The Karina LeBlanc Appreciation Thread

Brett Carlsen

A little belatedly, we say goodbye to Karina LeBlanc, who was traded to the Chicago Red Stars last month.

The Portland Thorns acquired Karina LeBlanc through the allocation of the national team players before the inaugural NWSL season. She was quick to embrace Portland, which, combined with some great goalkeeping moments and an awesome red mohawk, quickly made her a fan favorite.

LeBlanc started all but a single game for the Thorns, helping the team to 11 wins and 7 shutouts. She had two penalty saves this season, one in a match against the Seattle Reign, the Thorns' rival by default. The other was against Abby Wambach who, as USWNT fans know, doesn't miss PKs very often.

The goalkeeper also came up big for the Thorns in their two postseason matches, both road games and big challenges. LeBlanc made some huge saves against the high-powered offenses of FC Kansas City and the Western New York Flash. In the final alone, she made seven saves and ensured that the Thorns' championship game was not just a win but a shutout.

LeBlanc was also the picture of class and graciousness to fans around town, which I can personally vouch for, having been lucky enough to run into her on my birthday last summer. My "goofy birthday picture" with her (those were her words) was probably my favorite birthday present.

As with every appreciation thread, please consider our Appreciation Thread Etiquette:

1. Be respectful to the player. Nobody is perfect.

2. Focus on what they did well while with the club.

3. Save harsh criticisms for other posts concerning them. It's not uncommon for these players to actually read these threads.

4. If you have nothing nice to comment, please do not comment at all.

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