Charley, Lussi to ACFC; Options Exercised

In return the Thorns get “$100,000 in Allocation Money, a 2022 NWSL Draft natural second round pick and roster immunity in the 2022 NWSL expansion draft from Angel City FC.”

With the logjam at forward this is hardly shocking. The only part that even surprises me is ACFC taking both forwards; given her 2021 I genuinely expected to see Lussi’s name on the waiver wire, but clearly this was the plan all along.

If the club has a similar deal with San Diego we should read about it later today or perhaps tomorrow, but the FO may be willing to accept the loss of a single player.

Update 12/10: Per Kassouf the club is, in fact, going to make that deal, sending Christen Westphal and the rights to Amirah Ali to San Diego in return for protection, the the club is now fully protected from the expansion draft.

I’ll miss Si-money, as a player, as a person, as an activist. She seemed like a wonderful prospect when she walked on several years ago, and I was chuffed when she signed after persisting in following her dream here. I wish her all the best…except when she plays PTFC.

Tyler Lussi? Well…she was a good troop, did what she was asked, worked her hardest, and no player can be asked more than that. Good luck in the future…with the same caveat.

In other news today the club exercised their options on six players: Hannah Betfort, Shelby Hogan, Meaghan Nally, Madison Pogarch, Abby Smith, and Morgan Weaver.

Players safely signed include Crystal Dunn, Lindsey Horan, Emily Menges, Olivia Moultrie, Natalia Kuikka, Raquel Rodriguez, and Yazmeen Ryan.

Keep in mind that “safely signed” is only effective in the NWSL. If Horan is, in fact, eyeing a move to Europe? This means nothing unless the team is willing to refuse to terminate her contract. That won’t happen; as we saw with Carpenter and Raso, the club will let the player depart amicably rather than burn that bridge.

The news release also noted that offers have been made to Bella Bixby, Celeste Boureille, Marissa Everett, Kelli Hubly, and Meghan Klingenberg.

And – in what given the rumors is interesting – both Angela Salem and Christen Westphal. Hopefully that is good fan-news that both players are at least potentially going to return next year.

Taylor Porter – who I honestly forgot even existed, I’m sorry, Porter! – was waived (sorta – she was a replacement this summer for the OG) and I assume that means that Raisa Strom-Okimoto has also been let go.

Now we’ll have to wait for Friday and the protected list.

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6 thoughts on “Charley, Lussi to ACFC; Options Exercised

  1. This is going to be a fascinating day. I can get to 7 quite easily

    1. Horan
    2. Smith
    3. Menges
    4. Dunn
    5. Kuikka
    6. Weaver
    7, Bixby

    I believe 8 is clear though I could make arguments about young prospects being ready.

    8. Rodriguez

    9 is the hard one.

    Is Salem coming back? If she commits, it’s hard to not protect her, but maybe it makes you rethink Rodriguez?

    Do they prioritize an aging vet leader (Kling) who played well over a young promising backup (Hubly)?

    Do you consider the highest ceiling to help over the next 5 years even if it’s attached to the biggest unknown (Coffey)?

    I do believe that there is smoke where Salem is considered and while I hate to lose Hubly, I protect Kling.

    As fans we have a habit of going this player will retire if selected by San Diego.

    I look at Kling and see a player who will play as long as she can and then transition into some soccer related job after her playing days are over. You see the love. I believe Ellis, Downtain, Stoney, and Gunney could talk her into it.

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    1. I think if Salem has committed to next season – as noted in the piece – she has to go on. She’s our only reliable CDM. If not, then Hubly takes her place.

      Coffey is just that right now – “potential”. There’s too many good players already with the squad who’s proven value has to be protected before extending it to a player who might have the “highest ceiling”.

      All the old heads are problems; Sinc, Kling, and ‘Brunn. If you don’t protect them you’re left with a potential Heath Situation. But protecting them is really wasteful. That’s a problem I’m glad I don’t have. But it’s a real problem.

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  2. Kassouf saying that we made a deal to swap Westphal and Ali (or Ali’s rights, anyway…) for protection from SDW. If so, that’s a good deal.

    The omission of Salem from the protected list that was released before the deal makes me a bit nervous, though.

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    1. Kassouf is now walking this deal back a bit, saying it’s not official because it missed the trade dealine – “There’s no official trade b/c it missed the deadline, so there’s an unprotected list coming from Thorns which I’m told has major names on it. People familiar w/Thorns’ thinking on this say Portland’s confident no players will be selected.”

      Sounds reasonable, but we might keep an eye open next week to see if anything happens.

      He also argues that the number of immunity-trades suggests that these expansion drafts aren’t really a very good idea (https://twitter.com/JeffKassouf/status/1467256301659074568):

      “If half the current NWSL teams trade out of the expansion draft anyway, is there a point to it?

      The argument is that the draft is the leverage forcing these trades, which is true, but it’s also a sign of a mechanism that doesn’t actually work for anyone.”

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  3. Free agency after a certain number of years and allowing the expansion team a bit extra money to build a franchise with no allocation draft makes sense to me.

    Part of me believes they agreed on the Westphal/Ali package, but the Moultrie protection is odd to me. Makes me wonder if they discussed another package and left that player unprotected in case SD changes their mind or maybe they are just higher on Moultrie than Hubly or Coffey or Ryan.

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    1. Or Moultrie’s parents insisted on a “no trade” clause to keep her in this area until she graduates HS. Hard to be sure. Certainly it seems odd to protect what is effectively a decent squad player above current stalwarts like Hubly or potential future stars like Ali or Coffey…

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