On Monday, Meghan Klingenberg's tenure as a Seattle Reign player ended when she was picked first in the NWSL Expansion Draft by the Orlando Pride. The World Cup champion's time with the Reign lasted approximately 170 hours.
Klingenberg's time with the Pride, however, was even shorter. As we previously reported, Orlando traded the rights to the top pick in the Expansion Draft to the Portland Thorns in exchange for Alex Morgan and Kaylyn Kyle. With that trade, Klingenberg — who would have been a fantastic replacement for Stephanie Cox at left back — will be heading to our rivals down south.
In allowing Klingenberg to get drafted, Coach Laura Harvey was able to protect the rest of her squad from selection. That's because, in the NWSL Expansion Draft, Orlando could only select up to two players (or just one U.S. allocated player) from any one team. The only Reign player lost in the deal was Amber Brooks, who went to the Houston Dash in exchange for Kling, where she'll have less competition for minutes at midfield.
That's good news for Reign fans, as it means most of our core back-to-back Shield-winning squad will return in 2016. The Reign also have the fourth pick in the 2016 NWSL College Draft (Houston got the fifth pick in the Klingenberg-Brooks trade). If past years are any indication, expect Laura Harvey to negotiate a few more complicated deals that leave the rest of the league in tears.
In total, Orlando acquired nine players: two goalkeepers, three defenders, three forwards, and one attacking midfielder. WNY Flash and Sky Blue both lost two players, while NWSL title winners FC Kansas City managed to lose exactly zero.
2015 NWSL Expansion Draft Results
1. Meghan Klingenberg (Seattle Reign FC) - traded to Portland
2. Ashlyn Harris (GK, Washington Spirit)
3. Taryn Hemmings (D, Chicago Red Stars)
4. Jasmyne Spencer (F, WNY Flash)
5. Jamia Fields (F, WNY Flash)
6. Camille Levin (D, Sky Blue FC)
7. Lianne Sanderson (F, Portland Thorns FC)
8. Toni Pressley (D, Houston Dash)
9. Maddy Evans (M, Boston Breakers)
10. Aubrey Bledsoe (GK, Sky Blue FC)
However, it appears there is more to the NWSL Expansion Draft than meets the eye. Jeff Kassouf with Equalizer Soccer confirmed the Pride received an extra international spot for 2016 and 2017. They already traded one (for both years) to the Thorns, so they have four remaining. The Houston Dash are giving the NWSL a big side-eye right now, as they did not receive an extra slot when they formed two years ago.
Tweets from Portland Thorns owner Merritt Paulson and Red Stars owner Arnim Whisler indicate additional deals made during the Expansion Draft will be announced later this month. The NWSL is certainly upholding its reputation as a confusing league with vague, ever-changing rules, which means this very long offseason should be rather fun. At least Reign fans can rest easy knowing they didn't lose any players in the draft.
Time for the expansion draft. Good luck to @ORLPride Remember some of the picks have strings attached wait til dust settles before assess!— arnim (@arnimiii) November 2, 2015