Two pretty big chunks of NWSL news hit the wires today, and they both affect the Portland Thorns.
First, the good news: Thorns forwards Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair and head coach Cindy Parlow Cone are on the2013 FIFA Ballon d'Or nominee short list -Morgan and Sinc for Player of the Year, of course, and CPC for Head Coach of the Year.
Now, the not-so-good news:
This morning it was announced that the Washington Spirit and the Seattle Reign had executed a four-player trade, in which the Reign sent the rights to forwards Renae Cuellar and Jodie Taylor, plus the 23rd pick in the 2014 NWSL draft, to Washington. In return, Seattle gets the 17th pick overall in the draft, plus rights to defenders Alina Garciamendez and Nikki Marshall.
Yep. Nikki Marshall, playing for Seattle. Shit just got interesting.
Regarding the trade, Reign FC coach and general manager Laura Harvey noted, "We have set forth a thoughtful plan to reshape our roster prior to the upcoming season."
Yeah, no fooling. The Reign have been extremely active this offseason, along with many other teams. The Chicago Red Stars, for instance, hinted today via Twitter they will be announcing something on Tuesday, and the Boston Breakers grabbed some draft picks from Seattle in a trade earlier this week.
But for our purposes, what really stings is the idea of Marshall heading up north. When the Thorns gave her up to waivers, they lost a great defender, an integral part of a championship team. Now that our derby rivals have snagged her, it feels a lot like the same kind of double-whammy as a six-point loss. Ouch.
The Thorns, meantime, are so far standing pat. Granted, they're standing pat with a championship team, with three Ballon D'Or nominees (and best of luck to them), but we all know there are spots where the Thorns could use some shoring up or, frankly, some new personnel. It's a long offseason, so hopefully there's a little something in the works.
Stay tuned. I'll have a lot more to say about that, and more about the Seattle moves and what they mean, in an upcoming blog post.