NWSL: Orlando takes shape with Expansion Draft

NWSL newcomer Orlando Pride, which begins play in 2016, picked up nine players, including U.S. 2015 World Cup backup keeper Ashlyn Harris, in the Expansion Draft on Monday.

The Pride’s biggest acquisition came last week when it landed Alex Morgan (along with midfielder Kaylyn Kyle) from the Portland Thorns in exchange for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 College Draft, the first pick in the 2015 Expansion Draft and an international roster spot for the 2016 and 2017.

The Thorns used their No. 1 pick to acquire Meghan Klingenberg, the outside back who starred last summer for the USA’s world championship team, from the Seattle Reign. Klingenberg played for the Houston Dash last season, but was acquired by the Reign last week and left unprotected in the Expansion Draft in a move that enabled the Reign to protect its allocated players, Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe.

In another pre-draft move, Orlando also acquired Sarah Hagen in a trade from FC Kansas City.

Orlando’s Expansion Draft Acquisitions
Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit)
Taryn Hemmings (Chicago Red Stars)
Jasmyne Spencer (WNY Flash)
Jamia Fields (WNY Flash)
Camille Levin (Sky Blue FC)
Lianne Sanderson (Portland Thorns FC)
Toni Pressley (Houston Dash)
Maddy Evans (Boston Breakers)
Aubrey Bledsoe (Sky Blue FC)

"We're really pleased with our selections in today's draft," said Orlando Pride coach Tom Sermanni. "After carefully analyzing the list of unprotected players, we feel very confident that we've chosen a core group of players that will help make this team very competitive in the Club's inaugural season."

Harris, who has eight caps for the USA, is one of two Florida products Orlando picked up in the expansion draft. She played her youth ball in Satellite Beach before starring at the University of North Carolina. Defender Toni Pressley, a Melbourne, Fla., product, starred at Florida State.

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