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Thorns Unveil Protected Players Ahead of NWSL Expansion Draft

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Rachel Buehler and Karina LeBlanc were left unprotected while the Thorns moved to protect Jackie Acevedo and Tobin Heath.

USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Thorns have detailed their list of protected and unprotected players ahead of Friday's NWSL Expansion Draft. Given their playoff status from 2013, the Thorns were only allowed to protect nine players, while teams that did not make the playoffs could hold on to ten. Rather than try to explain the convoluted system by which Houston Dash, the league's expansion club, will be able to select players, let's let the Thorns communications staff do it for us:

Due to Portland earning a spot in the NWSL Playoffs last season, the club was allowed to protect nine players in the Expansion Draft. Non-playoff teams were able to protect 10 players. Any club with more than two U.S. Women's National Team allocated players (which includes Portland) must leave at least one U.S. allocated player unprotected. Houston will be allowed to select no more than two U.S. Women's National Team allocated players, one Canadian allocated player and one Mexican allocated player during the Expansion Draft. The Dash can select no more than two players from a single team except if they select a U.S. allocated player, in which case they may not take any additional players from that club.

As provided by the club, here is the official list of protected and unprotected players:

Protected:

Jackie Acevedo (MEX)

Amber Brooks

Tobin Heath (USA)

Allie Long

Nikki Marshall

Alex Morgan (USA)

Rebecca Moros

Christine Sinclair (CAN)

Kathryn Williamson

Unprotected:

Rachel Buehler (USA)

Becky Edwards

Tina Ellertson

Angie Kerr

Karina LeBlanc (CAN)

Jessica McDonald

Emilee O'Neil

Casey Ramirez

Meleana Shim

Nikki Washington

Tiffany Weimer

Michele Weissenhofer (2013 Hold-over rights)

Courtney Wetzel

Discovery Player No. 1

Discovery Player No. 2

Discovery Player No. 3

Discovery Player No. 4