Sky Blue FC has acquired forward/defender Midge Purce and a 2021 first-round pick from Portland Thorns FC in return for Costa Rican midfielder Raquel Rodriguez. The trade, despite switching top-level talent, is overshadowed by the other trade that Portland finalized on Wednesday. The Thorns traded Emily Sonnett, Caitlin Foord, and two draft picks for the first-overall selection in the 2020 NWSL College Draft.
Purce is a versatile player that new Sky Blue FC head coach Freya Coombe can pair with star USWNT striker Carli Lloyd. Purce scored eight goals in 2019, and she proved especially valuable during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup when many of Portland's best players were away in France. With Purce adding pace and scoring prowess on the outside, Coombe can hold midfielder Paige Monaghan back to facilitate the offense. Monaghan and Julie James both made a big impact for SBFC as rookies in 2019, and they will need to take another step forward to fill the hole in the midfield left by the departure of Rodriguez. On its face, this trade seems like a slam dunk for Sky Blue, who have received a borderline USWNT player while simultaneously opening an international slot for use assuming that the slot wasn't bundled in the trade.
On the Portland side, the Thorns are in the midst of a major overhaul after a disappointing 2019 season that saw them fall in the first round of the playoffs. The addition of Rodriguez is going to help keep the team more consistent during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics while Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan, and Christine Sinclair are away with their respective national teams. Rodriguez is a powerful midfield players with good skill, and she had a consistently healthy season after an injury-plagued 2018 season. Unfortunately, Rodriguez does not project to help in the scoring department for Portland. It's going to be interesting to see how head coach Mark Parsons cobbles together a cohesive team after losing at least three significant pieces during the offseason, but Rodriguez should be a serviceable midfield asset.
The 2020 NWSL College draft will be held on January 16th. Portland holds the 1st-overall selection while Sky Blue FC holds the 2nd and 3rd overall selections in the first round.