Apparently the Portland Thorns' run to the National Women's Soccer League Final really was a team effort as the Thorns were the only team left off of the NWSL Best XI, which was released today. The Thorns did have Rachel Buehler, Alex Morgan, and Christine Sinclair included in the Best XI Second Team.
At practice yesterday Cindy Parlow Cone was already talking about the importance of everyone on the team stepping up in the semifinal against FC Kansas City.
I think we've had players all season long stepping up for us at different moments, both on the defensive end and on the attacking end and the semifinal was no different. We have a lot of weapons on this team, both in players that can score and players that help us defend. I thought our starting elven did fantastic and I thought that all three of our subs that came in did very well as well.
In contrast, FCKC, who the Thorns beat 3-2 in the semifinal and tied on points this season, had four players named to the Best XI and an additional three named to the Best XI Second Team. The Western New York Flash, the team that the Thorns will be facing in the final and the first place finishers during the regular season, had two players named to the Best XI and one to the Best XI Second Team.
The Thorns' press release:
THORNS FC PLAYERS NAMED TO NWSL BEST XI SECOND TEAMForwards Christine Sinclair, Alex Morgan and defender Rachel Buehler earn Second Team honors
PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Thorns FC forwards Christine Sinclair and Alex Morgan and defender Rachel Buehler were named to the National Women’s Soccer League Best XI Second Team, the NWSL announced today.
Morgan, 24, finished the season as the team’s leading scorer with eight goals and five assists (21pts). The U.S. Women’s National Team standout’s points total ranked among league leaders in the NWSL. Despite missing four games this season due to national team duty and injury, Morgan still finished as the league leader in shots (82) and shots on goal (44).
Sinclair, 30, registered eight goals and two assists as the team’s captain and an integral part of the club’s offense. The Canadian international netted four goals over the final six games of the regular season as Thorns FC earned the No. 3 seed in the playoffs. The league’s Player of the Month for April, Sinclair tallied a streak of three straight games with a point (2g, 1a) in the first three weeks of the season, helping Portland kick off the year on a five-game unbeaten streak.
Buehler, 28, appeared in 20 of the team’s 22 regular-season matches at center back, taking part in six of the team’s seven clean sheets in 2013. The U.S. Women’s National Team defender logged 1,800 minutes during the regular season, missing just two matches due to national team commitments.
The NWSL Best XI team (listed at position, alphabetically by last name):
Club Country Note .
Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart FC Kansas City USA 10 shutouts
Defender Christie Rampone Sky Blue FC USA 1.20 GAA
Defender Leigh Ann Robinson FC Kansas City USA 5 assists
Defender Becky Sauerbrunn FC Kansas City USA 1.0 GAA
Defender Brittany Taylor Western New York USA 3g, 4a
Midfielder Lori Chalupny Chicago Red Stars USA 5g, 4a
Midfielder Jess Fishlock Seattle Reign FC Wales 4 goals
Midfielder Lauren Holiday FC Kansas City USA 12g, 9a
Midfielder Diana Matheson Washington Spirit Canada 8g, 3a
Forward Sydney Leroux Boston Breakers USA 11g, 2a
Forward Abby Wambach Western New York USA 11g, 8a
NWSL Second XI – Goalkeeper: Adrianna Franch, Western New York Flash – Defenders:Rachel Buehler, Portland Thorns FC; Caitlin Foord, Sky Blue FC; Ali Krieger, Washington Spirit; Lauren Sesselmann, FC Kansas City – Midfielders: Megan Rapinoe, Seattle Reign FC; Desiree Scott, FC Kansas City; Erika Tymrak, FC Kansas City – Forwards: Alex Morgan, Portland Thorns FC; Lianne Sanderson, Boston Breakers; Christine Sinclair, Portland Thorns FC
The NWSL awards are voted on by a selection of journalists that cover the league on a consistent basis, club officials and NWSL players.
Voters for the Best XI provided selections for four (4) defenders and a combination of six (6) midfielders or forwards; with the ability to select a minimum of one (1) and a maximum of three (3) forwards. The Goalkeeper of the Year was automatically named to the Best XI.
The Second XI is comprised of the next leading vote getters at each position that did not make the Best XI.