The long-rumored trade of Meghan Klingenberg-to-Seattle Reign was finally made official on Monday. The Reign sent little-used midfielder Amber Brooks and the fifth pick in this year's NWSL Draft to the Houston Dash for Klingenberg and a conditional pick next year.
But don't get too attached. As good as Klingenberg is -- and she's one of the best left backs in the world -- all signs point to her being exposed in the upcoming Expansion Draft and ultimately ending up with the Portland Thorns in a somewhat complicated series of moves that seems to be designed to get Alex Morgan to the Orlando Pride. The teams' protected lists will be announced at noon today. A Reddit user actually created this graphic to help explain the expected series of moves:
So why would the Reign get themselves involved in all of this?
One reason: the Expansion Draft. The just-announced rules stipulate that only two U.S. national team players can be protected by each team. But the flip side to that is if a team loses a U.S. national teamer no one else can be selected from that team. Effectively, the Reign are willing to sacrifice Brooks in order to keep the rest of their core together.
There's also the possibility that the Pride surprise everyone and select some other national teamer, and the Reign end up with Klingenberg. Either way, it appears the Reign feel this is a potential win for them.