Angela Salem was named today to the National Women’s Soccer League Best XI, presented by Mastercard. Bella Bixby, Lindsey Horan, Meghan Klinenberg and Emily Menges were included in the NWSL Best XI Second Team.
Salem scored two goals and recorded one assist during the 2021 regular season. She was a constant in the Portland Thorns’ midfield, appearing in 23 games (21 starts). Salem was named to the NWSL Team of the Month for the months of August, September and October. She was a 2021 NWSL MVP finalist and ranked eighth in the league with 43 chances created.
Bixby made her NWSL regular season debut in 2021 and started 16 matches. The Goalkeeper of the Year finalist had the league’s best goals-against average and kept the second most clean sheets in the NWSL (9), despite starting the season as Adrianna Franch’s backup. Bixby set a league record for most consecutive shutout minutes (269) to begin an NWSL regular season career. She was named to the NWSL Team of the Month for July.
Horan scored twice and provided a joint team-high three assists throughout her 14 appearances. The midfielder has been named to the NWSL Best XI (2018, 2019) and NWSL Second XI (2017, 2021) twice each.
This is also the second time Klingenberg has been included in the NWSL Second XI (2017, 2021). Klingenberg was tied for the team-high in assists (3) and earned July Team of the Month honors. The left back led the Thorns in chances created with 49 which was the fifth-best in the NWSL.
Menges anchored the Thorns’ back line throughout the season. She made 21 appearances, 20 of which were starts. Menges was an NWSL Defender of the Year finalist and is featured in the Second XI for the third time in her career (2017, 2018, 2021). Menges provided her first career assist and helped the Thorns to a league-record 13 shutouts this season.
This season's best— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) November 17, 2021
Your @Mastercard Best XI's for 2021 ⤵️
2021 NWSL Best XI First Team (listed by position, alphabetically by last name): Goalkeeper: Kailen Sheridan, NJ/NY Gotham FC – Defenders: Alana Cook, OL Reign; Caprice Dydasco, NJ/NY Gotham FC; Sarah Gorden, Chicago Red Stars; Carson Pickett, North Carolina Courage – Midfielders and Forwards: Jessica Fishlock, OL Reign; Ashley Hatch, Washington Spirit; Margaret Purce, NJ/NY Gotham FC; Trinity Rodman, Washington Spirit; Angela Salem, Portland Thorns FC; Eugenie Le Sommer, OL Reign
2021 NWSL Best XI Second Team (listed by position, alphabetically by last name): Goalkeeper: Bella Bixby, Portland Thorns FC – Defenders: Emily Fox, Racing Louisville FC; Sofia Huerta, OL Reign; Meghan Klingenberg, Portland Thorns FC; Emily Menges, Portland Thorns FC – Midfielders and Forwards: Bethany Balcer, OL Reign; Rachel Daly, Houston Dash; Lindsey Horan, Portland Thorns FC; Sydney Leroux, Orlando Pride; Ifeoma Onumonu, NJ/NY Gotham FC; Mallory Pugh, Chicago Red Stars
The Best XI First Team and Best XI Second Team are based on a weighted voting scale comprised of players (50%), owners/GMs/coaches (20%), media (20%) and fans (10%).
The full release is available here.