So…here! are! your! new! Portland Thorns!
Round 2, Pick 4 (#14): Rachel Hill (F, UConn)
Round 2, Pick 8 (#18): Savannah Jordan (F, Florida – traded pick from Carolina for Rd 2/#10 (#20) and Rd 3/#7 (#27) picks)
Round 3, Pick 1 (#21): Tyler Lussi (F, Princeton) – traded for #21 pick from CRS for 2018 picks)
Round 4, Pick 10 (#40): Caroline Flynn (MF , Nebraska)
The 2017 NWSL Draft started with the least-surprising pick in draft day history; Rose Lavelle to Boston.
Sorry, had to get that out of my system.
Interestingly, in her draft day interview Lavelle said that Beard wants her as a BTB midfielder rather than her preferred ACM position. I’d call that a waste of her skills, but that wasn’t the most shocking Beard thing that happened today, and we’ll talk about that, and much more, below the fold.
When the rumors began that the reigning NWSL champion Western New York Flash would be moved from Rochester and rebranded in a new city, a fair number of us assumed the team would land on the west coast, perhaps in Los Angeles or Vancouver.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for so many reasons. The Western New York club had survived three iterations of women’s professional soccer but, by many accounts, were losing money even as they gained a championship in NWSL’s fourth season. The Flash had sold both season and single-game tickets until just days ago and had signed a player the day before the story of the team’s potential move broke late last week. But the deal is done and the franchise will now move to Cary, North Carolina, joining the recently rebranded former-Railhawks in what many consider a hotbed of soccer player development.
But the elephant in the room is a pretty substantial elephant even insofar as elephants go.
The 2017 draft is now eight days away.
What does Thorns FC need, and who should they be targeting?
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).
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..!
It is deep in the Black Months now. The rain – and the snow, and ice – has arrived. The trees are bare, the wind blows cold, and, perhaps the worst of all, the pitch down at the old barn on SW 18th and Morrison is empty and silent.
And the damn Sounders are in the Cup Final.
Let’s not forget that it was only just over a year ago that we all were raised to topgallant delight by our Timbers’, and Cascadia’s, first MLS Championship. I don’t think any of us who lived through that mad run up to the Final, and that epic Final match, will forget that season and the joy that came with it.
From Chara’s “Assassin’s Creed” header in LA to the madness of the play-in match and 22 rounds of PKs.
From the cold calculation of the scoreless draw here to the clinical beatdown in Vancouver.
From the wild ride on the FC Dallas bull to the 95th minute Melano dagger to the heart of the beast.
From Diego Valeri’s ridiculously improbable 27-second goal to the final whistle that crowned the Timbers the 2015 MLS Champions.
What a long, strange trip it was.
And now, just as we await the end of the 2016 season and begin to think and wonder about 2017 comes a reminder that it was a stranger, more magical, and less probable trip even than it seemed at the time.
Now that we’ve booted the roster ball around the Thorns’ pitch there’s not much more to talk about professional women’s soccer this year, but I thought I’d wander about playing a bit of wee heidies with some of the tag-ends of the season as well as possibilities for next year.
Of course, the NCAA playoffs are still going on (and down to the Final Eight starting today). A handful of surprises; The #1 ranked Stanford Cardinal is out. Florida State is out already, too, to Utah (Utah?) who was then ousted in turn by USC. The luckless Badgers and Rose Lavelle – who will end her college career without a title – went out in the second round to Florida and Savannah Jordan (who then got shot down by Auburn in the Round of 16). The quarterfinals should be interesting to watch, if nothing else to see if anyone stands out as a prospective draft pick for January.
Of course, there’s another, less pleasant reason to keep an eye on the tournament; checking up on who gets injured. Andi Sullivan (Stanford) will be out for months with an ACL tear picked up in the Cardinal’s loss to Santa Clara.
Perhaps the single biggest, and most difficult to answer – question is what will happen when the women’s collective bargaining agreement with US Soccer expires before dawn January 1, 2017.
So far we’ve looked at Thorns FC at forward and midfield, and what we’ve seen has looked good. But while scoring and passing and cute juggling tricks are all fun to watch, and, yes, you often hear it said that “if you don’t score you can’t win”…
…but the other side of that aphorism is that if you don’t concede you can’t lose, and many championship teams win championships through tough defending and outstanding goalkeeping.
Last week we looked at Thorns FC’s striking corps. This week we take a look at what we have in the center of the pitch, and speculate on what might happen in the off- and upcoming season.
On the morning of November 7 Thorns FC has a total of seven midfielders under contract. The real question in my mind would be “which of these midfielders do what?”, so let’s look at them grouped into their roles.