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Deep Thoughts About the Leroux Trade

We take a look at how today's big trade impacts the makeup of the Reign roster.

Mike Russell

Now that you've had time to recover from the impact of the second blockbuster Reign trade involving Sydney Leroux in two years, it's time to look at how it impacts the roster. Spoiler alert, I don't think this is the last major move for the team.

Where does Abby Wambach Fit?

She doesn't. Wambach has made it very clear that she has no plans to play in NWSL this season. It's possible that Laura Harvey could talk her into playing after the World Cup, but it's unlikely and adding her midseason could wreak havoc with the roster. Acquiring her rights could set up a roster addition in 2016 (and Wambach has said she doesn't plan to retire after this year) or it could just make it slightly easier for her to train with the team near her home in Portland between national team camps. This trade is really about acquiring Amber Brooks.

How does it affect the offense?

Pretty significantly. The offensive group of three is probably the thinnest on the team. Even though Leroux didn't have a great year last season and struggled to fit into Harvey's possession-oriented system, she's still a very dangerous attacker and an every-match starter. And Amanda Frisbie, despite being able to play in defense, was setting up to be wing depth judging from where she's played in two preseasons. Cutting loose two attackers and not getting one (or at least one who will play) in return suggests either the team has significant faith in Mele French, Merritt Mathias, and draftee Havana Solaun making significant offensive contributions or there is another attacking addition in the works.

How does it affect the defense?

It creates a traffic jam. Brooks is a tremendously talented player and is a guaranteed starter in defensive midfield or in the defense. But Seattle doesn't need a starter in either place. Keelin Winters and Jess Fishlock already make up by far the best holding midfield tandem in the league, and Mariah Nogueira is good enough to make a claim on starting as well. Adding Brooks to that group is just excessive. And in central defense the team not only has last season's least scored upon duo in Kendall Fletcher and Lauren Barnes, they have Scottish international Rachel Corsie waiting in the wings.

So I think the odds are on another move to get an attacker, either for Brooks herself or for an existing player in the Reign defense or midfield. But we're running out of preseason time to make it. Seattle's last preseason match is this Friday and the season opens on the 12th. Otherwise the team will have to find a way to replace both Naho's and Leroux's offensive production and navigate benching a starting-quality player in the defensive end.

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