Soccer

Crystal Dunn traded to Portland Thorns in a series of moves as the NWSL trade window closes on Thursday

Crystal Dunn traded to Portland Thorns in a series of moves as the NWSL trade window closes on Thursday

Portland Thorns have acquired Crystal Dunn from North Carolina Courage in a series of trade which involved OL Reign on Thursday. Here’s a look at what each side is receiving in the deal(s) as the Thorns bring Dunn to Portland where she currently resides to be closer to her family.

Thorns receive:

  • USWNT defender Crystal Dunn

OL Reign receive:

  • One international slot for 2021 season
  • Portland’s 2022 natural first round NWSL Draft pick
  • Allocation money ($250,000) — $50,000 of which is conditioned upon Dunn’s future NWSL playing status

Courage receive:

  • Goalkeeper Casey Murphy
  • Allocation money ($140,000) paid over 2021 ($65,000) and 2022 ($75,000)

Rumors surrounding a potential deal between North Carolina and Portland for Dunn had been brewing for some time as the U.S. women’s national team defender, although a deal had yet to be finalized between the two clubs before OL Reign entered the trade mix in order to swing the big trade.

“Crystal has been an integral part of the Courage success story,” North Carolina coach Paul Riley said in a press release. “Her professionalism and performances at our club have been nothing short of fabulous. Sometimes a player’s personal needs take precedent and we wish her a successful future with her new club.”

OL Reign, a team in the Pacific Northwest (backed by French outfit Olympique Lyonnais), are now walking away with a quarter-million of allocation money and a draft pick after trading goalkeeper Casey Murphy for the rights to Dunn, and then flipping Dunn to Portland.

“Crystal’s agent was adamant that it was her priority to join her husband at their home in Portland — there was simply no viable alternative for Crystal other than a move to Portland,” OL Reign CEO Bill Predmore said in a statement. “In the absence of Portland and North Carolina being able to agree to a deal directly, we decided to play a role in facilitating what we viewed as an inevitable outcome. Through that process we acquired assets that we are confident will help us significantly strengthen our squad in 2021 and beyond.

“The decision to trade Casey was extremely difficult given her consistently outstanding performances for the club since she arrived in 2019. However, the assets we acquired in the trade will help us realize the ambitious plans that we have outlined for the team in 2021. All funds generated through the trade will be invested in our current players, or in players that we expect will join the club for the 2021 season.”

A direct deal between North Carolina and Portland ahead of an expansion draft seemed nearly unlikely until OL Reign entered the equation, and the done deal appears to have both USNWT teammates Lindsey Horan and Crystal Dunn on the roster ahead of 2021.

“Crystal is a game-changer, and with her intelligence, dribbling, passing and finishing ability, she can unlock a game in a split second, while her defensive qualities and work rate make her as impactful off the ball as she is on it,” said Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons. “She has a winning mentality, a contagious personality full of positivity and the desire to be the best and make people around her the best.”

What’s next

The roster movement on Thursday put the offseason in full swing for NWSL as the expansion draft approaches on Nov. 12. Thursday marked the closing of the trade window for teams ahead of the the draft, where the end-of-season process closes on Oct. 29 with Nov. 4 as the final date for teams to have their protected roster list submitted to the league.

About Author

Gere Allan

Gere Allan is an English football writer and novelist. He spent much of his career based in Italy and has been seen as one of the leading authorities on Italian football as a result.

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