The Washington Spirit apparently isn’t done making news today. The team traded for Lindsay Taylor, yet another young forward with a good resume but someone made expendable in Seattle with Renee Cuellar’s acquisition earlier in the day. The Spirit and Reign also exchanged draft picks — Washington got a “conditional” fourth-rounder from Seattle, the Reign got a second-rounder from the Spirit.
The deal put the Spirit over the roster cap again, so they had to waive someone. And that has stolen a lot of the Twitter discussion. Domenica Hodak had apparently won over a lot of fans. (Or a couple of other players were on the fans’ bad side.)
To analyze this, I’ll make a composite character out of various reactions I’ve seen today.
Q: Is the Taylor deal a good one for the Spirit?
A; Hard to see how it’s not. A second-round pick isn’t that high a price for one of the top players on Stanford’s awesome 2011 championship team, someone who was drafted sixth in the 2012 WPS Draft. (The Spirit is loading up on 2012 draftees — Stephanie Ochs was No. 3, Taylor No. 6, Tori Huster No. 8, former Spirit player Ingrid Wells No. 9, Toni Pressley No. 13, Jasmyne Spencer No. 21.) Even with Conny Pohlers on the roster, another scoring option isn’t a bad thing on a team that hasn’t scored in five games.
And she has scored in a Spirit game already! (Opening goal for Seattle in Washington’s lone win, the 4-2 decision at Seattle.)
Q. But why did they waive Hodak and not Roberts, King or another player I don’t like?
A: Maybe a combination of practice habits and a couple of times being out of position, such as the goal in Kansas City in which Lauren Cheney was wide open on Ashlyn Harris’ doorstep.
Roberts completes tons of passes. Go ahead, check the games out on YouTube.
Q. Why not waive Tiffany McCarty? I don’t like her!
A: You don’t, but a lot of people in soccer do. She was the No. 2 overall pick for a reason, though Chris Henderson ranked her ninth (second among pure forwards after the Spirit’s second-round pick, Caroline Miller.) She’s a U23 mainstay who scored a ton of goals in college.
If McCarty leaves Washington, it’ll be by trade. Not waivers. It’d be stupid to waive someone who has value. Other coaches think they can coax better production out of her than Washington has.
(I know — the Spirit waived Ingrid Wells, who may also have trade value, but there are extenuating circumstances in that case that will be more fully revealed later. Nothing that reflects poorly on her.)
Q. Well, why not waive another attacker? Isn’t the Spirit thin on defense?
A. Remember that Miller is out for the season, but still, that’s a valid question. The defenders on the Spirit: Ali Krieger, Candace Chapman, Toni Pressley, Robyn Gayle, Kika Toulouse. Then Tori Huster, the midfielder who played a lot of outside back for Western New York last year and picked up center back pretty well this year. That’s six. After that — maybe Holly King?
Q. Why not waive Caroline Miller? She’s injured, so that frees a roster spot.
A. First – waiving her means losing her rights for next season. This team intends to be here past August.
Second – waiving a player for no reason other than her injury is a pretty crappy thing to do, it would piss off players and fans, and it would make free agents less likely to come to Washington in the future.
Q. So is that the end of the “Krieger to midfield” movement?
A. Within Spirit camp, I have no indication that it ever begun.
Q. Did the new coach make this deal?
A. Doubtful, at least in terms of the trade. Nothing happens that quickly.
Q. So who’s starting Wednesday?
A. I have even less idea than usual.