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Thorns announce 2018 club awards

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Christine Sinclair, Lindsey Horan, the Emilies honored for their on- and off-field contributions

Christine Sinclair, OC after being awarded the Supporters Player of the Year
Nikita Taparia

The Thorns announced their annual end-of-season awards in a press release today, adding Club MVP and Defender of the Year honors to the ones already announced for Community MVP (Emily Menges) and Supporters Player of the Year (Christine Sinclair).

There are no surprises here. Lindsey Horan, the 2018 NWSL MVP, rightfully picked up the club’s MVP award. If Defender of the Year is a difficult choice in a year the Thorns posted their worst defensive record since the club hired Mark Parsons, it shouldn’t come as a shock that the club chose to split the award between their two center backs, Emily Menges and Emily Sonnett. Neither had an exceptional season, but to some extent you can only shrug when it comes to giving an award for defending in a defensively poor year.

Sinc, rightfully a hero in the North End, was an obvious choice for Supporters Player of the Year; so was Menges, who was spotted at more than her assigned allotment of service projects on top of working with her family’s nonprofit, for Community MVP.

You can read the whole press release below; in addition, keep an eye out tomorrow for Stumptown Footy’s own Thorns FC awards.

Most Valuable Player; Golden Boot – Lindsey Horan

One of 15 nominees for the Ballon d’Or, midfielder Lindsey Horan finished with a team-best 13 goals, which ranked third in the NWSL in 2018. The U.S. international became the first Thorns FC player to be named NWSL MVP and was also a Best XI selection. In her third season with Portland, Horan appeared in 22 matches (22 starts), tallying two assists, while leading the league in multiple statistical categories, including touches (1,852), duels won (297), aerial duels won (141) and successful passes in the opponent’s half (493). Horan also ranked among the league leaders in successful passes ending in the final third (252) and dribbles completed (44).

Co-Defenders of the Year – Emily Menges and Emily Sonnett

Defender Emily Menges made 15 appearances (15 starts) and committed only one foul in 2018. Playing in her fifth season with Thorns FC, Menges averaged 5.7 clearances and 7.03 recoveries per 90 minutes and earned NWSL Second XI honors in 2018. Sonnett, a 2018 NWSL Best IX selection, started and played in 20 matches in 2018 in her third season with Portland. She ranked third in the NWSL in clearances (104) and recorded 35 interceptions, 68 duels won and 14 blocks. In addition, Sonnett recorded one goal and one assist, while finishing the regular season with a 77.8 percent passing accuracy.

Supporters’ Player of the Year – Christine Sinclair

Voted on by Thorns FC fans and presented after the team’s final regular-season home match on Sept. 7, forward Christine Sinclair is also part of the 15-player shortlist for the Ballon d’Or., tallying nine goals and six assists in her sixth season with Portland. The Canadian international, who was named to the NWSL Second XI in 2018, was the only player to start all 24 games during the regular season, playing every minute of every single match. Sinclair’s six assists ranked third among players in the NWSL, while she recorded her 40th career NWSL goal to become the third player in league history to reach this mark and also played in her 100th career match for Portland this season.

Community MVP – Emily Menges

Menges was also recognized for her contributions in the community during the season and was named the team’s Community MVP at the 2018 Stand Together Banquet in September. She led the way in welcoming #MightyMaryn, a young Thorns FC fan battling brain cancer, and her family to the team with a one-of-a-kind training and gameday experience in celebration of Maryn’s birthday. During Stand Together Week, Menges participated in projects with Willamette Riverkeeper and Friends of Trees. In addition, she helped brighten the days of the pediatric patients at local children’s hospitals and supported the development and fundraising efforts of the Bobby Menges “I’m Not Done Yet Foundation” to provide transitional care for youth and adolescents in their battles against cancer.