Thorns FC: Memory Box 5 – Best XI

Simple enough, right?

Who are the best eleven players ever to put on Thorns red?

So here we go, up from the back. My picks for the best Thorns ever.

Don’t agree?

Fight me in the comments and prove me wrong

Goalkeeper

Candidates: LeBlanc (2013), Gay (2013), Angerer (2014-2015), Betos (2014-2016), Franch (2016-2020), Eckerstrom (2017-2020)

The primary issue with Thorns’ goalkeeping is simply career value. We’ve had a number of excellent keepers here; KK took us to the first star in 2013, Franch to the second in 2017 along with her league “best keeper” honors. Betos, Angerer, Eckerstrom…we’ve never had a “problem” goalkeeper; perhaps the worst we can say about any of our netminders is that some, like Addie Gay and Bella Bixby, have been invisible.

But we’ve never had a keeper last longer than Franch’s four years and running.

So while Nadine Angerer is a goalkeeping legend…she’s not a Thorns goalkeeping legend simply because she only played 2014 and part of 2015…and was only middle-of-the-pack-good during that time.

That leaves us with LeBlanc, Betos, Franch, and Eckerstrom.

I love KK; if this were a “favorite XI” instead of a “best” XI she’d be on it like a fresh tag on a playground swingset. Her combination of technical and tactical skill, presence in big games, and the fizzy ebullience of her personality make her my favorite all-time Thorns keeper.

But her time was just too short; one season and gone.

Michelle Betos was a solid keeper; decent shot-stopper and good in command of her area. If she had a persistent issue it was distribution. For a player with legs like pillars Betos had trouble getting distance and direction out of her kicks. It couldn’t have been leg strength, so it must have been some sort of technique thing, like short-legging her follow-through or not getting her knee up high enough.

Whatever it was, it was weird, and she struggled with it her whole time here.

Betos did win a Goalkeeper of the Year, but I’ve always suspected that it was more for The Goal rather than her technical skills.

That was a terrific goal (so much that it’s been immortalized on T-shirts and in animated LEGO figurines) but…that’s just a terrific goal. And we’re looking at goalkeeping, instead of goal scoring, so there’s that.

Betos was a solid keeper, but neither her metrics nor her records are as good as Franch’s

Britt Eckerstrom has a fine body of work here; I’ve been making the case for several years that she’s been steadily improving and that her work last season makes an argument for her being close to Franch’s quality. That said…she’s still the backup, and A.D. the starter, for a reason.

So our Best XI starting keeper is A.D. Franch, and a well-deserved honor it is.

Defenders

Here’s where we have to make some positional choices based purely on preference.

The Thorns have played with three at the back – that is, a true three-back set – as well as a standard four-back formation, and occasionally in a three-centerbacks-and-two-wingbacks 5-3-2/5-4-1 setup. I’m just going to make an arbitrary decision and go with a four-back arrangement to let us get the most out our defenders.

Candidates: to get an idea who has had more than a cup of coffee here in the Portland backline, here’s a snapshot over the past seven seasons:

I’ve excluded those players who saw little or no field time, so we’re only looking at either starters or reserves with significant minutes.

I think we can work backwards from this chart.

Pretty much anyone with no more than a single season is out. That eliminates Marianne Dougherty and Jazmyne Avant from 2013, and Steph Catley, Becca Moros, Courtney Niemec, and Kat Tarr from 2014. Dougherty, Catley, and Moros are all fine players, but for a Best XI you gotta bring it for more than just one year.

Players who had more minutes but were still only more-or-less just decent roleplayers aren’t really in the group we’re looking for, either, so that eliminates Nikki Marshall, Kendall Johnson, Liz Ball, Kelli Hubly, Kelli Hubly, and Meg Morris.

I think Kat Williamson is on the edge, so I’ll leave her in. So that gives us:

Williamson and Rachel Van Hollebeke (2013-2015), Meghan Klingenberg (2016-2020), Ellie Carpenter (2018-2020), Emily Sonnett (2016-2019), Emily Menges (2014-2020), and Kat Reynolds (2016-2020).

(A quick note here: so far as we know, the next time we see The Girls in Red one of the centerbacks will be Becky Sauerbrunn. It’s hard not to suspect that the moment she steps across the touchline she will become one of the “best players ever to wear Thorns red”, and as such is likely to displace one of the following four players.

But.

We’ve been down this road before; a wonderful player arrives, and we all expect…well, wonders. That’s what wonderful players produce; that’s kind of their job.

Sometimes.

We’ve had the Sinclairs and the Nadims and the Henrys and they’ve been wonderful.

But.

We’ve also had players like Ano, who never found her feet, and Vero – who we’ll discuss – and Angerer, who was perfectly fine, but was at the tag end of a long and distinguished career and just wasn’t capable of “wonderful” any more.

Sauerbrunn, too, is coming to the final curtain of her “long and distinguished career”. How much is left in her tank? Will we remember her sunset as setting the horizon on fire? Or as a pleasant light show? Or…perhaps as a quiet fade to darkness?

Right now, we do not, and I won’t presume to, know. So that’s why you’ll find no Sauerbrunn here.

Okay, so, back to defenders. Looking at that group makes Williamson look further on the outside. She was a good, solid defender, but no more than that. So we’re down to six finalists. Now we can go looking for the positives.

Emily Menges is a lock. Critical for the Shield-Championship seasons of 2016-2017, leader of the backline, sometime part of the Great Wall…she’s our Best XI left centerback.

Meghan Klingenberg is the obvious fullback out of this group based largely on career value. She’s never going into the NWSL Hall of Fame – she’s never had that immense peak value season – but she has been a big part of both the Shield- and Championship-winning defenses. Kling may not be the most technical fullback in Thorns history – I’d consider Nikki Marshall perhaps the most technically skilled of the Thorns’ FBs I’ve ever seen outside possibly Future Ellie Carpenter – but she also brings attack that Marshall didn’t quite have (in the form of dead ball service as well as run-of-play passing and crossing). Aside from on-field qualities, Kling’s own brand of quirk seems to have helped keep her teammates’ spirits high…so Kling is our Best LB.

Over at RB it’s a competition between Kat Reynolds* and Ellie Carpenter. Reynolds has the edge on longevity and career value – she’s on the 2017 squad, so she’s earned the second star rather than inherited it – but Carpenter has to be considered to hold a substantial edge on peak value. Like Kling on the left, she starts from a sturdy defensive base and then adds attack that Reynolds just can’t bring. She’s just that much better a player, so Carpenter goes in at LB for our third “best defender”.

*(Note: see the update below for a reconsideration of Kat Reynolds)

Down to our final two, both centerbacks, and what an odd couple they are; talk about the opposing sides of the Force.

Rachel Van Hollebeke will always be the nickname she earned when she arrived her under her maiden name; Buehldozer.

Were we playing in 1960s England she’d have won something more memorable, though. “Bites Yer Legs”, or “‘Orrible”, or “She-Beast”. (We’d also have groovier clothes, funkier music, and Marmite, but that’s another post on another blog.)

Van Hollebeke/Beuhler was a throwback to an earlier era of soccer, when central defenders would welcome opposing forwards to their pitch with the reminder that while she might get past, or the ball might get past, she and the ball wouldna be getting past together.

Van Hollebeke played with a relentless intensity that it seems hard to believe didn’t follow her into the locker room, out into the street, and all the way home. I have no idea how she is as a person or was as a teammate, but as an opponent, she must have been terrifying.

She also led the 2013 championship defense and helped take the team back to the playoffs in 2014 as a thirty-year-old central defender. She has been capped 102 times for the USWNT. She’s practically the definition of “hard-nosed central defender” at the club and country level.

Emily Sonnett…well, who here doesn’t know and love (and regret losing…) Sonny? I’ll miss her wonderful faces and goofy humor and epic post-match interview photobombs as much as her play on the pitch. She seemed to bring that to her team, as well; it always looked like everyone on the squad loved the heck out of Sonnett.

As a defender Sonnett is the Light Side of the Force to Van Hollebeke’s Dark Side; limber, creative, an attacking presence on set-pieces, deft, ingenious, a bit of a risk-taker. She also, unfortunately, lacked Beuhldozer’s relentless intensity; every so often she’d just sort of wink out of a match and gift a Thorns opponent a brainfart. Her defending could be a sort of breathless adventure; you never knew when Sonny would just go on walkabout and leave her mark or commit some sort of weird derp. She had the athleticism that meant that nine of ten times she could recover.

But that tenth…ouch.

So it’s kind of a Vader’s Choice; the Dark Side, or the Light? Defensive sternness against all-around creativity. Or, to be more blunt; does Sonnett’s attacking value offset her random defensive derps?

Here’s where my background as a former keeper comes in. What I ask from a backline is dependability. You don’t have to be great, but you have to be there. All the time. As long as I can count on you to be where you’re supposed to be, I can cover the places you can’t be.

And that’s where Van Hollebeke gets my tap. She’s our fourth, and final, best defender.

Midfielders.

Candidates? Here they are:

Before we go further, there’s one name I’d like to call out; Veronica “Vero” Boquete.

She had only part of a single, troubled, season here, so she’s obviously out of the “Thorns Best XI” running.

But on pure skills, crowd-pleasing magic, as a provider of transcendent soccer delight, Vero may have been the single best attacking midfielder the Thorns have ever had, and that’s a hell of a huge mountain (named Lindsey Horan) to climb over.

It’s unfortunate that the circumstances surrounding her tenure here were so fraught. And it’s even more unfortunate that she’s now in Utah, and promises to return to Portland alongside Dzsenifer Marozsán and if that doesn’t frighten you, nothing will. I can only hope that time, and the PRO, has thumped on her enough to break down her skillset from what we were briefly blessed to see here.

Because the idea of a Utah midfield run by those two wakes me out of a sound sleep with the screaming fantods.

Sorry. Focus. Midfielders, right.

So we can do what we did with the defenders, and scratch out the single-seasoners like Vero, and the short-timers (Angie Kerr, Emily Ogle) and the good-but-not-great (Dagny Brynjarsdottir, Angela Salem, Andressinha).

One problem with that; Amandine Henry.

Here for only part of 2016 and 2017, but as unquestionably the finest defensive midfielder in Thorns history Henry has to stay in this group based on pure quality.

So that leaves us to pick four – since we’re running out a 4-4-2 instead of a 4-3-3 – out of six: Mana Shim (2013-2016), Allie Long (2013-2017), Lindsey Horan (2016-2020), Amandine Henry (2016-2017), Tobin Heath (2013-2020), and Celeste Boureille (2016-2020).

Here’s where we can make two easy first cuts; Henry, as discussed, is in. Period. She was just that good.

Boureille, on the other hand, is out. She’s a solid reserve and spot-starter, but there’s a lot of quality in this group and as a squad player – even a very good squad player – she’s just not on that same level.

Heath is in, too. Same level of quality as Henry only with more tenure, even with the injuries and callups, Heath is a mortal lock.

Lindsey Horan is unavoidably in; she’s critical to the 2017 championship and she’s a monster in 2018, the best midfielder in the entire league. She’s still among the best in the league. That’s a drop-dead “best XI” kind of player.

That leaves two tussling for the final spot, and here I’m torn between my heart and my head.

My heart says Shim. She’s…well, she’s Mana Shim. Walk-on Cinderella, magical story of 2013, hard worker, fan favorite, just totally adorable…there’s just too much not to love there.

And Allie Long…ugh, her departure still leaves such a bitter taste.

But cold calculation makes the choice unavoidable. Shim had one great season in 2013. Long was brilliant for four, and an absolute beast in 2015 and 2016. Shim helped the team to a championship, Long won the 2013 semifinal and was critical to the Shield season in 2016.

It’s Allie Long.

Forwards

Finally! We’re talking goals! Right? One, two…many goals beyond?!

Buuutttt...

Candidates:

Take a look at that group.

Now this group…

…and now this:

The Thorns’ forwards have scored only about 10% more goals than the midfielders.

I know, I know. Weird, right? We talked about this, about how the Thorns are the only club in the recent top four that score this way; everybody else gets something like 75 to 85 percent of their goals from their forwards. The Thorns forwards do a lot of other good things…but scoring? Hell, if you take away Sinclair (or, more realistically, put her back into the attacking midfield where she’s played the last several seasons) the forwards are outscored by the Thorns midfielders exactly two to one (124 to 62).

So we’re already going to have a tough time with trying to pick out the second forward.

Because the first is obviously Christine Sinclair.

I mean…c’mon. Who else goes in there?

Let’s start the same way we did with the other groups; eliminate the players that just aren’t there. So there go the single-seasoners like McDonald, good as she was in 2014, and Ano, and Sykes, and Onumonu, and Foxhoven. Even good, and some of them were pretty good, a single season of good isn’t long enough to put you into the “best”.

Next go the players who played across several seasons but who still weren’t quite with the program; Caitlin Foord, Ana-maria Crnogorcevic, Midge Purce, and (as of now) Simone Charley. Again, several good or at least decent players, but either with short career value (Purce, Charley) or below critical peak value (Foord, AMC).

The one exception to the “short-career-low-peak” value problem is Nadia Nadim; her time here was short but her peak value was immense to both the critical seasons she played. She stays in, at least to get a shot.

So now we’re down to it; five players hunting a single spot alongside Sinc. Nadim, Alex Morgan (2013-2015), Mallory Weber (2016-2019), Hayley Raso (2016-2019), and Tyler Lussi (2017-2020).

Two can be put out quickly; both Weber and Lussi are depth. Good depth, solid second-option forwards…but, still, depth. To run alongside Sinc you gotta be more than “depth”.

So that leaves Raso, Nadim, and Morgan; three-cornered chain-cage grudge match.

Now in an actual brawl I would bet on Ribbons. That’s one tough shiela right there. You break her back – I mean, literally break her back – and she comes right around at you.

But this isn’t MMA, and on the pitch Raso has a tough time holding her own against the other two largely because she had such a tough time finding her shooting boots. Lots of extras, like assists, dangerous runs, all-around being awesome and having a terrific chant, yes…but in terms of production, I don’t think you can give her the nod.

So; Morgan versus Nadim.

I’m a huge Nadim fanboi. I loved her nasty edge going after opposing defenders; she was a ball recovery machine and a fearsomely aggressive forechecking forward. She, like Henry, came in and made an outsized impact on the two best consecutive seasons in the short team history.

But Morgan was a terrific attacker, possibly one of the best pure strikers to ever wear red. Statistically she barely edges Nadim; 15 goals in 36 matches (0.41 goals/game) compared to 15 in 37 (0.405G/game) and owns the assists with 12 to 7. But she played for a different team, in a different time, and let’s not forget the immense burden placed on her by the fans’ and club’s expectations; she WAS the face of the new Thorns ballclub.

Both own a star, Morgan from 2013, Nadim from 2017, though Morgan’s assist in the 2013 Final looms large in team history. The question then becomes do you give Morgan the nod based on her assists, her role as part of the first season championship compared to Nadim’s grinding forechecking and the 2017 championship? Do you credence the rumors of division in the locker room during Morgan’s stint, and consider the possibility that she played a role in that?

I may be fighting too much against my prejudice in Nadim’s favor, but I’m giving the second spot to Alex Morgan; she brought attack when the Thorns desperately needed her to, and fought through some tough breaks during some tough years in Thorns history. She’s often downgraded because of her checkered career here, but I never saw her give up.

Reserves

To fill out our matchday 18 I’ve added two from each unit I think come the closest to greatness (or are great, but just not quite as great as the starters): we’ve discussed Nadim to death, and Raso brought so much other than scoring that it’s hard not to include her. Boureille missed the cut for starter because she was up against freaking Amandine Henry, and Shim is comfortably in there with the Thorns legends based on her 2013 season and story alone. We talked about Nikki Marshall’s Kat Reynolds‘ and Sonnett‘s chops, and – I love you, KK, but – Michelle Betos has to go in as the backup keeper on both career and peak value.

Update 5/1p.m. – Richard Hamje makes some excellent points in the comments regarding the relative qualities of defender Kat Reynolds. I still don’t know if she has quite enough peak value to displace the four starting defenders. But she certainly has enough to displace Nikki Marshall – fine player, but short tenure – from the bench.

So there they are; my revised Best XI above

Who are yours? Let’s discuss.

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17 thoughts on “Thorns FC: Memory Box 5 – Best XI

  1. Well, I’m not gonna fight you. But I don’t put Van Hollebeke in my XI due to short tenure. Kat Reynolds gets my vote. She has played every position in the back line and a few in midfield. She is a true defender – rarely beaten, virtually never makes a mental error, always in position. Like Menges and Sinclair she is an emotional rock, always steady. She has been a true servant to the team over the long haul.

    Plus she helped us win the 2013 trophy 🙂 It was her foul that conceded the title-winning Heath free kick.

    At a dead minimum, she’s in my 18 ahead of Boureille, Marshall and Betos.

    1. Reynolds has been a good squad player for a long time. In terms of “career value” she’s rock-steady, as you point out. She’s pretty much the flip side of Boureille.

      But that was kind of how she missed my cut; that’s ALL she is. A solid squad player. She’s Jack Jewsbury for the Thorns; long service, but nothing spectacular, so low “peak value”.

      But she’s not out of the park; I’d tend to agree that she has at least a good argument for her.

      1. The more I thought about this the more sense it made. Reynolds’ tenure and contributions have to be more valuable than, say, Nikki Marshall’s. I still think the four starters are more essential, but I’ve move Reynolds to the bench in place of Marshall.

        1. I still can’t believe we had Jess McDonald and let her go for Jodie Taylor. She’s the primary comparable I have for Morgan Weaver. Still baffled how she bounced around the league before ending up being what she is in Carolina

          1. I kinda hope not (for Weaver’s sake, that is).

            McDonald never caught on before she had her big season in 2014 because she was an extreme endmember for “streaky forward” and “prodigiously wasteful” – for a long time she couldn’t score and she killed off a crap-ton of attacking momentum putting shots off target or not converting the ones she did.

            She suddenly started scoring here, and has been more consistent ever since, but it’s hard to fault Riley for not recognizing that at the time. Until she followed up her season here with 7 goals in 20 games for Houston in 2015 he can be excused for thinking that she’d just gotten streaky-hot here.

            And she’s STILL pretty wasteful. If you’re a team like NCC, that has a ton of other people going forward that’s not so much of a problem; the Damned pretty much work on the “keep shooting and eventually something will go in” principle. They use McDonald as a sort of skirmisher, keeping the opponents’ heads down while her more clinical teammates – Williams and Dunn – put the biscuit in the basket.

            I like McDonald – for a lot of the things she brings other than just scoring (her long throw is a deadly weapon inside of 20 yards from goal…). AND I kind of have to give Riley credit for recognizing that what he saw in 2014 WAS the real deal and 1) getting her back with him in WNY, and 2) placing her in an attack that makes her strengths stronger and mitigates her weakness. But I don’t think Riley or the Thorns FO could have seen that in 2014. At the time Morgan seemed like the safer, better option.

            Which is the long way around to say 1) yes, with 20/20 hindsight McDonald was a keeper, and 2) it’s always easy in hindsight.

          2. Tried to respond to your McDonald post. My perspective is Weaver is a much better prospect, but size/athleticism/effort part is comparable.

            Ultimately, you could see Midge Purce be the next McDonald. I still do that deal consistently, because I believe Rocky is a better player, but time will tell.

          3. And my reply was that I hope Weaver doesn’t take two years to find her feet in the pros the way McDonald did…and that she’s less profligate. A lot depends (IMO) on whether Model College Cup 2019 Weaver is “Weaver” or just a freakish one-time career high that she can’t sustain.

            If it is…then she’s likely to be an immediate impact player.

          4. That’s fair. I watched Morgan in college. I remember her Junior year in the Apple Cup seeing things that suggested if she trusted her natural ability (size, speed, physical nature, effort) that she could completely dominate college. She did it in spurts and then towards the end of the year, she started to do it consistently.

            I felt there were 6 top level players that could have gone 2 for the Thorns. Personally thought they would go with Sanchez but also believe Weaver and Watt fit the system better.

            1. Sophia Smith, Stanford

            And then a drop

            2. Ashley Sanchez, UCLA
            3. Morgan Weaver, WSU
            4. Taylor Kornieck, Colorado
            5. Ashley Watt, aTm
            6. Evelyn Viens, South Florida
            7. Tziarra King, NC State

            Then a drop

            8. Kayleigh Riehl, Penn State
            9. Kelcie Hedge, Santa Clara
            10. Courtney Petersen, Virginia

      1. I hope so.

        David Anderson made what I thought was an appropriate comment over at Stumptown, in reference to the Maroszan/Boquete midfield in Utah; “we’ve seen these “unstoppable rosters” before…” and, yes…Sauerbrunn has been an amazing player, both internationally and for her club.

        But we’ve had amazing players here – particularly at the end of their careers, and some have had some issues. She’s thirty-four, and that’s a lot of mileage. And she’s going to be surrounded by new teammates. In a new system with a new coach. That’s a lot of “new”, and a lot of miles, and after a long layoff.

        And age…Sauerbrunn is a great player, and that kind of player tends to have a long, slow glide down from their peak…but with past-thirty players there’s always the chance that the glide becomes a nosedive.

        So does she boot Beuhldozer? I think so. But I’d suggest we be patient and see how she looks when we eventually get to see the squad.

        1. My perspective is she likely retires before she declines to the point where she isn’t a top defender and I see a few years left. We made a conscious choice and used our allocation money on Weaver and Sauerbrunn. I think there is another winger coming and just wonder whom.

          1. Tend to agree on the right wing. Losing Purce and Raso both leaves us a bit barren in the top right corner.

          2. Hard to tell with past-thirty players. Or to be more accurate, roughly 27 years old is the typical peak performance for the average player. Before that she’s physically stronger and faster but lacks experience. After that her physical skills begin to fade, but are compensated by her tactical and technical experience.

            So the bottom line is that ALL players begin to decline in their late twenties and early thirties. Great players typically decline more gradually, and, since they start “higher”, take longer to decline to sub-replacement-levels.

            But after about the mid-thirties it’s a total crapshoot. A player who looks good for a couple of years suddenly implodes. Or a player who looks toasted – the way, say, Klingenberg did in 2018 – suddenly perks up for another couple of years. Or it’s just what you’d expect – a slow, steady glide into retirement.

            And that’s a tough call for a player. No top flight athlete likes to “quit”, even when their body is telling them it’s time. We’ve all seen too many greats like Pele’ play past their retirement. Hopefully ‘Brunn is not that kind of player.

          3. The interesting aspect is her anticipation is more important than her speed and she keeps herself in great shape. She plays a position where speed isn’t at a premium if she declines some in that area. I believe she is the Drew Brees of the NWSL.

          4. So does Sinc, and her play has been slowly slipping over the past three or four seasons. Again, because she’s starting from an insanely high level of quality 60% of Sinc is probably 80-90% of most players. But…she’s not the player she was.

            And the form book is pretty definitive; after 33 or 34 the chances of a player just hitting the wall grow steadily. At the age of 34 ‘Brunn is right on the cusp of decline for even a great field player. The real comp isn’t Brees – who can rely on teammates to do most of the really demanding physical work – but a top central defender. Take just three of the best four or five in history – Beckenbauer played 19 years and retired at 37 (and was pretty much phoning it in after 1980 when he was 34), Baresi played 20 years and retired at 39 (and had retired from the Azzuri three years earlier), Cannavaro played 18 years and retired at 38.

            For the USWNT, Christie (Rampone) Pearce) is the old-timer – retired at 40. But Carla Overbeck retired at 34, and Joy Fawcett at 36.

            It’s not just speed. It’s strength, vertical jump, and just the accumulated knocks, wear, and tear that come from making your living with your body.

            I don’t doubt that ‘Brunn has some seasons left in her. How good those seasons will be will surely he helped by her fitness and her experience. But she’s in a race against the clock, a race we will all lose…and we and she won’t know how soon that clock will beat us.

          5. Sinclair is still a plus player. I think our biggest problem against the Courage has been they attack Kling and we didn’t have the speed on the outside to deal with their defensive pressure. I think Smith and Weaver help there though they are rookies (despite incredible talent levels).

            My hope is the Thorns have a left back in mind to replace Kling

          6. Let’s just make an assumption that the internationals signed are not impact players or are fringe starters.

            DEFENSE
            Goalie – Franch
            Backups – Eckerstrom, Bixby

            RFB – Carpenter
            RCB – Sauerbrunn
            LCB – Menges
            LFB – Kling

            Backups – Reynolds, Nally, Pogarch, Westphal, Hubly

            MIDFIELD

            10 – Horan
            8 – Rodriguez
            6 – Seiler

            Backups – Bourielle, Salem, And Ogle

            FORWARDS

            RW – Smith
            Striker – Sinclair
            LW – Heath

            Backups – Weaver, Charley, Lussi, Everett

            My perspective is we can use a backup LFB and an offensive minded midfielder who has versatility with the internationals

            I want Sinclair back at the striker position with Weaver offering a change of pace and eventually taking over for her.

            Smith or Weaver emerging is a must and I don’t think it is too far out of the threshold.

            BTW, is there a reason that stumptown closed their latest Thorns thread that had 170 Responses on it? It seems to me that the activity of the Thorns is too high for the content they are providing.

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