Portland’s Alex Morgan quiet on Orlando trade talk
ORLANDO, Fla. — If Alex Morgan is on the verge of joining the National Women’s Soccer League’s new expansion team in Orlando, she still isn’t ready to say so just yet.
Morgan was greeted by cheers from fans on Saturday as she walked with teammates onto the field at Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium for the U.S. women’s national team practice ahead of Sunday’s exhibition match against Brazil.
That smile remained when she was asked about reports this week that she could soon be dealt from the Portland Thorns to the NWSL’s expansion Orlando Pride, which begins play in 2016.
Morgan’s husband Servando Carrasco plays for Orlando City in the MLS. On Saturday, national team coach Jill Ellis called Orlando Morgan’s ”new city” when asked about the reports before practice.
”Right now, I do call Orlando home. So it’s definitely understandable for my coach to see this city as my home,” Morgan said. ”Nothing is confirmed right now. So I can’t really speak on that. My agent is dealing with all of those negotiations.
”So I’m excited just to be able to play here (Sunday) and get a feel of what the crowd will be like next year supporting Orlando Pride.”
Sports Illustrated first reported the potential deal that would send Morgan and Canadian Kaylyn Kyle to Orlando for the Pride’s first pick of the NWSL draft, two international slots, and the U.S. national team defender Meghan Klingenberg, currently with the Houston Dash.
The NWSL expansion team was announced Tuesday by the Orlando City officials, who are trying capitalize on the momentum created the Lions’ first MLS campaign. In their inaugural season, Orlando City set a league record for an expansion team, drawing an average of 32,847 fans for home games.
Morgan, a U.S. national team forward, helped the Americans win the recent World Cup. The Thorns finished just 6-9-5 in 2015, but have one of the most successful franchises in the NWSL – making the playoffs in 2013 and 2014.
Portland has led the league in attendance in all three of NWSL’s seasons. In July, the Thorns had the second-largest, stand-alone crowd in women’s professional soccer history when its match with the Seattle Reign drew 21,144 fans.
Asked about a growing buzz that has been created by the trade rumors, Morgan said it makes sense based on what she described as a growing soccer culture in Orlando.
She said through Carrasco, she’s already had a chance to meet Orlando’s owners and is inspired by their vision.
”I think it’s really great to so Orlando City now bringing on a women’s team, bringing on the Pride, because you see they’re a soccer city and you see that what this ownership group has been able to do just within the last year with this city,” Morgan said. ”I’m really happy to have a new team joining. Orlando is going to do it right, I know that for sure.”