Angel City Trades For Sydney Leroux In Blockbuster Deal

But what the heck is going on in Orlando?

NWSL side Angel City FC announced a completed a trade with the Orlando Pride for former USWNT forward and 2015 World Cup champion Sydney Leroux. The Leroux trade sees her move to Los Angeles following an almost five-year stint with the Pride during which she scored 16 league goals in 53 appearances. 

Breaking Down the Sydney Leroux Trade

In exchange for Leroux’s services, Orlando receives a 2024 first-round pick and $75,000 in allocation money, with the potential for more to be added on should Leroux meet certain performance standards. 

In Leroux, Angel City's acquiring a versatile forward who, despite her national team years being behind her, is still very much capable of contributing. News of the trade will be welcome among Angel City fans, who've been mourning the loss of star forward Christen Press to a torn ACL. Since losing Press, Angel City has won just one game in five. 

“Sydney’s goal-scoring ability, her tenacity, and her passion on the field will be exciting for our fans to watch,” Angel City club director Eniola Aluko said on the club’s website. “We are also delighted to add another mother of two beautiful children to our team and organization.”

If Leroux continues to produce goals like this one, Angel City got its money’s worth. 

Is the Leroux Trade the Result of Discrimination in Orlando?

For Orlando, the move completes a fire-sale which has also seen Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris and a plethora of others depart the club. 

Rebuilds are part of sports. At first glance, this would be the only explanation for a mass exodus of such epic proportions. In Orlando, however, it appears there's more going on beneath the surface.

All of these departures took place after Amanda Cromwell was hired as head coach in December 2021. In early June, Cromwell and assistant coach Sam Greene were placed on administrative leave, pending investigation, for "alleged retaliation in violation of the NWSL Policy to Prevent and Eliminate Workplace Discrimination, Harassment, and Bullying," per an official team report.

The Athletic reported that this policy is designed to prevent retaliation for “filing a good faith report under [the NWSL] Policy; supporting or assisting, in good faith, someone else in pursuing a report or in an investigation; objecting to misconduct; or filing, testifying, assisting or participating in any manner in any investigation, proceeding or hearing conducted by a governmental enforcement agency.”

Cromwell's suspension is the latest in a wave of suspensions and firings for abusive behavior and violations of the NWSL discrimination policy. Following Cromwell's suspension, a player transaction freeze was placed on Orlando. The Leroux trade is the first major transaction that's been made since the policy was lifted on June 17.

The suspension for retaliation — paired with a list of departures as long as Moby Dick — leads us to question whether players were released or traded as punishment for their actions behind closed doors or for reporting Cromwell to the NWSL for misconduct. Until the results of the investigation, this is pure speculation, but something weird is undeniably going on here. I'm just happy Leroux is free from it.  

Angel City currently occupies the sixth and final playoff spot. Orlando sits in lowly 11th.