Four must-knows from the biggest day of the NWSL offseason

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The National Women’s Soccer League rang in its offseason on Monday with four significant trades, finalizing the previously reported Alex Morgan deal while seeing other U.S. internationals land in Seattle and Orlando. Along with announce the upcoming expansion draft’s protected/unprotected lists, it will likely be the busiest day of the league’s third offseason.

Here’s what you need to know about today’s NWSL trades:

1. Yes, Orlando now has Alex Morgan (and Sarah Hagen and Kaylyn Kyle)

The Orlando Pride officially confirmed the worst-kept secret in the offseason so far, unveiling the start of its roster with superstar Alex Morgan and Canadian international midfielder Kaylyn Kyle from the Portland Thorns, as well as forward Sarah Hagen from FC Kansas City. In return, Portland received Orlando’s first pick in the expansion draft, their first pick in the 2016 college draft, and international spots for the 2016 and 2017 season.

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FC Kansas City also sent a second-round draft pick to Orlando, and in exchange received Orlando’s second-round college draft pick in 2017, which seems like kind of a raw deal until you take into consideration the theory that Orlando has also promised not to take one of FCKC’s exposed players in November’s expansion draft. And indeed, FCKC has left national team allocation Heather O’Reilly on their unprotected list, a player Tom Sermanni would no doubt jump at the chance to recruit.

2. Orlando is hungry for more, aka Tom Sermanni is still coming for your favs

Orlando can pick up to 10 players from the full list of unprotected players (see, below) and can take two players from any club (or just one US allocated player).

Sermanni’s international coaching career creates deep ties with both Australia and Canada, so his international slots could fill up pretty quickly. In Morgan and Hagen, he’s got two starting strikers already, so he might be looking further down the spine of his team, starting with center backs. Kyle shifts between attacking and defensive mid but she’s not a 10, so Sermanni has a need there as well.

Some names that jump off the unprotected list that might make sense joining Sermanni: Canadian attacker Adriana Leon (Chicago Red Stars); fullback Leigh Ann Brown (FCKC); ball-winner Jen Buczkowski (FCKC); center back Amy LePeilbet (FCKC); England international Lianne Sanderson (Portland Thorns); Canadian forward Jonelle Filigno (Sky Blue FC); goalkeeper Hayley Kopmeyer (Seattle Reign); young fullback  Elli Reid (Seattle Reign); 2015 draftee Whitney Church (Washington Spirit); 21-year-old Australian Hayley Raso (Washington Spirit); Canadian goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo (WNY Flash); versatile Australian Michelle Heyman (WNY Flash).

3. But a lot of backroom/handshake/gentlecoaches’ deals went on before these trades were announced, so “unprotected” might not actually mean unprotected for some players

As mentioned above, Heather O’Reilly is probably protected from poaching. The Spirit left both Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger unprotected, but Orlando can only have one of them, and it’s a safe bet they’re going to take Orlando-native Harris to be their starting keeper.

Harris as a foregone conclusion for the Pride also means players like Houston goalkeeper Erin McLeod can hang out on an unprotected list fairly certain they’re in the clear. Any keeper has to straddle the line between acting as Harris’ backup and being prepared to start in case Harris gets called up for Olympic duty come the summer.

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4. Portland might be today’s winner

Thanks to their trade with Orlando, Portland now has the No. 1 pick in the 2016 College Draft and controls the No. 1 expansion draft pick. Thanks to a separate trade, they now have the rights to one of the top internationals interested in NWSL, Iceland’s Dagny Brynjarsdottir, who Portland received along with Boston’s first (second overall) and second round draft picks. In return, the Breakers got veteran midfielders McCall Zerboni and Sinead Farrelly along with Portland’s second and fourth round picks..

Orlando’s first expansion pick will reportedly be Meghan Klingenberg, who went from Houston to Seattle. Seattle has agreed to leave Klingenberg unprotected in the expansion draft as part of the labyrinthine maneuverings to get Alex Morgan to Orlando but also allowed Seattle and Houston to get some added value out of a side deal. If the Dash had to leave Klingenberg unprotected anyway, they might as well trade her ahead of time and get something instead of having Orlando just take Klingenberg off their hands.

First pick in the college draft is likely to be Notre Dame defender Cari Roccaro or Virgina center back Emily Sonnet, both decent defensive options who could help complete Portland’s back line.

In total, Portland got Klingenberg, Brynjarsdottir, the No. 1 and No. 2 college draft picks, and an extra international roster spot over the next two seasons. They gave up midfielders McCall Zerboni and Sinead Farrelly and a fourth-round pick. Their unprotected list is quite short and the only name off of it that looks possible to go is Lianne Sanderson. Sanderson, Zerboni, and Farrelly were all solid for the Thorns, but not really outstanding.

The NWSL’s full expansion draft lists, via NWSLSoccer.com:

Boston Breakers
Protected
Sinead Farrelly
Kassey Kallman
Julie King
Stephanie McCaffrey
Kirstie Mewis
Alysa Naeher (USA)
Mollie Pathman
Kathryn Schoepfer
Kyah Simon
McCall Zerboni

Unprotected
Andressa Alves da Silva
Amy Barczuk
Maddy Evans
Nkem Ezurike (CAN)
Jami-Ann Kranich
Lauren Lazo
Francielle Manuel Alberto
Morgan Marlborough
Bianca Sierra (MEX)
Stephanie Verdoia
Rachel Wood

Chicago Red Stars
Protected
Danielle Colaprico
Vanessa DiBernardo
Arin Gilliland
Jennifer Hoy
Sofia Huerta
Samantha Johnson
Julie Johnston (USA)
Alyssa Mautz
Christen Press (USA)

Unprotected
Brittany Bock
Hayley Brock
Zakiya Bywaters
Lori Chalupny
Michelle Dalton
Abby Erceg
Taryn Hemmings
Adriana Leon (CAN)
Michelle Lomnicki
Mary Luba
Kecia Morway
Rachel Quon (CAN)
Melissa Tancredi (CAN)
Cara Walls

Houston Dash
Protected
Morgan Brian (USA)
Amber Brooks
Ellie Brush
Allysha Chapman (CAN)
Bianca Henninger
Carli Lloyd (USA)
Andressa Cavalari Machry
Jessica McDonald
Stephanie Ochs
Kealia Ohai

Unprotected
Rachael Axon
Poliana Barbosa
Rosana dos Santos Augusto
Jen LaPonte
Camila Martins Pereira
Tiffany McCarty
Erin McLeod (CAN)
Toni Pressley
Lauren Sesselmann (CAN)

FC Kansas City
Protected
Yael Averbuch
Nicole Barnhart
Shea Groom
Amanda Laddish
Rebecca Moros
Amy Rodriguez (USA)
Katelyn Rowland
Becky Sauerbrunn (USA)
Erika Tymrak

Unprotected
Liz Bogus
Leigh Ann Brown
Jen Buczkowski
Kaysie Clark
Katrina Gorry
Caroline Kastor
Sara Keane
Amy LePeilbet
Meghan Lisenby
Heather O’Reilly (USA)
Nikki Phillips
Jenna Richmond
Frances Silva

Portland Thorns FC
Protected
Michelle Betos
Dagny Brynjarsdottir
Stephanie Catley
Tobin Heath (USA)
Kendall Johnson
Allie Long
Emily Menges
Christie Sinclair (CAN)
Jodie Taylor
Kat Williamson

Unprotected
Alyssa Kleiner
Clare Polkinghorne
Lianne Sanderson
Meleana Shim
Rhian Wilkinson (CAN)

Sky Blue FC
Protected
Brittany Cameron
Caitlin Foord
Katy Freels
Kristin Grubka
Samantha Kerr
Sarah Killion
Lindsi Lisonbee-Cutshall
Nadia Nadim
Kelley O’Hara (USA)
Christie Rampone (USA)

Unprotected
Aubrey Bledsoe
Kim DeCesare
Jonelle Filigno (CAN)
Courtney Goodson
Shawna Gordon
Hayley Haagsma
Maya Hayes
Cami Levin
Taylor Lytle
Monica Ocampo (MEX)
Nikki Stanton

Seattle Reign FC
Protected
Lauren Barnes
Rachel Corsie
Jessica Fishlock
Kendall Fletcher
Kim Little
Megan Rapinoe (USA)
Hope Solo (USA)
Keelin Winters
Beverly Yanez

Unprotected
Michelle Cruz
Kiersten Dallstream
Danielle Foxhoven
Meghan Klingenberg (USA)
Hayley Kopmeyer
Merritt Mathias
Elli Reed
Havana Solaun
Caroline Stanley
Katrine Veje
Abby Wambach*
* = Allocation Status TBD

Washington Spirit
Protected
Estefania Banini
Crystal Dunn (USA)
Victoria Huster
Estelle Johnson
Diana Matheson (CAN)
Christine Nairn
Francisca Ordega
Megan Oyster
Katherine Reynolds

Unprotected
Josephine Chukwunonye
Whitney Church
Amanda DaCosta
Laura Del Rio
Caprice Dydasco
Natasha Harding
Ashlyn Harris (USA)
Ali Krieger (USA)
Joanna Lohman
Ngozi Okobi
Veronica Perez (MEX)
Hayley Raso
Arianna Romero (MEX)
Angela Salem
Tiffany Weimer
Kelsey Wys

Western New York Flash
Protected
Lady Andrade
Halimatu Ayinde
Abby Dahlkemper
Becky Edwards
Whitney Engen (USA)
Jaelene Hinkle
Sydney Leroux (USA)
Samantha Mewis
Brittany Taylor
Lynn Williams

Unprotected
Tatiana Coleman
Sabrina D’Angelo
Elizabeth Eddy
Kristen Edmonds
Jamia Fields
Amanda Frisbie
Kristen Hamilton
Michelle Heyman
Chantel Jones
Ashley Nick
Haley Palmer
Jasmyne Spencer
India Trotter

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