Trade alert: Press, Johnson to Utah; Huerta, Comeau to Houston; Elby to Chicago

Press is headed to Utah Royals FC

(L-R): Taylor Comeau, Sofia Huerta, Christen Press, Sam Johnson and Brooke Elby (Photo credit: isiphotos.com)

The Houston Dash, Chicago Red Stars and Utah Royals FC announced a pair of trades on Monday night that will, among other things, see Christen Press return to the NWSL.

The details:

First, the Houston Dash traded the rights to Press to the Red Stars and a conditional first-round pick in the 2020 NWSL College Draft in exchange for forward Sofia Huerta and midfielder Taylor Comeau.

Then, the Red Stars traded defender Sam Johnson and the rights to Press to Utah Royals FC in exchange for defender Brooke Elby, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft and an additional first-round pick in the same draft (acquired via the Orlando Pride in the trade for Sydney Leroux, a pick that originated with Seattle Reign FC). Also going to the Red Stars from Utah are three conditional picks: a first-round and a second-round pick in the 2020 NWSL College Draft and a first-round pick in 2021.

Utah’s acquisition of Press is the second major trade involving Press in 2018. The Dash acquired the rights to Press from the Red Stars in a January three-team trade, but she did not report to preseason camp for Houston. In March, Press signed with Göteborg FC in Sweden and has spent the last three months there. Most recently, Press joined the U.S. women’s national team for their two friendlies vs. China PR last week, including one at her new home field of Rio Tinto Stadium. Press has 35 career NWSL regular season goals, coming in 60 games and all with the Red Stars. Her total is fourth all-time in NWSL history.

Utah Royals FC said that Press could be available next week for Wednesday, June 27’s game at home vs. Seattle Reign FC. Utah Royals FC’s next game is on the road vs. the Red Stars at Toyota Park, this Saturday, but it appears that Press will not be available for that game. Johnson, however, is more likely to see action vs. her former team as the club said she would arrive in Utah this week.

Huerta was named April Player of the Month earlier this season for the Red Stars. She had played for the Red Stars for the past three seasons after being drafted with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2015 NWSL College Draft. She has 22 career goals in 74 games.

Johnson has been a member of the Red Stars since making the team through open tryouts in 2014 and has appeared in 77 games. Comeau made the Red Stars after preseason camp in 2016. She has two goals and two assists in 46 career appearances.

Elby was acquired by Utah Royals FC in the January dispersal draft after the Boston Breakers ceased operations. She appeared in seven games for Utah this season and 26 games in the two previous seasons with the Breakers.

Huerta, Johnson and Comeau all missed Chicago’s game this past weekend and the Red Stars announced prior to the game vs. the Thorns that they were unavailable for the match due to a pending trade. Elby was not available for selection for Utah vs. the Courage.

The Dash also announced on Monday that they had waived Claire Falknor and defender Alli Murphy.