In the old movie this is where the editor runs into the newsroom shouting “STOP THE PRESSES!!!”
To me this is intriguing on a number of levels:
First, because without Macario I don’t see the #1 pick on this draft being worth all that much. Certainly not worth a subsidized player. Certainly not worth a really GOOD subsidized player.
Second, because of the mention of “national team players”. Who would that be?
Well, Orlando has Alex Morgan, Marta, Ashlyn Harris, Ali Krieger, and Shelina Zadorsky.
Portland has Andressinha, AD Franch, Emily Sonnett, Elli Carpenter, Midge Purce, Christine Sinclair, Tobin Heath, Hayley Raso, and Lindsey Horan.
If I was Mark Parsons I wouldn’t swap Harris for Franch. Hell, I wouldn’t swap Harris for anybody. She’s not better than either of our current keepers.
Krieger and Marta are on the downside of their careers; nobody here in Portland outside Sinclair is in the terminal stage, and I can’t see the point of swapping any of those three.
Zadorsky is just mediocre.
So assuming this is a thing it would seem to be a Portland-international-for-pick-plus-some-ash-and-trash swap.
But even assuming that’s it…that is still mysterious. We talked about this draft to death last week. Would Courtney Peterson be worth Midge Purce? I don’t see that.
The only national-team pieces I’d be willing to part with at this stage are Sonnett and Andressinha. Heath, maybe, but only for the world and all the riches in it; she’s still a hell of a great player, I’m just not sure she’s working out well here.
And Orlando is a mess. There’s nothing in their non-subsidized players I’d want. So this would HAVE to be a trade for the #1 pick…and, again, I just don’t see that being worth, say, Heath plus our #7 and the second round picks.
So…what IS this? We’ll just have to wait and see…and I’ll update later today when it happens.
Update 1/7: Well, this is the part where one of the redshirts turns to the other and says “It’s pretty quiet…” and their companion replies “Yeah…too quiet.”
Lots of speculation, not much actual things happening.
The Equalizer has a long-form piece discussing the draft that posits what I’d consider the weirdest possible scenario; that Portland trades up to #1 and takes…Jessie Fleming.
Leave out that Fleming has shown little interest in the NWSL so far (Portland is a whole different venue than The Shame…) what strikes me as peculiar about this is that Fleming effectively duplicates Lindsey Horan’s skillset. So the implication of that is that 1) Portland would have to trade Horan to get the pick, or 2) Portland would trade someone else and then install Fleming as a sort of double-pivot similar to the way Parsons tried Allie Long and Horan in 2017, or 3) maybe Fleming becomes the #8 and Horan pushes up to the #9.
Something called “Whatsvibe” has a piece today that speculates that Portland is targeting France F/MF Kadidiatou Diani.
That could be a good signing – Diani has been doing well for Paris St. Germain – but the numbers seem out of reach; the piece cites another reference that pegs Diani’s paycheck around $445K. Even with the Duffybux the best Portland could offer is $350K or so, and the transfer fee would have to come out of that, too. Sounds pretty iffy to me.
Bottom line; no news so far today. My guess is that Portland and Orlando are having a difficult time finding a deal both can live with, including a commitment from whatever undeclared player Portland wants to take with the #1 pick (and I repeat my conviction that if it’s not Macario that it’s a bad deal for Portland; there’s no value in trading, say Sonnett and Purce for Sophia Smith…).
Stay tuned – we’ll see if anything breaks later today.
Update 1/8: Well, nothing broke until today, when the Peregrine FO went kinda wild. Emily Sonnet and two 2020 picks (the #7 and #14 picks) and the rights to Caitlin Foord to Orlando for the 2020 #1 overall pick. Then Midge Purce and the 2021 overall #1 pick to Sky Blue for Raquel Rodriguez.
My thoughts at the moment:
Sonnett/Foord to Orlando for #1 overall? Brilliant IF Macario declares and signs a notarized contract in blood to commit to Portland. Sorta-kinda good if it’s Sophia Smith – same deal, though, she’s gotta be a lock, none of this Mal Pugh bullshit. Anybody else? Too much to pay. So we’ll see if Macario or Smith declare later today or tomorrow.
Purce and our 2021 first-round pick to SBFC for Rocky Rodriguez…WTF? Seriously? Only way I see this is (trying to channel FO’s thought process) “Well…Raso and Purce kinda overlap, we need a playmaking midfielder to allow Horan to push further up, and we’ll get Macario this year so who cares about 2021…”
Which is fine if 1) Purce and Raso really do overlap – I disagree, but won’t argue that there isn’t some case to be made, 2) Rodriguez is better than she really is, which is sorta meh, but I’m willing to be convinced, and 3) Macario goes this year and not in the 2021 draft OR we don’t tank in 2020 and end up with the #1 overall.
If most, or none of those are true? This is a pretty goddamn boneheaded deal. Here’s a reminder that Rodriguez had the worst conversion ratio, SOG/goals ratio, and minutes-played-to-goals rate of any player with three goals last season:
Mind you, she was better than Tobin Fucking Heath…which begs the question; why did we trade Midge Purce for her, when Purce was a better attacker than both of them?
One element of the Sky Blue trade that seems elusive is that I keep hearing rumors that the rights to Hailie Mace – the former UCLA defender that SBFC drafted in the first round last season who gave the Joisey Goils the finger and scampered off to play in Europe – went to Portland as part of this deal.
If so, that’d make it better. Mace is quality, and with Sonnett leaving she’d be a terrific piece to replace her. “The Great Wall of Hailie And Emily” doesn’t quite have that ring, but, then, it doesn’t have half of the wall having a brainfart once a game, either.
So a lot of this hinges on stuff like Mace and who declares for the 2020 draft, and so we’ll have to hang on and see.
Interesting day, though.
Update 1/9: The final move the club made yesterday was to release Andressinha, the most-least-unexpected move since my kid announced that Cap’n Crunch abrades the roof of your mouth.
The unfortunate part – at least, the part that depressed me a bit – is that the club had to outright her. Either they couldn’t find an interested party here, or the player herself didn’t want one. With that the Savannah-Jordan-for-Andressinha story ends in disappointment for all parties; Jordan retired at age 24 having played all of 10 matches for Houston, Andressinha trudging back to Brazil, and neither team the better for having made this swap.
One last comment – since these are probably the last moves for a bit (unless the Hailie Mace deal develops…) – is that I want to really emphasize that Raquel Rodriguez is sort of my canary for the club management next season.
I’m neither particularly warm not cold towards the deal. I think Purce has a lot of upside, but also a lot of risks; her Brief Reign may well turn out to be a one-off. Rodriguez, OTOH, is perhaps the definition of “journeywomen”, and the best hope is that she suffered by being in the tire fire that is Sky Blue and will contribute a lot of positives surrounded by a better organization and teammates here.
But…it’s also possible that the Thorns could make the same mistake with her they did with Foord, or AMC, or, yes, Andressinha. Rodriguez is what she is, and the Thorns need to find a way to play her that plays to her strengths. The other three players weren’t used that way, and that’s worrisome.
So now we have a player that, it would seem, if used well can do well.
Will we use her well?
That’s an important question, and the answer may well determine our fortunes in this new year.
I’ll see you in a week when we’ve seen who we’ve drafted.