The Orlando Pride selected 10 players in Monday’s NWSL Expansion draft, bringing the 2016 expansion team’s roster to 12 players total. Meghan Klingenberg was taken first overall by Orlando but her rights are sent to Portland Thorns FC as part of the Alex Morgan trade, a caveat first reported by The Equalizer.
Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris was also selected by Orlando, as reported by The Equalizer last month.
1. Meghan Klingenberg, Seattle Reign FC: Worst-kept secret of the day but she won’t play for Orlando, who traded the rights to the top pick to the Thorns as part of the Alex Morgan trade. Klingenberg should waltz right into the left back position in Portland.
2. Ashlyn Harris, Washington Spirit: No surprise here either. Harris played nearby at Satellite High School and openly expressed a desire to play for the Pride. The Spirit did her a favor by leaving her unprotected. She’ll likely miss time for the Olympics but her addition gives the Pride a solid goalkeeper for launch.
3. Taryn Hemmings, Chicago Red Stars: The right back on the Red Stars’ first playoff team, Hemmings can also play centrally. Red Stars owner Arnim Whisler said on Twitter before the draft that some of the picks had strings attached. So we’re waiting to see what happens with Hemmings, but she is a good defender and her versatility will help. (Red Stars pull back Michele Dalton)
4. Jasmyne Spencer, Western New York Flash: Speedy striker who probably serves best as a secondary scorer. Spent sometime as an attacking midfielder in 2015 but is probably at her best when allowed to run onto balls higher up the field. (Flash pull back Elizabeth Eddy)
5. Jamia Fields, Western New York Flash: Another quick, young player with a good bit if upside. Fields can add some width to the Orlando attack as well.
6. Cami Levin, Sky Blue FC: Reliable left back played nearly every minute at that position for Sky Blue last season. (Sky Blue pull back Maya Hayes)
7. Lianne Sanderson, Portland Thorns FC: The best field player taken on the day was really the only option if the Pride were going to dip into the Thorns. Dynamic attacking personality who can score or create, Sanderson is likely for the entire season as England do not send a team to the Olympics. (Thorns pull back Mana Shim)
8. Toni Pressley, Houston Dash: The pick that seemed to catch the most people by surprise. The Dash grabbed Pressley from the Flash early last season due to a desperate need for a central defender. Currently she is the Pride’s only true center back which is likely the biggest club need exiting the expansion draft. (Dash pull back Tiffany McCarty)
9. Maddy Evans, Boston Breakers: A high energy midfielder worked her way from amateur call-up in 2013 to starting a majority of matches in 2015. Should continue to improve if surrounded by stronger players. (Breakers pull back Stephanie Verdoia)
10. Aubrey Bledsoe, Sky Blue FC: Saw limited minutes behind Brittany Cameron last season but has done well on her loan deal to Fortuna Hjorring. If no other goalkeepers are added or jump Bledsoe on the depth chart, opportunity awaits in 2016.
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