The allocations are in, and there is plenty of movement to discuss in regards to U.S., Canadian and Mexican players in the NWSL. All the details are here, with the headline-grabbing move being U.S. forward Christen Press’ allocation to the Chicago Red Stars.
Here’s our take on which teams should be happy and which might feel like they wanted more or something different:
Be happy for upgrades
Chicago Red Stars. They won the lottery; they really did. This allocation was always the Christen Press lottery. Whether she shows up in the Windy City to start the season (which would require a big upset in UEFA Champions League) or in June, the Damallsvenskan Golden Boot winner is poised to take the NWSL by storm.
Replacing Cecilia Santiago with Dinora Garza for their Mexican allocation is a major upgrade for the Boston Breakers. Losing Sydney Leroux still hurts big time, though, in the grand scheme.
Mexico midfielder Jackie Acevedo could be a hidden gem from Mexico in this whole process, and could be a solid role player for Portland, which didn’t even have a Mexican player last year.
Houston has a really solid base at this point. Center back Whitney Engen will anchor the team’s defense (though likely won’t be around to start the season), Melissa Tancredi is a proven striker with definite grit, and Teresa Noyola is the Mexico player with arguably the most upside of the eight. And they reportedly now get the No. 2 pick in the college draft, likely for not getting Press.
Maybe wanted something different?
The two teams last in the alphabet for NWSL may feel like they were owed something different than they got.
Yael Averbuch’s allocation to the Washington Spirit gives the Maryland-based squad another international quality holding midfielder who should be a great complement to Canadian Diana Matheson, who gets forward as well as any attacking midfielder. But Washington is looking at a surplus of midfielders, already having Lori Lindsey as well. Washington needs a top-level striker and surely felt like they deserved Press. They lost that lottery, but will win the Crystal Dunn lottery with the No. 1 pick, barring something absurd.
The Western New York Flash once again will have only two U.S. players, one Canadian and one Mexican player, the smallest allocation of any team. Of course, those two U.S. players are Carli Lloyd and Abby Wambach. But the Canadian allocation of Selenia Iacchelli is a real unknown.
Where have you gone?
Rhian Wilkinson has not been allocated for Canada. Sources say she opted out and will play on a club team in Canada.
Kara Lang’s comeback has gotten plenty of attention, but she will not play in the NWSL.
Mexico’s biggest absence is legend Maribel Dominguez. Could Chicago be interested in keeping her around anyway on a standard contract?
Also of note: FC Kansas City could be hit the hardest by the expansion draft with four quality U.S. players. But how said expansion draft will work on Jan. 10 is still unkown.
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