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NWSL Ticker: Crystal Dunn dealt to Thorns, Racing Louisville lands two Red Stars

After a fruitful three years which yielded two NWSL Championships, Crystal Dunn has parted ways with the North Carolina Courage.

In 2021 she will suit up at Providence Park with the Portland Thorns, linking up with fellow USWNT regulars Lindsey Horan and Becky Sauerbrunn, among others.

The trade, which had lengthy conditions, looked to be the only activity as the deadline came to a close on Thursday, but the announcement of a major move for the league’s newest franchise was kept under wraps until Monday.

At long last, 2021 Racing Louisville knows who the first two women on the roster will be after striking a deal with the Chicago Red Stars, who sent two key pieces from last season’s attacking troop.

Here is a closer look at the deadline deals:

Three-team deal sends Dunn to Portland

A blockbuster deal which did not go the way the crow flies saw Dunn unearthed from perennial powerhouse North Carolina Courage, to bitter rival Portland Thorns.

OL Reign entered the scene to make the deal possible, and was perhaps the biggest beneficiary with its current circumstances considered. As the Farid Benstiti experiment continues, the team received a haul of assets which will help bring in some new talent, and maybe some star power as Megan Rapinoe’s future with the team remains uncertain.

For the Courage, Dunn’s departure follows that of Sam Mewis, who opted to test herself in England’s Women’s Super League with Manchester City earlier in the year. For the first time in a while, the odds-on league favorite has holes to fill, but did receive a fair bit of cash to work with in doing so.

As for Portland, the versatile Dunn told Oregon Live that she is looking to be more of an attacking player. The Thorns are a readymade contender with no shortage of national team talent, but are down a star after Tobin Heath opted to head to Europe to play with Manchester United.

Apart from the obvious, the Thorns secured a win in the trade by only having to part ways with material assets, rather than any of their coveted star players or rising youngsters.

Here’s a closer look at how the deal shook out:

North Carolina Courage

Received from Reign: Casey Murphy (GK), $140,000 in allocation money

Sent to Reign: Crystal Dunn (M)

OL Reign

Received from North Carolina: Crystal Dunn

Received from Portland: 2021 international roster slot, 2022 natural first-round draft pick, and $250,000 in allocation money. $50,000 of which is conditional should Dunn decide to leave the league.

Sent to North Carolina: Casey Murphy, $140,000 in allocation money

Sent to Portland: Crystal Dunn

Portland Thorns

Received from Reign: Crystal Dunn

Sent to Reign: The cash, roster slot, and draft pick listed above.

Nagasato, McCaskill head to Louisville

Japanese international and 2011 World Cup winner Yuki Nagasato, and striker Savannah McCaskill, are heading to Racing Louisville after the team came to terms with the Chicago Red Stars, who also sent a first round daft pick and international roster spots to protect themselves from being ransacked further in the upcoming expansion draft.

The seemingly lopsided deal affords Chicago peace of mind knowing that it is in full control of any upcoming departures as Louisville will be looking to maximize the one-time opportunity of the expansion draft on November 12th.

In short, here are the terms of the exchange:

Louisville received: Yuki Nagasato (F), Savannah McCaskill (F), fifth-overall selection in 2021 NWSL draft, international roster slots for 2021 and 2022.

Chicago received: Full protection on currently rostered players in the 2020 expansion draft.

As for the next step in Louisville’s inaugural roster, things will start to clear up a bit next week as teams release their lists of available players on November 5th.

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