Thorns FC: Into the New Year

I hope you come back and visit here in about three weeks, when I’ll be discussing the January 2017 NWSL draft.  Not that Thorns FC looks set to make news there: first pick fourth in the second round and 14th overall.  No first round picks, one more second rounder (19th), one third (27th) and dead last (40th).

But.

Given the wild dealing last season?  Who knows?  Merritt and Gavin may have devised a cunning plan to snare some quality that is more cunning than a cunning fox appointed Dean of Cunning at Cunning University..!

cunning-fox

One other piece of late Thorns FC news.

In this interview PSG head coach Patrice Lair is quoted as saying: “On sait déjà pour Amandine Henry. Elle va faire trois mois avec nous.” which translates to “We already know for Amandine Henry. She’s going to do three months with us.”

The obvious question for Thorns fans is “…which three months?”

PSG resumes play in Division 1 Féminine on January 14 and the league play continues into June. So conceivably Henry could begin play with PSG in January and return to Portland near or just after the end of March, presumably ahead of the opening of the NWSL season in mid-April…or at least not much later than the opener, if Lair’s schedule runs from 1/14 to 3/14.

I suspect that this is a typical “off-season” loan, and that Henry will play for PSG from January through March and be here by kickoff in April.

However, a couple of nagging things worry me.

First, if Lair’s “three months” begin later in 2017 Henry’s loan may extend into the beginning of the Thorns’ season.

The “worst case” would be Henry’s stint with PSG not beginning until February or March and running into late spring, possibly as late as May.

Even in the “best case” conditions Amandine looks slated to miss the Thorns 2017 camp and preseason tune-ups which, if past season form holds will be played in late March.

While getting first team minutes is important, hopefully Amandine will not miss an extended part of the Thorns’ preparation for, and opening month(s) of, league play.  We’ve simply seen too much of this whole “Player X arrives in June” stuff.  Henry is a seasoned professional, and she has a half-season with the team already.  Still…let’s try and have the prospective starting XI on the pitch from Day One this season, how about that, hunh?

Second, I am a little concerned about injury.  As I mentioned back in November, Henry had a surgical repair for a “sports hernia” right after the semifinal.  That’s unusual, and suggests that the injury was pretty severe.  Passing the PSG physical is, obviously, a good sign.  But if there’s even the chance that Henry might aggravate or re-injure that muscle..?

Let’s not go there.  I know that this is a good opportunity go get first ream minutes and make some well-deserved bank she forewent coming here.  But…let’s not risk her.  Play well, come home safe, and soon, Amandine, OK..?

Less than a week and we’ll be done with 2016 and into a new year and a new season for Thorns FC.

Onward, Rose City! and I’ll see you again the week of the 17th…