The Orlando Pride added nine players to the roster in today's NWSL Expansion Draft, using the first overall selection to complete the trade with Portland Thorns for Alex Morgan by choosing defender Meghan Klingenberg. The United States Women's National Team and former Houston Dash defender was traded to Seattle Reign in a pre-draft deal to shield Seattle from having anyone selected and protected Houston from losing her for nothing.
USWNT goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris was the No. 2 pick, confirming the widely spread rumor that Orlando intended to bring her back to Central Florida, where she played club soccer as a youngster. The 30-year-old was born in Cocoa Beach and played at Satellite High School in Satellite Beach.
"This is where I started and this is where I want to end," Harris said in an interview during the Pride's live Periscope coverage of the expansion draft.
Of the nine players they are keeping, the Pride selected two goalkeepers, three forwards, three defenders and one player -- Maddy Evans of the Boston Breakers -- who can play both defender and midfield. The lack of midfielders selected was conspicuous, with no one added to join Kaylyn Kyle in the center of the pitch, unless Evans and one or more of the forwards change positions.
To go along with forwards Morgan and Sarah Hagen, the Pride chose Jasmyne Spencer and Jamia Fields of the Western New York Flash, and Lianne Anderson from Portland, with the fourth, fifth, and seventh selections, respectively.
Defenders Taryn Hemmings (Chicago Red Stars), Camille Levin (Sky Blue FC), and Tony Pressley (Houston Dash) were chosen third, sixth, and eighth, respectively, and Evans was taken ninth. In addition to Harris, the Pride chose keeper Aubrey Bledsoe from Sky Blue with the tenth and final selection.
The draft had a local flavor. In addition to bringing Harris home, Toni Pressley and Jamia Fields are Florida State products and Pressley is also from nearby Melbourne, now home to Orlando City's new USL club. She played club soccer for Space Coast United and attended West Shore High School.
The Pride was permitted to take up to two players from any team in the draft. If a team lost two players, they were exempt from any more selections. Also, if a team lost a USWNT allocated player, they were protected from further selections. Orlando was allowed to take up to two USWNT players, which they did with their first two selections, even though Klingenberg's rights had been traded to Portland.
As we speculated, no one from FC Kansas City was selected, which was likely a back door part of the deal for Hagen.
Here's how it all went down:
Stay tuned to The Mane Land for more to come from today's NWSL Expansion Draft.