Laura Harvey is already set to put her stamp on the 2016 offseason, reportedly trading rarely-used defensive midfielder Amber Brooks to Houston for US international fullback Meghan Klingenberg.
Brooks was acquired by Seattle last offseason in the trade that sent Sydney Leroux to Western New York, but was stuck on the depth chart at holding mid behind Jess Fishlock, Keelin Winters, and Mariah Bullock. She saw less game time as the season wore on, playing for a total of 37 minutes in the team's final 10 matches.
At first glance, Klingenberg seems a perfect addition to the team. With Stephanie Cox retiring, the team is in need of a starting-quality fullback, and Klingenberg is arguably one of the best in the world, having played every minute for the US in their victorious World Cup campaign and assisting Carli Lloyd's equalizing goal last night at CenturyLink Field.
But before you get too attached, you should know that there are strong rumors that this move is just one part of a sequence that will eventually see Alex Morgan in Orlando and Klingenberg in Portland. That theory involves Seattle exposing Klingenberg in Orlando's expansion draft, but the move would still make some sense from a Seattle perspective.
Assuming this year's expansion draft follows the same rules as the one that accompanied the Houston Dash, each team can only protect two U.S. allocated players. But if a team loses a U.S. allocated player, no one else can be selected from that team. Seattle would have to expose one of Klingenberg, Megan Rapinoe, and Hope Solo. And if Orlando picked Klingenberg (to eventually move her as part of the rumored Morgan blockbuster) that would end Seattle's exposure to the draft. Which would mean, in the end, that Seattle would get out of the expansion draft losing only Brooks, leaving the core of the two-time Shield winning team intact.
But the temptation has to be strong to keep such a talented fullback on the team. That route would probably involve exposing Solo to the draft and daring the Pride, who are rumored to already be adding hometown favorite Ashlyn Harris at goalkeeper, to pick her. Either way, this is only the beginning of an offseason likely to be as eventful as any the league has seen.