Taylor Kornieck Flint has been traded by the San Diego Wave to Racing Louisville in exchange for $150,000 in allocation money.

The midfielder has spent the last two seasons with the Wave, making 37 regular season appearances. She scored seven goals and tallied four assists in the timespan, helping the club become the first expansion team in league history to make the playoffs in its debut. A year later, she helped San Diego win the NWSL Shield.

“We want to thank Taylor for her time with the club, and wanted to respect her request to pursue a new opportunity within the league,” said San Diego Wave FC General Manager Molly Downtain. “Taylor was a true professional on and off the field and we wish her all the best in this next step of her career.”

Kornieck, who got married in the offseason and is now Taylor Flint, was originally acquired by the Wave via a trade from the Orlando Pride ahead of the club’s inaugural season. Across all NWSL competitions, she’s made 74 appearances and scored 10 career goals.

The No. 3 pick in the 2020 NWSL draft, she ranks in the 90th percentile or higher in aerials won, blockade shots, clearances, interceptions, shot attempts and touches in the attack area per 90 minutes when compared to fellow midfielders in leagues around the world.

“I’m super excited to have a chance to represent this organization,” Flint said. “New beginnings are usually tough, but if the amount of support I have already received says anything about the future, this is going to be a special place.”

While with San Diego, Flint received her first U.S. women’s national team call-up, becoming the tallest player in program history to earn a cap with the national team. In her USWNT debut, Kornieck scored in the 90th minute.

“We are so excited for Taylor to join our group!” said Racing head coach Bev Yanez. “She’s dynamic and has such a strong presence on both sides of the ball. She provides versatility with a wealth of league experience, which will be a huge addition to the squad.”

Whittling down a World Cup roster to 23 players can be difficult, particularly if you are head coach of the U.S. women’s national team and have a plethora of talent to choose from.

USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski will announce his choices next week, and while some players have solidified their spots, others remain on the bubble. Which players are fighting for a trip to Australia and New Zealand?

Goalkeepers: AD Franch, Aubrey Kingsbury

Kingsbury has been playing lights out to begin the season. Franch, on the other hand, has seen limited appearances on the field, and has struggled when she has appeared for the Kansas City Current.

And while Alyssa Naeher is a staple for the USWNT, she has given up nine goals in her last two outings for the Red Stars, so Andonovski may want to stick with the backup who has the better recent résumé.

Defenders: Sofia Huerta, Tierna Davidson, Kelley O’Hara, Casey Krueger

Sofia Huerta had a great game last weekend against Kansas City, burying a penalty kick to give OL Reign the win. She was named Player of the Match and earned a nomination for NWSL Player of the Week. A former attacker turned right-back, her 35 regular-season goals rank 17th in NWSL history, so she could bring an additional scoring presence to a USWNT squad that has had a defender score in each of its last two friendlies. But she’s going up against O’Hara and Krueger, with each bringing a different element to the table — and while O’Hara has been struggling to stay healthy, Krueger’s versatility could give her the nod.

Davidson is another bubble player who faces stiff competition to make the final 23. At center-back, she is likely competing with OL Reign’s Emily Sonnett. In Chicago, Davidson has struggled – as has the rest of the Red Star defense – and was out before that with an ACL tear. She was the youngest player on the roster at the 2019 World Cup, but she could find herself on the outside looking in this time around.

Midfielders: Taylor Kornieck, Savannah DeMelo

Julie Ertz’s return to the USWNT lineup has meant one less spot on the USWNT roster because, let’s face it, there’s no way Ertz is being left at home. Kornieck has had solid USWNT minutes, and at 6-1 she is the tallest player the USWNT has to go up against opposition. Before sustaining an abdominal injury, Kornieck was leading the NWSL in aerials won. She’s already scored once this year for the USWNT, one of just a few players to do so, and would be a solid bench option for Andonovski.

DeMelo, meanwhile, has had an outstanding start to her NWSL season and week after week continues to make her case for the USWNT roster. She scored in four of five appearances to start the season and forced an own goal against Chicago. In May, she was named the NWSL’s Player of the Month. If NWSL play really does matter that much to Andonovski, then he’ll take DeMelo down under.

Forwards: Jaedyn Shaw, Midge Purce

If Andonovski is considering young star Alyssa Thompson for a roster spot, he should also be considering Shaw. Shaw has been a force for San Diego this season, not just as the team’s second-leading scorer but also as a passer. While her consistency needs some work, she has two seasons of professional experience under her belt that could be helpful on the world’s biggest stage.

Purce, meanwhile, has had a bumpy road with the USWNT, and a recent hip injury has kept her from NWSL play. While Purce has the talent to help the USWNT, her lack of recent playing time means she could get left at home.

Taylor Kornieck knows what her opponents see when she runs on the field. The San Diego Wave forward is the tallest field player in U.S. women’s national team history, an asset she uses to her advantage in aerial challenges in the midfield and towering headers in the attack.

“I do think that it’s something that no other team has, just a huge 6-1 girl running straight down the middle, and it’s a very dangerous thing to have,” she said with a smile before San Diego’s season opener, a 3-2 win over the Chicago Red Stars last weekend.

But her obvious physical attributes sometimes make it easy to overlook other skills she brings to the game, not least of which is a voracious desire to learn and improve.

At halftime of their season opener, the Wave found themselves knotted in a 2-2 draw in front of over 30,000 home fans. Head coach Casey Stoney had drawn her midfield up into a box formation for the game, with Kornieck at the top of the box. Teams have extensive scouting reports for a player like Kornieck, especially for late in a game when set pieces can make the difference. Against Chicago, the Wave’s midfield approach began to stretch the Red Stars’ defense late in the match, helping Alex Morgan draw a penalty and score the game-winning penalty kick in the 89th minute.

“I think when Kornieck’s in the game, you’re almost stupid to not play to her strengths, because what she does is so special in our game,” Chicago Red Stars head coach Christ Petrucelli said after the opener.

But what those strengths are have been put under a microscope as the midfielder continues to make her case for the USWNT roster. An attacking midfielder for her club, Kornieck has been slotted in as a forward attacking midfielder, a defensive midfielder and, she says, sometimes even at center back when training with the U.S. The juggling act makes it harder to get a clear picture of a talented player who has yet to reach her ceiling.

Kornieck’s ascension to the USWNT began with a fresh start in 2022, just two years into her professional career. A standout at the University of Colorado, Kornieck was selected third in the 2020 draft by the Orlando Pride, highly touted not only for her physicality but her ability to progress play with the ball at her feet. The season that followed was not what Kornieck — or anyone else — expected. Weeks into preseason, the NWSL canceled their regular season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and held the first-ever Challenge Cup as a stopgap tournament.

But the Pride didn’t get a chance to participate. Players tested positive for COVID right before the tournament was set to begin, making travel to Utah impossible for the group.

Without a real rookie year, Kornieck played her first regular season with the Pride in 2021 and grew more unsure Orlando provided the trajectory she wanted for her career. She registered two goals and three assists as the Pride lost head coach Marc Skinner to the WSL’s Manchester United midseason and finished eighth out of 10 teams.

“I didn’t really have the greatest year,” she says. “I just knew deep down I could strive to be so much better than how I was playing there.

“I think I don’t even look back at Orlando anymore, because I just know that that truly wasn’t me. Now I’m starting to sprout here and really blossom in who I want to become.”

Kornieck finished with three goals and three assists for the second-place Wave last season. (Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

As San Diego began roster-building for the first time, Kornieck immediately saw the expansion club as a good fit for her, and worked with her agent to make a trade out West a reality. The new club presented not only a chance for her to move closer to home in Las Vegas, but also to grow into the player she knew she could be with the right guidance.

“I felt like in Orlando, I mean, even in college, I really didn’t get the opportunity to learn truly and, and learn properly from — I had great coaches, don’t get me wrong — but I just felt like in a professional career, you just need a little bit more,” she says.

The 24-year-old found that guidance under Stoney, who led the Wave to third place in the 2022 regular-season standings and the semifinals of the playoffs, marking the best finish by a first-year expansion side in NWSL history.

The process begins in training.

“She gives us the space to feel free to make mistakes, and I think that’s something that’s not really taken that seriously at other clubs,” Kornieck says. “Mistakes are what make you grow.”

Providing the space to make mistakes is an intentional approach by Stoney, who says she did a lot of listening in her first year as an NWSL coach to understand what players coming in from other clubs needed in a training environment.

“I listened about their experiences and what they had previously undergone with other coaches, and mistakes were not allowed,” Stoney says. “The consequences were huge, the way that they would get almost screamed at and disciplined if they did make mistakes.”

Stoney’s approach has given her players the freedom to make the occasional risky pass, a skill Kornieck showcases with the ability of a veteran. She plays an attacking role in the midfield for the Wave, sitting right underneath Alex Morgan, who was also a teammate in Orlando.

“I think she has more of a clearer idea of what is expected of her from Casey,” Morgan says. “Which I think really helps her a lot in inner confidence, and knowing exactly what she needs to do on and off the field.”

Kornieck credits her first season in San Diego for helping her tighten up her positioning in space, which then allows her to focus on receiving and progressing the ball. When asked about her underrated strengths, she says she trusts her own vision in tight spaces, sometimes making the pass that no one else sees.

“I think it gives me more space in my brain to focus on other things,” she says.

Kornieckhas leaned on veteran Alex Morgan's guidance while adjusting to her many roles. (Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The ability to adjust her positioning has proven to be her greatest asset to the national team, where head coach Vlatko Andonovski has used the midfielder in many different roles primarily off the bench.

“Of course everyone sees her as one of the tallest players, if not the tallest field player, in the league, but what people didn’t maybe see until last year was just how good she is at her feet, and getting out of situations that most people wouldn’t be able to get out otherwise,” says Morgan.

As a No. 6 option at the international level, Kornieck solves problems through short passes, minimizing risk in dangerous areas and not playing the tricky ball she’s known for in the NWSL. Once again, she’s had to learn to adapt to wildly different roles based on the game she’s entering, but Kornieck approaches the challenge with the same desire to improve.

“I need to just focus on me as a player,” she says, “and knowing my characteristics as a player instead of a certain position.”

Playing for the USWNT, the No. 1 team in the world, comes with a certain amount of outside pressure. Kornieck relies on Morgan, a USWNT veteran, for guidance on how to adapt to two very different roles for club and country.

“I’m always just picking her brain on just any more information she could give me,” Kornieck says.

Defensive positioning and simple passing are her focused areas of improvement, but she’s eager to pick up the skills to become a more well-rounded player.

“If you teach me how to do that, and I get some of that in my game as well on top of playing that long ball, which I do feel really comfortable doing, I think you could create something incredible,” she says.

For the USWNT, Kornieck embraces being whatever type of player she’s asked to be, with the goal of making her first major tournament roster for the 2023 World Cup. With just one national team camp left before Andonovski names the roster, Kornieck has continued to get consistent call-ups, most recently for the April international window, and appears to be one of the young players close to achieving that goal.

For the Wave, the task at hand is simpler: generate attack, score goals and keep improving. The club isn’t happy to simply repeat their 2022 success; they want to win every trophy available to them this year and play more nuanced styles of soccer, which requires the consistent progress that Kornieck embodies.

“I’ve worked closely with Taylor now for a year, I’ve seen so much growth and improvement,” Stoney says. “And I want to continue on that streak with her, because I think her ceiling is very high, and there’s so much more growth to come.”

Claire Watkins is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @ScoutRipley.

The SheBelieves Cup has two different purposes for the U.S. women’s national team: Prepare the core group for a round-robin format against top competition and continue to hone the team’s depth.

With top women’s soccer nations Brazil, Japan and Canada taking part in this year’s tournament, the balance between building confidence and evaluating talent will be as delicate as ever. With a middling finish to 2022, the U.S. could use a few wins to go into the World Cup with the confidence that they can come out on top against the world’s best.

With a few key roster decisions looming at certain positions, there are at least four players head coach Vlatko Andonovski should consider giving more playing time this tournament.

Adrianna Franch, goalkeeper

To give them both tournament experience and to keep competition fresh, all three U.S. goalkeepers should see time during the SheBelieves Cup. Franch has been called into three consecutive camps off the strength of an excellent NWSL season with Kansas City, but she has yet to see the field for the USWNT for the first time since 2021.

Franch is an excellent shot-stopper at the club level and went to the Tokyo Olympics as the team’s No. 2 goalkeeper, closing out the tournament for the U.S. after Alyssa Naeher suffered a knee injury. North Carolina’s Casey Murphy has moved into a more consistent role with the team after the Olympics, and Andonovski has given very little game time to the goalkeepers pushing for the third spot. I believe Franch has the ability to compete for more than the third goalkeeping spot and should get a chance to prove what she can do against top competition in 2023.

Taylor Kornieck, midfielder

Kornieck appears to have an inside lane to making the World Cup roster as defensive midfield depth and a set piece aerial specialist. The 24-year-old is getting up to speed quickly in a position she doesn’t regularly play. For her club team, the San Diego Wave, Kornieck usually plays in more of a connecting midfield role. If Andonovski is truly committed to having Kornieck prepared to step into an unfamiliar role in New Zealand, time against top competition will be crucial.

Kornieck seeing time as the No. 6 is also part of Andonovski’s plans to tweak the midfield structure since the U.S. lost three games in a row at the end of 2022 for the first time in almost 30 years. Kornieck as a defensive midfielder requires something closer to a double pivot 4-2-3-1 formation, where either Lindsey Horan or Rose Lavelle sits further back to provide defensive cover and help in distribution. Those roles are likely just as essential as whoever plays the No. 6 (Andi Sullivan is the preferred starter), and forging that midfield chemistry will be key during the SheBelieves Cup.

Sofia Huerta, defender

The USWNT defense hasn’t felt completely settled going into 2023, with outside backs coming in and out of camp due to injury and availability. Huerta played a lion’s share of the team’s right-back minutes in 2022, but her role could become even more nuanced as other players return.

Huerta is a converted winger who is one of the best crossers in the women’s game, with an attacker’s approach to her position on defense. When the U.S. midfield tries to draw their opponents in centrally by holding the ball, Huerta is there to receive passes out wide and send the ball in quickly to set up goal-scoring opportunities.

Huerta’s progression as a 1v1 defender has been a longer process, and with Crystal Dunn back in the mix at left back, Andonovski might choose to craft his starting XI with more tactical awareness in mind. He has opted for a defensive system with Dunn at left back and Emily Fox at right back while the team awaits the return of Kelley O’Hara from injury. Huerta has the ability to hurt any team on the counter-attack and can shine when tactical priorities are clear.

Alana Cook, defender

It’s impossible to know exactly where Cook sits on the current U.S. center-back depth chart. She played the most minutes of anyone on the USWNT in 2022, but she has rotated more with Becky Sauerbrunn and Naomi Girma since the U.S. defense struggled against top attacking teams late last year. Cook’s counterparts appear to be locks for the World Cup roster, with Sauerbrunn as the veteran presence and Girma the young natural at the position.

Cook herself frequently looks like a natural, but she isn’t immune to being a step too slow in reacting to dangerous moments, leading to goals conceded. She’s joined on the SheBelieves roster by Emily Sonnett, who has been used as a hybrid center back/outside back in the past. Tierna Davidson is likely one camp away from returning to game minutes.

The U.S. can’t bring Cook, Davidson and Sonnett to the World Cup, and these games are as much about working out defensive communication as they are about looking for individual moments of brilliance. Cook has earned Andonovski’s trust as a steady contributor and deserves a chance to solidify her place with the team this week with an all-around performance.

Claire Watkins is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @ScoutRipley.

Racing Louisville FC midfielder Jaelin Howell will replace San Diego Wave midfielder Taylor Kornieck on the U.S. Women’s National Team October roster, U.S. Soccer announced Saturday.

Kornieck has been ruled out of the team’s European swing due to an ankle injury.

The USWNT will take on England at Wembley Stadium on October 7 before traveling to Pamplona to face Spain on October 11.

Howell has five caps with the USWNT, most recently taking the pitch for the United States in the team’s April 9 matchup against Uzbekistan. Her last national team call-up came in June ahead of the 2022 Concacaf W Championship.

Kornieck joins San Diego Wave teammate Alex Morgan on the USWNT’s injury list, both missing the national team’s fall friendlies.

San Diego Wave head coach Casey Stoney will hope the break will help Morgan and Kornieck to get back healthy for the club’s NWSL playoff run.

“Alex, Taylor, Katie Johnson, Abby, the list is a bit endless to be honest,” Stoney said of San Diego’s injury list. “Now it’s about giving the players a little bit of rest time because it’s been a long season, this league takes it out of you when you are traveling coast to coast, to play a 90-minute game.”

With one week left in the regular season, the race to the NWSL playoffs remains tight.

Four teams have locked up their postseason berths, with help from stellar plays, while four other teams remain in the running for the final two spots in the six-team bracket.

NWSL Plays of the Week

Taylor Kornieck’s playoff-sealing equalizer

Kornieck was in the right place at the right time Sunday, slotting in a late-game equalizer against the Orlando Pride to help clinch a crucial standings point and San Diego’s playoff berth.

The Wave midfielder was perched in the box, waiting to pounce on her team’s set piece, before punching in a loose ball. With the goal, the Wave drew level with the Pride in the 87th minute.

With the 2-2 tie, San Diego became the first expansion club to advance to the NWSL playoffs.

While coach Casey Stoney expressed excitement about the club’s postseason berth, she was sober in her assessment of the team’s performance Sunday.

“We set our standards our expectations high and these players and my staff we want to achieve it so there’s just disappointment on the performance,” Stoney said. “I have to be extremely proud of how far we’ve come in a short space and time.”

Debinha’s hat trick

Debinha put on a show Saturday, logging a hat trick to lift the North Carolina Courage to a 3-0 win over Gotham FC to put her team in postseason position. With the win, the Courage control their own destiny heading into the final weekend of the regular season.

Of Debinha’s three quality finishes, perhaps the most impressive goal came in the 34th minute, when she volleyed a perfectly weighted ball past Gotham keeper Michelle Betos.

The 30-year-old’s remarkable showing earned the praise of coach Sean Nahas, who said Debinha is on a “different level.”

“Not sure there is a better player in the world right now,” Nahas said in a Twitter post after Saturday’s match.

Debinha now has 12 goals on the season, tied with Portland’s Sophia Smith for second in the Golden Boot race behind Alex Morgan, who leads the league with 15 goals.

Lo’eau LaBonta’s rocket

Lo’eau LaBonta continued to make her case for NWSL MVP as she helped the Kansas City Current to a 3-0 win Sunday over the Washington Spirit.

The shutout victory was critical for Kansas City, as it secured the Current a place in the NWSL postseason.

LaBonta opened the scoring in the 18th minute, striking a rocket from the top of the box for the go-ahead goal. The 29-year-old ran to the corner flag to revel in her banger, with one of the inventive goal celebrations that has become customary for the Current.

LaBonta has seven goals and four assists through 19 matches played, anchoring a surging Current side through the 2022 campaign.

Honorable mention

Portland’s Taylor Porter put the ball on a string, one-timing a worldie to the upper 90 to help the Thorns to a 3-0 win Sunday over the Chicago Red Stars.

For Taylor Kornieck, her first cap with the USWNT also meant her first international goal as she helped the team to a 3-0 win over Colombia on Saturday.

By nailing the end of a Megan Rapinoe free kick, she became the first USWNT player to score in their debut in six years and the 21st to do so. The last player to score in their debut was Kealia Ohai Watt.

“I mean, so sick. She comes in, scores a goal, does what she needs to do. First cap dream,” said teammate Alex Morgan. “She just came in and bossed.”

One of the tallest players in team history (she’s tied for the tallest in history at 6-foot-1), Kornieck said that earning her first cap “means everything to me,” and scoring was an added bonus.

“It’s been my dream since I was a little girl and scoring obviously wasn’t part of the plan but it’s a good perk,” Kornieck said.

A member of San Diego Wave FC, Kornieck has had a strong showing in the NWSL. She’s also impressed head coach Vlatko Andonovski as she’s continued to climb the ranks of the USWNT.

“Taylor has been very good in training, and we wanted to give her minutes to get her through some stress, nerves and anxiety of her first cap,” Andonovski said. “We believe that we will need her when we’re in the tournament (Concacaf W Championship).”

The USWNT takes the field Tuesday night for the second of its two friendlies against Colombia. Next week, the team starts its run in the Concacaf W Championship in Mexico, and that tournament will determine four automatic berths to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

San Diego Wave star Taylor Kornieck made a surprise appearance on USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski’s 23-player roster for July’s 2022 Concacaf W Championship, marking her first national team call-up.

The July competition will decide four automatic berths to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, as well as one berth to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

While Kornieck is new to the USWNT, she is a familiar name to NWSL fans. The 23-year-old was selected third overall in the 2020 NWSL Draft by the Orlando Pride before finding her way to the San Diego Wave this year for the club’s inaugural season. Standing at just over six feet tall, Kornieck’s height sets her apart as a substantial aerial threat in front of the goal.

The midfielder is more than her height, though, with Wave coach Casey Stoney praising Korneick as “coachable” and “worthy” of a USWNT call-up.

“People think she is just in there for her height, look at her feet, look at how she uses her feet, how she uses the ball and dictated the game,” Stoney said after Kornieck’s brace on June 8 against the Portland Thorns.

Kornieck’s inclusion in the USWNT midfield comes at a time when the traditionally deep position has been thinned out by injury. Sam Mewis is still rehabbing her knee, while Julie Ertz is out due to pregnancy.

Catarina Macario’s recent ACL tear is also a factor in the USWNT’s changing midfield, with the star striker’s absence potentially shifting the squad’s game plan.

In top form for San Diego, Alex Morgan is the prospective No. 9 for USWNT in place of Macario. Kornieck and Morgan have played together for the entirety of Kornieck’s professional career, with the duo’s chemistry evident in the final third.

Kornieck is also a jack of all trades in the center of the pitch, playing an important defensive role for the Wave, which is of particular value for the USWNT right now.

Midfielders Rose Lavelle and Ashley Sanchez have similar creative attacking abilities, as does Kristie Mewis. With the defensive midfield position in a state of flux without Ertz and given Andi Sullivan’s recent injuries, having a box-to-box midfielder able to command the center of the pitch on hand will be critical.

The first of two June friendlies against Colombia is scheduled for Saturday, June 25, at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado, with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. ET.

San Diego Wave FC has acquired the rights to Taylor Kornieck and Emily van Egmond from the Orlando Pride, the two clubs announced Tuesday. In exchange, the Pride receive $125,000 in allocation money and a second round pick in the 2024 NWSL Draft.

Should conditions be met, the Pride have the ability to earn additional allocation money.

“We would like to thank Taylor and Emily for their invaluable time with the Club and wish them luck as they embark on a new opportunity that aligns with their personal goals and circumstances,” Orlando Pride General Manager Ian Fleming said. “Our recruitment processes for 2022 and beyond continue and the assets we’ve acquired will allow us additional flexibility in building a squad capable of sustained success in our league.”

The addition of the two midfielders is a big get for the Wave, who have been shaping their team with a defensive mindset. USWNT defender Abby Dahlkemper was the first player to sign with the expansion club and with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2022 NWSL Draft, they chose defender Naomi Girma.

Kornieck was selected third overall by the Pride in the 2020 NWSL Draft. In 2021, she made 26 appearances, tallying two goals and three assists.

A member of the Pride from 2018-2020, van Egmond re-signed with the Pride late in 2021. Prior to that she had been on loan with Melbourne City and West Ham United, tallying 10 goals through 34 appearances.

“The acquisition of both Emily and Taylor are fantastic additions to help bolster our midfield area and give us the ability to compete as a brand new team in this extremely competitive league” said Wave FC head coach Casey Stoney. “Emily has vast experience in different leagues across the world and is a centurion at international level which is a great achievement and something that will really add to our squad. Taylor has already proved herself at NWSL level with some match winning performances and has a bright future ahead of her. I am very much looking forward to working with them both.”

NWSL preseason begins Feb. 1.