(Daniel Bartel/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

Angel City FC continues to grow its roster ahead of next weeks drafts, acquiring USWNT star Julie Ertz and NWSL Defender of the Year nominee Sarah Gorden from the Chicago Red Stars in exchange for full roster protection in the 2022 NWSL Expansion Draft.

Additionally, ACFC will receive an international slot from Chicago in 2022 and 2023.

Previously, the club had signed USWNT star forward, two-time Olympian and World Cup Champion Christen Press.

“Julie Ertz and Sarah Gorden are two players that are so important for the defensive foundation we are building on the Angel City roster,” said ACFC Sporting Director Eni Aluko. “We know successful football teams need to have competitive defenses and we are delighted with the addition of two competitive defenders with many years of NWSL experience.”

According to a release by the Red Stars, the moves “prioritize and honor the wishes of select players.”

Chicago has had a roller coaster few months, reaching the NWSL Championship final before head coach Rory Dames resigned ahead of verbal and emotional abuse allegations.

“The level of experience and leadership that both Julie Ertz and Sarah Gorden bring to a team is incredible,” said ACFC Head Coach Freya Coombe. “Julie is such a known leader and competitor on top of being a rock in the middle of the field. Sarah is absolutely one of the league’s best defenders. She was excellent all season and stood out in the NWSL Championship. They are the calibre of player that we want on the field playing for Angel City.”

The Red Stars also saw to a trade with San Diego that sent Katie Johnson, Makenzy Doniak and Kelsey Turnbow to the Wave in exchange for draft protection and allocation money. Additionally, Nikki Stanton has been traded to OL Reign.

While altogether, the trades may appear somewhat lopsided, with Chicago losing a total of six players while taking in zero, it is worth noting that Chicago had five USWNT allocated players and could only protect one in the expansion draft. With the roster protection they received in both trades, the Red Stars will now be able to keep Tierna Davidson, Casey Krueger, Alyssa Naeher and Mallory Pugh.