One week after the Portland Thorns lost Meleana Shim to the NWSL expansion draft, the team managed to bring her back, but were forced to give up defender Nikki Washington and their second round pick in today's college draft to do so.
The trade happened during the second round of this morning's draft. The Thorns, who did not have a pick in the first round, were on the clock and used their five minute time-out to negotiate with the Houston Dash, who had picked up Shim. Houston had to burn their time-out as well, but the deal got done within that span.
"Mana" Shim, an exciting, attacking presence in the midfield, brings a spark to the Thorns attack that few on the team can match. Although she managed to contribute five goals and two assists to the Thorns' third place finish last year, her contribution went far beyond those simple numbers. In a year where the team, although talented, often played somewhat boring soccer, Shim's spark-plug energy and skill on the ball made her the most enjoyable player to watch in many of the Thorns' games.
Shim's return to the Thorns' roster was celebrated by fans and teammates alike.
Bitter sweet. Welcoming @meleanashim back but saying goodbye to @mnwash #bestofluckNik #Manaletspretendyouneverleft!— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) January 17, 2014
"@PDXRivetersSG: Oh, hi, @meleanashim. We've missed you. #BAON" yesss!— Courtney Wetzel (@C_Wetzel) January 17, 2014
Washington, also a midfielder, played in eleven games for the Thorns, starting ten of them. She struggled to get minutes late in the season, particularly with the return of Tobin Health from Europe and the resurgence of Angie Kerr in the midfield.