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Blue Notes: NWSL Expansion Draft, Charlotte FC’s Kit, SKC, KC Current, MLS Cup

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Lots of big names are unprotected for NWSL Expansion Draft, a look back at Sporting KC’s season and more.

Soccer: USWNT International Friendly-Korea at USA Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Lots of stories that are easy to miss around the world, let’s get caught up a little bit.

NWSL Expansion Draft Shenanigans

If you haven’t been following the lead up to the NWSL Expansion Draft for the San Diego Wave and Angel City FC, it’s been kind of weird. First, since this is a Kansas City site, the Kansas City Current are fully protected and won’t lose any players as a part of their agreement to move to KC last year. However, a bunch of other teams have full or partial protection due to a series of trades. The Chicago Red Stars, North Carolina Courage and NJ/NY Gotham FC are all exempt.

CBS Sports has a good breakdown of the full protected (and more importantly, unprotected) lists from each team. There are some big unprotected names, like Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, Meghan Klingenberg, Christine Sinclar, Tobin Heath (just her rights, she’s not in the league) and Kristie Mewis. Becky, Meghan and Christine are all on Portland who can only lose one player due to some trading. I’d take Sauerbrunn in a heartbeat if I was building a team, despite her being 36, however, the Utah Royals (now the KC Current) traded her to Portland to be closer to home, so taking her is a risk. I suspect she won’t be drafted.

The draft will go down Thursday, December 16th at 6:00 PM CST on CBS Sports Network, along with Paramount+ and CBS Sports HQ.

SKC Year in Review

MLSsoccer.com’s Matt Doyle did his review of Sporting Kansas City’s 2021 season. It feels mostly accurate. He confirmed his Defender of the Year vote went to Andreu Fontas, which is interesting (Fontas finished 4th). My biggest area of disagreement is around Sporting’s “new” players. He thought Nicolas Isimat-Mirin was just “fine” when healthy, where I thought he was a difference maker. He was also pretty low on Remi Walter’s abilities, where I thought he came long pretty well as the season continued.

He does, however, point out that SKC are pretty old in some key spots only finding two players under 30 (Salloi and Kinda) to build around (when he said he aims for five). Obviously there are some guys coming up (Hernandez, Lindsey, Duke), but they have to contribute more to make that list.

Charlotte FC Unveil New Kit

The North Carolina expansion side are first to the press with their 2022 kit. For me, it’s fine. It’s nothing special, but as we’ve learned over the years, the lead time to get a kit to market is long. It leads to expansion teams having kind of blah kits. I like this one more than most of the other previous expansion teams (Nashville, Miami, etc.). The white sleeves and white shorts look good. Another blue kit isn’t great, but I get it for a team out of North Carolina.

MLS Cup is Today

The unlikely final between the Portland Timbers and New York City FC is today at 2:00 CST (2:23 kick off). We are all obviously disappointed that Kansas City lost but I’m glad Real Salt Lake didn’t make it (hate those guys, but SKC have to figure them out). Then again, I don’t care for either finalist. I’m pulling for NYCFC because I can’t root for Portland (can’t have them having as many MLS Cups as SKC) even though I’m not City Football Group fan. I do think New York are the better team but Providence Park is a tough place to play and should be a great atmosphere today.

Quick Links

  • Sam Mewis debuts with her new Kansas City Current jersey
  • The Players Tribine has a nice feature between Alan Pulido and Ozzie Cisneros. Twitter has a Closed Caption option for the Spanish if you don’t speak it, like myself.
  • St. Louis native, and Sporting KC’s Homegrown rights player (those have past because of lack of training time, but it’s funny to point out), Josh Sargent plays Manchester City today.

There are lots of things happening Major League Soccer this week with their offseason schedule. Be sure to be up to date and ready.