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Three Thorns Selected to NWSL Best XI Second Team

The NWSL released their Best XI picks today with no Thorns players included, but three in the Second Team selections.


Apparently the Portland Thorns' run to the National Women's Soccer League Final really was a team effort as the Thorns were the only team left off of the NWSL Best XI, which was released today. The Thorns did have Rachel Buehler, Alex Morgan, and Christine Sinclair included in the Best XI Second Team.

At practice yesterday Cindy Parlow Cone was already talking about the importance of everyone on the team stepping up in the semifinal against FC Kansas City.

I think we've had players all season long stepping up for us at different moments, both on the defensive end and on the attacking end and the semifinal was no different. We have a lot of weapons on this team, both in players that can score and players that help us defend. I thought our starting elven did fantastic and I thought that all three of our subs that came in did very well as well.

In contrast, FCKC, who the Thorns beat 3-2 in the semifinal and tied on points this season, had four players named to the Best XI and an additional three named to the Best XI Second Team. The Western New York Flash, the team that the Thorns will be facing in the final and the first place finishers during the regular season, had two players named to the Best XI and one to the Best XI Second Team.

The Thorns' press release:

Forwards Christine Sinclair, Alex Morgan and defender Rachel Buehler earn Second Team honors

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Thorns FC forwards Christine Sinclair and Alex Morgan and defender Rachel Buehler were named to the National Women’s Soccer League Best XI Second Team, the NWSL announced today.

Morgan, 24, finished the season as the team’s leading scorer with eight goals and five assists (21pts). The U.S. Women’s National Team standout’s points total ranked among league leaders in the NWSL. Despite missing four games this season due to national team duty and injury, Morgan still finished as the league leader in shots (82) and shots on goal (44).

Sinclair, 30, registered eight goals and two assists as the team’s captain and an integral part of the club’s offense. The Canadian international netted four goals over the final six games of the regular season as Thorns FC earned the No. 3 seed in the playoffs. The league’s Player of the Month for April, Sinclair tallied a streak of three straight games with a point (2g, 1a) in the first three weeks of the season, helping Portland kick off the year on a five-game unbeaten streak.

Buehler, 28, appeared in 20 of the team’s 22 regular-season matches at center back, taking part in six of the team’s seven clean sheets in 2013. The U.S. Women’s National Team defender logged 1,800 minutes during the regular season, missing just two matches due to national team commitments.

The NWSL Best XI team (listed at position, alphabetically by last name):

Position                       Player                         Club                             Country            Note                 .

Goalkeeper                   Nicole Barnhart              FC Kansas City             USA                 10 shutouts

Defender                      Christie Rampone          Sky Blue FC                  USA                 1.20 GAA

Defender                      Leigh Ann Robinson      FC Kansas City             USA                 5 assists

Defender                      Becky Sauerbrunn         FC Kansas City             USA                 1.0 GAA

Defender                      Brittany Taylor               Western New York         USA                 3g, 4a

Midfielder                     Lori Chalupny                Chicago Red Stars        USA                 5g, 4a

Midfielder                     Jess Fishlock                Seattle Reign FC           Wales               4 goals

Midfielder                     Lauren Holiday              FC Kansas City             USA                 12g, 9a

Midfielder                     Diana Matheson            Washington Spirit          Canada             8g, 3a

Forward                        Sydney Leroux              Boston Breakers           USA                 11g, 2a

Forward                        Abby Wambach            Western New York         USA                 11g, 8a

NWSL Second XI – Goalkeeper: Adrianna Franch, Western New York Flash – Defenders:Rachel Buehler, Portland Thorns FC; Caitlin Foord, Sky Blue FC; Ali Krieger, Washington Spirit; Lauren Sesselmann, FC Kansas City – Midfielders: Megan Rapinoe, Seattle Reign FC; Desiree Scott, FC Kansas City; Erika Tymrak, FC Kansas City – Forwards: Alex Morgan, Portland Thorns FC; Lianne Sanderson, Boston Breakers; Christine Sinclair, Portland Thorns FC

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.