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Vero named to NWSL Best XI

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Steph Catley, Allie Long, and Jessica McDonald all named to NWSL Second XI.

Stacey Neve - Stumptown Footy

Portland Thorns midfielder Vero Boquete has been named to the NWSL Best XI squad, the National Women's Soccer League announced Friday, the first Thorn to be named to the top postseason squad.

Vero, 27, made 15 appearances (all starts) for the Thorns, scoring 4 goals and finishing 4th in the NWSL with 6 assists, a new club record, after joining the Thorns in early June.

The catalyst of the Thorns' offense, Vero quickly became a fan favorite, winning the 2014 Rose City Riveters Player of the Year and finished second in MVP voting behind Seattle's Kim Little, and was named the NWSL Player of the Week three times.

Joining Vero in the postseason awards are defender Steph Catley, midfielder Allie Long, and forward Jessica McDonald, all of whom were named the NWSL Second XI.

Catley, 20, made 14 appearances (13 starts) for the Thorns in her first season overseas.  A rising star in Australia, Catley recorded 5 assists after joining the Thorns following the Matildas' participation in the AFC Asian Cup that served as the qualifying tournament for the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada.

Long, 27, had a breakout season for the Thorns that saw her finish 5th in the league with 9 goals, along with 3 assists in 22 appearances (20 starts) and propel herself into the US Women's National Team picture, carrying the Thorns' offense, along with McDonald, for much of the early portion of the season.

McDonald, 26, was a pleasant surprise for the Thorns, finishing 3rd in the league with 11 goals, despite being relegated to the bench following Alex Morgan's mid-season return from injury.  Acquired in an off-season trade with Seattle, McDonald had a breakout performance against FC Kansas City, scoring in the 84th and 88th minutes to give the Thorns a 3-1 victory in their home opener on April 26.

The NWSL Best XI is selected by members of the media, team officials, and players.

Last season, Rachel Van Hollebeke (then Buehler), Alex Morgan, and Christine Sinclair were all named to the NWSL Second XI.

Portland Thorns/NWSL Press Release-

Catley, Long and McDonald earn NWSL Second XI recognition
PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Thorns FC midfielder Vero Boquete was named to the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Best XI, while defender Steph Catley, midfielder Allie Long and forward Jessica McDonald earned NWSL Second XI recognition, it was announced today.

Boquete, 27, who finished second in the NWSL Most Valuable Player award voting, appeared in 15 matches (all starts) during the regular season for Thorns FC. A three-time NWSL Player of the Week selection during the regular season, Boquete ranked tied for fourth in the NWSL in assists (6) and tallied four goals. Her six assists set a Thorns FC single-season club record. The Spain Women’s National Team captain arrived in Portland midseason, making her debut for the club on June 7 against the Western New York Flash.
Catley, 20, registered five assists for Thorns FC, appearing in 14 matches (13 starts) during the 2014 regular season. The Australian international made her debut for Portland on June 7 and recorded a stretch of four consecutive matches with an assist, setting a club record for assists in consecutive matches from July 13-23.
Long, 27, finished the 2014 regular season ranked tied for fifth in the league with nine goals. In 22 appearances (20 starts), Long registered three assists and tallied her first career brace for Thorns FC with two goals against FC Kansas City on July 13 at Providence Park. Long also was perfect from the penalty spot, converting all four attempts this season.
McDonald, 26, finished the season as Portland’s leading scorer (11 goals), which ranked tied for third in the league. One of two Thorns FC players to appear in all 24 regular-season matches (13 starts), McDonald set a club single-season record for goals, while tallying two braces (April 26 and June 21) and scoring the fastest goal in NWSL history (33 seconds) against the Chicago Red Stars on July 17.
The NWSL Best XI team (listed at position, alphabetically by last name):
Position                       Player                          Club                             Country            Note .
Alyssa Naeher
Boston Breakers
106 saves
Kendall Fletcher
Seattle Reign FC
.83 team GAA
Ali Krieger
Washington Spirit
1 goal
Christie Rampone
Sky Blue FC
1 goal, 2 assists
Becky Sauerbrunn
FC Kansas City
8 shutouts
Vero Boquete
Portland Thorns FC
4 goals, 6 assists
Jess Fishlock
Seattle Reign FC
4 goals, 8 assists
Kim Little
Seattle Reign FC
16 goals, 7 assists
Lauren Holiday
FC Kansas City
8 goals, 7 assists
Nahomi Kawasumi
Seattle Reign FC
9 goals, 5 assists
Amy Rodriguez
FC Kansas City
13 goals, 3 assists
NWSL Second XI – Goalkeeper: Hope Solo, Seattle Reign FC – Defenders: Lauren Barnes, Seattle Reign FC; Steph Catley, Portland Thorns FC; Stephanie Cox, Seattle Reign – Midfielders: Carli Lloyd, Western New York Flash; Allie Long, Portland Thorns FC; Heather O’Reilly, Boston Breakers – Forwards: Jessica McDonald, Portland Thorns FC; Christen Press, Chicago Red Stars; Jodie Taylor, Washington Spirit

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.