Thorns FC: Pondering the imponderables

Where, oh where, is Amandine Henry?

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Update 3/5/16: She has signed with the club, according to Caitlin Murray.  No details on when she will join or the terms.

My guesses are the 1) the club and Henry were far apart on compensation, and 2) the delay may also have had something to do with the delayed Canadian allocations.  I’m sure that the reality is desperately boring and businesslike.  In my head, though, there’s a sort of Pink-Panther-movie alternative that plays like this:

Henry:C’est impossible! I cannot believe this, me. Les Thorns d’Portland, home of ten t’ousand seeinging fans and ze maniac Reeveters, smoke bombs bursting in ze air…and zees is EET?  Forty-thousand dollairs?  Ze boot-polishaire at PSG ees making more than thees!”

Paulson: “This is it, really. I’m not kidding. This is all we can offer given the hard cap. I wish…but, no. This is really it.”

Henry:Ridicule! Zees ees America! There is always a way aroun’ ze rules, hein? Here, I tell you what; I see in le pissoir you ’ave special pieces of paper for to covair ze seat (which is imbecile, but, whatevair…). You tell ze league zat I am tres délicat and have l’grand fantods de horreur at ze nasty pissoirs ’ere in Portland, so you must stock $120,000 worth of zees papairs! Zen you don not buy ze papairs and geev ze money to me. Corrigé!

Paulson: “Ummm…I…Gavin! Little help here!

I still want this to be a thing.  But the strange delay has me concerned.

Speaking of delays, what’s taking Canada Soccer so long to announce the allocations?

My only thought is that there is some dealings between the CSF, the NWSL and the individual clubs that are complicating matters.  Perhaps some players wish to be moved around, or clubs wish to move them?  Questions about the new allocation rules? Compensation?  The delay suggests that something unusual is going on, anyway, and at this point all we can do is hope it gets resolved quickly.

What’s going on with the Thorns’ backline?

The Reynolds-for-Kleiner swap seems fairly like for like to me, except that Kleiner is the future while Reynolds is today.  Reynolds is a solid professional and should do well here.  Chris Henderson of All White Kit was downright dismissive of Kleiner, but I’m more sanguine and think she’ll do well for the Spirit.  Hopefully not against us, of course.

The release of Polkinghorne is a little more opaque.  I don’t see the Matildas as a lock for the Olympic Games; China is on the rise, the Norks spanked everyone but Australia at the EAFF Women’s Cup back in August, and the ROK is a solid squad.  You probably know from my comments here that I’m not a huge Polkinghorne fanboy, but even I admit that she’s an above-replacement-level professional.  So, why?  Cap space?  Free up the international spot?  For who?

The other unknown at this point is; who starts?  Obviously Klingenberg at FB and Sonnett at CB; to me you can’t start those two on the bench.  The other fullbacks are Reynolds and Wilkinson – I don’t really get a sense for who is the better of the two.  Likewise Menges and Williamson at CB.  Berryhill is the obvious odd-woman-out here and rides the pine.

Assuming Wilkinson is re-allocated she’s a RB, Reynolds is an LB, I believe, so that would put Klingenberg and Wilkinson starting at FB…assuming that the club can sign a true DM and won’t need to move Kling up to the midfield.

That still leaves the logjam at CB.  Not exactly a bad problem to have, but…something for Coach Parsons to sort out.

Who is the mystery international Merritt hinted about?

I’d love to see the club make a bid for South Korea’s Cho So-hyun.  Terrific midfield organizer and tough tackler.  Aya Miyama?  Dunno if at this stage in her career she’s ready to move back to the States.  The other possibility is getting some depth up front.

Right now the obvious starting striker is Taylor.  If Parsons goes with the 4-4-2 Sinclair would seem like the obvious partner for her.  But where does Nadim go, then?  Could she be part of a package to acquire a Vero-esque midfielder, or a DM in case the Henry deal falls through?

Right now the Thorns have three unused international slots.  One would – hopefully – go to Henry.  But the other two..?

Are there more moves – moves we haven’t already discussed – coming?

My money is on yes.  I think that Parsons still wants to sort out the backline-DM situation as well as try and find a midfield general.  The Thorms’ defensive issues look like they’re being addressed, but the midfield was often a hot mess over the last three seasons.  Vero made a tremendous difference, so for me finding someone who can do her job is critical.

The worry for me now is up front.  Taylor seems solid, but Sinclair has shown some troubling dips in form lately and she’s not a blushing ingenue anymore, either.  Nadim seems very much a bow drawn in venture.  If not Sinc and Nadim, then, who?  Can Long move up front?  Does Horan go there, now that she’s showing so well in midfield for the USWNT?  Could Dagny be converted to striker?  Or is there an-as-yet-unannounced international targeted for the front line?

What other concerns, speculations, questions, or wild theories can you think of?

That’s what comment sections are for!  See you there…

4 Comments Thorns FC: Pondering the imponderables

  1. Timber Dave

    I’m with you. I sure wish the Thorns ‘n’ Timbers weren’t quite so opaque. I realize that negotiations can be delicate, but still…. I gives me the fantods.

    Reply
    1. John Lawes

      Me, too. One of the frustrating things about “covering” the Thorns for SRP is that even the “insiders” like Murray and Goldberg seem to have trouble prying information out of the FO. An outsider like myself is, in the analogy I’ve used here before, like a Kremlinologist.

      I’ve very worried that this deal is dead, between the hard cap and now the threats of a potential players’ strike…

      Reply
  2. Timber Dave

    Okay, the Canadian allocations are now done. We got Sinclair again (hooray!) but not Wilkinson. Can we please just announce Henry’s signing now? Pretty please?

    Reply
    1. fdchief218

      Hmm…well, it’s certainly getting interesting. At least now we know why Parsons took a young defender when it looked like we had backs tripping over each other.

      I’m increasingly concerned about the Henry signing. I REALLY think that she and her agent had sticker shock when they had to confront the reality of the low, low prices here at NWSL’s House of Bargains…

      Reply

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