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Portland Lose Lianne Sanderson, Gain Meghan Klingenberg in NWSL Expansion Draft

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

In a move set up last week, the Portland Thorns finally were able to make use of their first pick in the 2015 NWSL Expansion Draft, picking up USWNT defender Meghan Klingenberg. The draft was not without its losses, however, as the Orlando Pride selected English midfielder Lianne Sanderson from the Thorns with the 7th pick.

Klingenberg, one of the USWNT's most consistent defenders in the 2015 Women's World Cup, has been capped 47 times. In addition to playing every minute of the USWNT's World Cup winning run this summer, Klingenberg has played the last two seasons with the Houston Dash, appearing in nineteen games and chipping in a pair of assists in that time.

Sanderson, who was a late addition to the 2015 Thorns, appeared in five games for the side, starting two of them and chipping in an assist in that time.

The Thorns gained Orlando's first pick in the Expansion Draft as a part of the trade that sent Alex Morgan and Kaylyn Kyle to the Pride.

The move leaves the Thorns with only fifteen players on the team's roster, but the the top two draft picks in the college draft and several international slots to fill.

The Thorns' press release:


Pride select midfielder Lianne Sanderson in NWSL Expansion Draft

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Thorns FC acquired defender Meghan Klingenberg, the top selection in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Expansion Draft today, as part of the completion of their trade with the Orlando Pride on Oct. 26. Additionally, Orlando selected midfielder Lianne Sanderson with the seventh pick in the NWSL Expansion Draft.

"Meghan is an exceptional player with great tenacity and a competitive edge that we are looking forward to seeing in Portland," said Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons. "In addition to her exceptional defensive qualities, Meghan is a very technical and intelligent player and she will thrive in the style of soccer the Thorns want to play."

Klingenberg, 27, has played the last two NWSL seasons (2014-15) with the Houston Dash. The U.S. Women’s National Team defender started every match and played every minute on defense at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, helping the United States put together a streak of 540 minutes without allowing a goal during the tournament. A FIFA Women’s World Cup All-Star selection, Klingenberg has earned 47 international caps since making her debut in 2011.

Professionally, Klingenberg appeared in 12 matches (all starts) for the Dash during the 2015 season. She was selected by the Dash in the 2014 NWSL Expansion Draft and arrived midseason after the conclusion of her time with Swedish club Tyresö. Klingenberg played for Tyresö from 2012-14, guiding the team to a runner-up finish in the 2013-14 UEFA Women’s Champions League, falling 4-3 in the final to VfL Wolfsburg. The third-overall selection in the 2011 Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) Draft by magicJack, Klingenberg appeared in two games before she was acquired by the Boston Breakers in a trade. The Gibsonia, Pa. native, played in 10 matches, registering one goal and two assists in her first professional season with the Breakers.

In one season for Thorns FC, Sanderson appeared in five matches (2 starts), tallying one assist for Portland during the 2015 regular season after she was acquired as part of trade in July.

The Pride also selected Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Taryn Hemmings (Chicago Red Stars), Jasmyne Spencer (Western New York Flash), Jamia Fields (Western New York Flash), Cami Levin (Sky Blue FC), Toni Pressley (Houston Dash), Maddy Evans (Boston Breakers) and Aubrey Bledsoe (Sky Blue FC).

Meghan Klingenberg

Position: Defender
Height: 5-2
Born: Aug. 2, 1988
Hometown: Gibsonia, Pa.
Last Club: Houston Dash
College: North Carolina
Citizenship: United States