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Marisa Viggiano scores first NWSL goal

The former Northwestern superstar tallied the game-winner for the Orlando Pride on Saturday night.

SOCCER: JUN 30 NWSL - Chicago Red Stars at Orlando Pride Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Less than nine months after playing in her final game for the Wildcats, midfielder Marisa Viggiano is already making her presence felt at the next level.

In the first game after USWNT players across the league returned from winning the World Cup, Viggiano got off the mark, scoring an absolute banger early in the first half in the Orlando Pride’s matchup with Sky Blue FC that would eventually prove to be the game-winner.

Though the Pride’s eventual 1-0 win was only the third of their season, Viggiano has certainly impressed on an individual level. After being drafted in the fourth round, the rookie quickly worked her way into the lineup, already having appeared in nine of the Pride’s 14 contests (starting five of them) and racking up 458 minutes of work.

Postgame, she described the goal for the media: “Chi pulling out and into the midfield opened up that lane for me, so I was able to get the ball, face forward, and just drive at the defenders. Honestly, it kind of just happened, and I shot it and it went in. It’s really, really cool.”

In a video the team later posted, she can be seen receiving plaudits from both the fans and her own teammates, including World Cup winners Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger along with the legendary Marta.

Viggiano hasn’t officially tallied any other goals or assists, but she did create another win for the Pride earlier this year, forcing a late own goal from the same Sky Blue side by working through four defenders to get away a dangerous cross:

The midfielder is finding success in the NWSL immediately after finishing up an impressive Northwestern career. She graduated as part of the most decorated senior class in program history, reaching four straight NCAA Tournaments and sharing the Big Ten Title in 2016. By the end of her incredible four year run, Viggiano had tied for second in program history with 20 assists and had led the Wildcat program to new heights.

Fellow recent graduates Kayla Sharples and Hannah Davison were each drafted for this season as well, both going to their hometown Chicago Red Stars. Only one half of the longtime center back tandem has made an appearance so far, though, with Sharples coming on twice as a sub.

As Viggiano and, hopefully, her two former teammates, continue to show out at the next level, we will keep you up-to-date on their exploits.