Thorns FC: The Midfield (now with 100% more Dagny!)

Per the Thorns Richard Farley it’s now official; Thorns FC has resigned Dagny Brynjarsdottir.

While this in itself is good news, given how gutted the Thorns midfield is likely to be at midsummer, with three (and, possibly, four) midfielders – including 2018’s top three scorers – gone for the World Cup, what’s really interesting to me is how this is being presented by the team.

Farley is the official voice of the Thorns’ Front Office, and here’s how he – and presumably, they – see Brynjarsdottir:

“Though she didn’t establish herself as a regular starter, that fight was completely understandable, given the strength of her team’s depth chart. Had she returned in 2018, she would have had an inside track on a starting spot.

“I played in Portland for two seasons, so it will also help that I know the place, the staff members and most of the players,” Brynjarsdottir said. The familiarity is the easiest thing to grasp about Brynjarsdottir’s fit. What was clear, though, are the culture factors that have led to this reunion – the type of qualities that rarely filter into the public sphere.”

First of all, that’s pretty fantastic. Brynjarsdottir was almost two different players over her two seasons, as we discussed in her comment in the original midfielders piece. The team itself is very different than it was at the end of 2017. Where – and whether – Dagny will fit in is a completely open question, and virtually an unknown. Where she will fit in when the World Cup internationals leave is another almost completely opaque mystery.

But seven minutes of time must be added on to Farley for being able to write this –

“That’s when the natural midfielder, in a derby against Seattle Reign FC at Memorial Stadium, was thrown into action at right back, a position she’d played sparingly before that point. Parsons had players like Ashleigh Sykes, Kendall Johnson and Celeste Boureille at his disposal that day – all players who had more experience at that spot than Brynjarsdottir – but when the decision was made as to who would be tasked with matching up with Reign dynamo Megan Rapinoe, the choice was Brynjarsdottir, a player whose attitude through one-and-a-half years’ competition showed Parsons she could matchup with the American international.

– without adding “…except she couldn’t, and Rapinoe ate her for lunch, ending the “Dagny-as-right-back” experiment after two games.” and then bursting into hysterical laughter.

How the hell he could print that with a straight face I have NO idea.

I love that Brynjarsdottir is versatile (and I note that she was decent in the previous match against FCKC as a RB, her first start after the return from her back injury) but to cite her “matchup with” Rapinoe? In Seattle? In 2017? As a good thing?

Perhaps in the mirror-Thorns universe where Parsons has a little soul-patch goatee and Sinc is evil and threatens everyone with a knife she carries strapped to her hip.

But for reals, and then calling out Dagny’s ill-fated stint at RB as evidence of her value to the team?

Ouch. I typically like Farley’s stuff, but there are times when I wonder if he’s not a trifle too close to the FO, and this is one of them.

That said, this is a worthwhile signing…with the caveat that one of our regular commentors over at Stumptown Footy, tonysocref, reminds us that per Jen at Keepersnote.com this puts the Thorns at a total of 6 internationals; Foord, Raso, Carpenter, Andressinha, Crnogorcevic, and now Brynjarsdottir.

The team only holds 4 international slots. So who has to go?

My guesses? I think the most likely to get voted off the island is Andressinha. She didn’t fit in well last season and is likely to be called up for Brazil. Much as the Thorns need midfielders this year, given her 2018 form and the probability of World Cup callup, she’s likely to get the axe.

The other might be Crnogorcevic, much as she was the best of the forwards last season. A healthy Foord makes her less critical a piece, and a healthy Raso even less so. One thing that might have kept her here is Raso’s back injury, but Ribbons appears to be getting match fit in time for the 2019 season.

At this point the only reason I can see keeping her on the roster is that she’ll be available and the Australians won’t. But given the Thorns FO’s statements I think they see Foord and Raso as long-term investments. Crnogorcevic? Not so much.

But that’s just my guesses. What do you think?

John Lawes

I've been writing about Thorns FC ever since the inaugural season - first at Slide Rule Pass, and then at Stumptown Footy - and have been a fan and player of the game for a couple of decades.

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2 thoughts on “Thorns FC: The Midfield (now with 100% more Dagny!)

  1. I wish Andressinha was tougher. I love to watch her play when she’s not getting mugged, but unless she’s been taking martial arts classes over the break, I’m afraid I have to see her as expendable. Crnogorcevic, otoh is going to be needed during the WC absences. So here’s my suggestion: shop Andressinha for a deal that brings Portland another international slot. If the Thorns get a decent role player or draft pick in the bargain, so much the better.

    1. That’d work. Per the KeeperNotes spreadsheet (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1C-J_G5JRJxBbAaU0UtHOkmb4kt4QgJBY3aWfJ60n4Vo/edit#gid=42067073) Utah and Washington have 2 extra international slots each, and Houston and Sky Blue have one each.

      Hard to see Houston taking Andressinha back at this point, but the other three might be reachable.

      I tend to agree on AMC, plus, frankly, I liked her work here last season. I think she’s a useful piece and would like to keep her, which, of course, means making some sort of deal. The FO has been fairly clever that way, so I’m hopeful.

      With any luck we’ll know in a week or three whether the four unsigned players have inked or not, and then we’ll have a better sense of who’s in and who’s out.

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