After sending their third and fourth round 2015 NWSL draft picks to Sky Blue FC in exchange for 23-year old defender Kendall Johnson, Portland Thorns FC entered Philadelphia without any picks in the four-round draft.
That status remained the same following the draft, as Portland selected zero players from the 36 college prospects chosen—the only team to do so.
The Thorns did, however, not leave the City of Brotherly Love empty handed. In a three-team trade involving the Thorns, Houston Dash and Washington Spirit, Portland managed to land English forward Jodie Taylor.
In order to land Taylor, Portland first traded forward Jessica McDonald to Houston in exchange for the Dash’s 13th overall pick and a 2016 second-round pick.
From there, the Thorns sent those acquisitions along with their natural second-round pick for 2016 to the Spirit for Taylor.
Having scored 11 goals in 21 games last season—tied for third most in the league, Taylor adds even more firepower to a Thorns side headlined by two of the best forwards in the world in Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair.
“[Houston] got a player that we’ve given up, but for us, we just needed this piece,” Portland head coach Paul Riley said about Taylor’s addition following the draft. “This piece was massive for us and I think she’ll be a huge help.”
Taylor’s addition appears to be more than enough for Riley, who enters his second year at the helm with his core squad from 2014 intact following a debut season that experienced plenty of overhaul and inconsistent form.
Though Riley’s goal to add a few key pieces was accomplished, he did acknowledge the wealth of prospects in this year’s draft pool.
“This was a great deep draft,” Riley said. “… There was a couple that went in the fourth round that I would of loved [to have] to be honest with you but the team did well.”
With the likes of Morgan and Sinclair expected to miss a significant amount of time with international duty during the World Cup in early June, only time will tell if Portland made the right decisions on draft day.
But with many teams in the NWSL also expected to experience the same overhaul, Riley believes his team is prepared for the loss of some of its key players.
“I think balancing is going to be the issue for us obviously making sure we do have players and once we get all the dates from the Canadians and from the Americans we’ll try and figure everything out,” Riley said on Portland’s website. “But I think we’re in pretty good position where we won’t be short and we’ll be able to turn out a top notch team every week.”