13, second-best in the league.
The Pride will next face Portland Thorns FC in the NWSL Playoffs on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET on Lifetime.
After a strong August, Marta picked up right where she left off, scoring her 12th goal of the season in a 4-2 win over the Boston Breakers on September 2. Her strike came in the 67th minute on an assist from Chioma Ubogagu and was the eventual game-winning goal.
She went on to create 10 of her 13 chances in September in the next two games, draws at home vs. Seattle Reign FC and Portland Thorns FC as the Pride inched closer to securing their playoff spot. One of her six chances created vs. Seattle was a backheel pass to Ubogagu while surrounded by three defenders near the penalty spot, eventually resulting in a shot on goal for the Pride.
Marta capped off her first NWSL season with an impressive display on the road vs. the Courage on September 30. She scored her 13th goal on an assist from Alex Morgan and dazzled the North Carolina crowd with the ball-handling skills the world has come to know so well — including a spin move at midfield in the 40th minute.
“That’s what happens when you have the G.O.A.T. on the field,” Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris said after the game. “She’s expected to make big plays and she does it.”
Her performance in the Pride’s 3-2 win drew rave reviews from not just her teammates, but her opponents as well.
“I thought Marta was special tonight. … Put on a show for everybody,” Courage coach Paul Riley said. “She was brilliant tonight. I enjoyed actually watching her tonight, I gotta be honest. I thought she was brilliant tonight.”
It’s the first Player of the Month award for Marta, who finished second in June and third in August. It’s the second consecutive month a Pride player has won the award, following Morgan who won the honor last month.
The five-time FIFA World Player of the Year is the first Brazilian player to ever win Player of the Month in the NWSL.
The NWSL Player of the Month is selected each month of the regular season by the NWSL Media Association, a collection of writers that cover the league on a consistent basis. For more information on the NWSL Media Association, follow them on Twitter.