During the NWSL Allocation Draft, the Portland Thorns FC picked up two very exciting players in Christine Sinclair and Alex Morgan. However, those two players will only get you so far as a great offensive side means little without a standout defensive side. This is where Rachel Buehler shines.
Buehler, at 27, has had a fairly stable career given the circumstances of the league she was a part of. She began her collegiate career at Stanford where she played from 2006-2008. From there she joined FC Gold Pride in the Bay area where she was able to record 39 appearances from 2009-2010. From there she was traded to the Boston Breakers, presumably when FC Gold Pride was dissolved in 2010.
On the international level, Buehler has contributed far more with her have appeared for the U-19, U-21, U-23, and senior USWNTs. In total she has recorded 98 appearances with the senior national team including being a part of both the US Women's World Cup in 2011 and the US Women's Olympic team in 2012.
- NCAA Top VIII Award
- WPA Championship - 2010 FC Gold Pride
- Women's World Cup, runner-up
- 2012 Olympic Gold Medal
As stated above, it's easy to be excited for the Thorn's attacking prospects, but really the defense is where it all begins for a club. Buehler should prove to be one of the key players on the team. In fact, without her, I'm not sure that the Thorns would be all that great of a team.
One worrying trend we are starting to see among some returning players to club teams, however, is the lack of playing time during 2012. Buehler did not appear to have much playing time in 2012 aside from with the USWNT. Those kind of minutes with the national team are great, don't get me wrong, but they're also fairly sparse. Here's hoping she's able to make a quick recovery to form.