Last Friday saw the NWSL allocation draft dole out the top national team players from Mexico, Canada and the United States to the eight teams that will play in the fledgling league this year. While we have no doubt that every single one of those players is great at what she does, it's fairly easy to begin seeing a trend in how the teams were created and who actually "won" the draft overall.
In case you missed the announcement, the Portland Thorns FC got:
- Alex Morgan
- Christine Sinclair
- Rachel Buehler
- Karina LeBlanc
- Tobin Heath
- Marlene Sandoval
- Luz Saucedo
While I don't claim to be an expert on the women's game just yet, I'm immediately familiar with a number of these players and they're certainly top of the rankings.
Obviously, the two primary players to watch for are going to be Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair. Both are considered to be the very best forwards in the women's game today. Karina LeBlanc, however, is also considered to be one of the best goalkeepers and is currently Canada's starting keeper. Rachel Buehler is easily one of the best defenders on the USWNT, and in Tobin Heath the Thorns acquired a midfielder who is highly dynamic and still fairly young.
The other two players are a mystery to me, but I have a hard time believing they aren't fantastic in their own right.
The only other team that seems to compare as favorably on paper is the Seattle Reign. They ended up with Hope Solo, considered the best goalkeeper, and Megan Rapinoe, who is probably considered the best midfielder. Additionally, Kaylan Kyle and Amy Rodriguez are two solid players for the Seattle team.
Other notable players were Abby Wambach to the Western New York Flash, Sydney Leroux to the Boston Breakers, and Lauren Cheney to the Chicago Red Stars. I'm sure other players on those teams are just as solid, but nobody standout from my perspective.
I might just have rose-tinted glasses on at the moment, but I'm having a difficult time seeing a club that did better in the NWSL allocation draft.
Do you think the Portland Thorns FC won the allocation draft? If not, who would you say acquired the best players in the draft? If so, why do you think they were able to win to handily?