After achieving their best finish in their team history, the Chicago Red Stars strengthened their back line as they acquired defender Whitney Engen and a 2017 4th round pick from the Western New York Flash.
In exchange, Chicago traded away Abby Erceg, Adriana Leon, and a first round pick in next year's draft.
Getting a defender like Engen is a huge move for Chicago as they will improve on what was one of the best defenses in the NWSL. Although they were thrashed in their final game against FC Kansas City, Chicago played exceptional defense throughout the season. But this year they will be without Karina LeBlanc, who retired in the offseason. Michele Dalton is now the only goalkeeper on the roster and will have to adjust to being the first choice keeper if the Red Stars choose to keep it that way.
Engen will also provide experience at the back as she has Champions League experience playing for Tyresö in Sweden. Like striker Christen Press, Engen has used the experience in Europe to help her become a better player and it resulted in her being selected for the USWNT squad in Canada this past summer.
She will be forming a USWNT duo at the back with Julie Johnston, who had a breakout year for the Red Stars and had a terrific World Cup. Johnston and Engen have chemistry playing together in the national team and that will help as Engen adjusts to life and playing in Chicago. With both Johnston and Engen at the back, expect another rock solid Chicago defense this season.
As for Western New York, they will be getting a solid defender in Erceg and a young forward in Leon. After finishing 7th last year, the Flash will be looking to improve on that finish next year.