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Six Degrees: The Thorns Mount Rushmore

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Portland Thorns FC v Chicago Red Stars

1) This is my eighth year writing this Six Degrees column, and in all that time, I’ve never written about the Thorns.

Why? Well, for starters, the Timbers keep me busy enough as it is, but more importantly, and much to my shame, I just don’t follow the Thorns closely enough. I invest so much of my time and money and thoughts and emotions into the Timbers, that I don’t have any left to give to the Thorns. Do I like this? No. Do I feel a little shame? Yes. Am I in any way qualified to write about a Thorns Mount Rushmore? Absolutely not. Am I going to do it anyway? You bet I am.

The good news? This probably won’t be as difficult as last week’s Timbers Mount Rushmore. I feel like there will be pretty good agreement on which Thorns belong on the mountain, and not even a Thorns novice like myself can mess it up.

2) First up, the most obvious choice: Christine Sinclair.

Not only has she been with the team since its 2013 inception, not only has she scored the third most goals in NWSL history, and not only has she scored the most goals in international history for both men and women, but she’s been living in Portland since she was a teenager! That’s right, before Sinc was kicking ass for the Thorns, she was kicking ass for the University of Portland Pilots. The Rose City is her home. She’s clearly and obviously the first face on our Mount Rushmore.

3) Next up, another obvious choice: Tobin Heath.

Like Sinc, Tobin’s been with the team since its 2013 inception. She has the most assists in NWSL history, she was named to the 2016, 2018, and 2019 NWSL Best XI’s, and she’s set unbreakable records for “clowning fools” and “taking souls.” She’s the second no-brainer for our mountain.

4) Now the decisions get a tiny bit more difficult. Or do they? Is Lindsey Horan a difficult choice? I can’t decide.

I question her mainly because she only joined the team in 2016 (after four years with Paris Saint-Germain). But since arriving, she’s been named to the 2018 and 2019 NWSL Best XI’s, and won a small award you might have heard of called the 2018 MVP. That probably counts for something.

Is she controversial or is she a no-brainer? Like I said, I’m not a Thorns expert. You guys tell me.

5) Finally, a name which I think we’ll all agree on, but I’m not entirely sure: Emily Menges

Unlike everyone up above, Menges hasn’t been showered with awards and national team call-ups. Despite that, she’s turned herself into an absolute cornerstone of the team. She’s a “write her name in ink” member of the starting lineup at center back, and even made the 2016 NWSL Best XI. In addition, I feel like she’s one of the most well-liked Thorns. She’s one of my most well-liked, at least. She’s got a goofy charm about her that I really enjoy. I’m making her the fourth member of our Mount Rushmore, but I wonder if some of you are going to disagree.

6) Who are some players who just missed the cut? The ones that come to mind are Allie Long, Meghan Klingenberg, Emily Sonnett, and Adrianna Franch. What do you think? Should any of them be up on the mountain?

Like I said at the start, I am in no way an expert on the Thorns. Fortunately, a lot of you are. How did I do? Are there any changes you’d make? Tell me why down in the comments. Educate me a little about this wonderful team that I really should follow more closely than I do.