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Thorns Preseason Depth Chart

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The Thorns spent another off season rebuilding their roster

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Thorns made several changes over the off season, as Mark Parsons took over as head coach, reshaping roster by adding several internationals, including United States internationals Lindsey Horan, Meghan Klingenberg, Emily Sonnett, and Adriana Franch, among others.

The Thorns have quality options all over the pitch. but it falls to Parsons to put every piece together.  With another roster full of internationals, the Thorns will see much of their roster missing in July and August for the Rio Olympics, which will give each player the opportunity to see time on the pitch, but will also force Parsons to juggle players such as Long and Brynjarsdottir in the midfield, and Nadim and Taylor at forward, all of whom could easily start for any team in this league.

As the Thorns enter preseason today, we give a brief look at who is on the roster, and where the Thorns may have needs to fill.


Goalkeepers

  1. Michele Betos
  2. Adriana Franch

Betos was a shining star in an otherwise lost season for the Thorns in 2015, supplanting German legend Nadine Angerer with strong performances throughout the NWSL season.  Adriana Franch returns to the States after playing 2015 in Norway, after missing the 2014 season with an torn ACL, making 12 starts for Avaldnes IL, though little is know of her performance quality.  Franch is currently in training with the United States Women's National Team, and was on the 2013 NWSL Second XI and was the league-leader in goals against average at (0.91) for Western New York, falling to the Thorns in the championship match.


Defenders

Right Back

  1. Kathryn Reynolds
  2. Emily Menges
  3. Kendall Johnson
New head coach Marks Parsons will likely move back to a more traditional 4 in the back defense for the Thorns this season, and with one of his first moves of the off season, he brought in his starter from the Spirit, Katherine Reynolds, to hold down the right side of the defense. Menges could also see playing time here, as she more than has the speed to keep up with players coming up the flank and tracking back from the attack, but she appeared mostly of the left side of the three back last season, quietly growing into a shutdown defender who made some big plays.  Kendall Johnson is already slotted into the left back role, but could also flip sides of the pitch, if needed.

Centerback

  1. Kat WIlliamson
  2. Emily Menges
  3. Emily Sonnett
  4. Mackenzie Berryhill
The Thorns strongest unit from last season remains mostly intact from the end of the season.  The addition of Sonnett is obviously huge for the future of the Thorns, as central defense appears to be set for years to come, and she should be an immediate starter for the Thorns, while also providing cover in defensive midfielder, where she plays for the USWNT.  Berryhill was an interesting pick in the third round, as they did not necessarily need another centerback, but she should provide cover during the Olympics if Sonnet is away in July and August.


Left Back

  1. Kendall Johnson
  2. Meghan Klingenberg
  3. Emily Menges
While Klingenberg would appear to be the natural pick to start at left back, the Thorns have already indicated they see her at left mid, with Johnson at left back.  Menges spent much of last season playing on the left side of the defense and showed well, with her versatility being key when players are injured or away on international duty.


Midfielders

Defensive Midfield

  1. (Amandine Henry)
  2. Emily Sonnett
  3. Dagny Brynjarsdottir
  4. Allie Long
While many see Sonnett as a centerback, she has recently appeared with the USWNT at defensive midfielder, and looks to be the Thorns best option until the signing of Henry becomes official.  The thinnest unit for the Thorns at the current moment, the Thorns do not currently have a player who is primarily a defensive midfielder, and though it is clearly not Long's best position, she has started there in the past.  Brynjarsdottir is a box-to-box midfielder with an an offensive mindset, who Parsons called "incredible in challenging and winning the ball in aerial battles and she scores big goals in big games" when the Thorns acquired her rights from the Breakers.  Henry is an immediate game-changer for the Thorns when she arrives, but the Thorns face the likelihood of only having her for a short time this season, so they may look at adding a player at this position who would solidify the position throughout the season, regardless of when Henry arrives.


Right Midfield

  1. Tobin Heath
  2. Allie Long
  3. Dagny Brynjarsdottir
  4. Mana Shim

Central Midfield

  1. Lindsey Horan
  2. Dagny Brynjarsdottir
  3. Allie Long
  4. Mana Shim

Left Midfield

  1. Meghan Klingenberg
  2. Allie Long
  3. Dagny Brynjarsdottir
  4. Mana Shim

A trio of USWNT starters could anchor the top of the Thorns depth chart at each position on the attacking side of the midfield.  While this will definitely pose problems during the Olympics, the Thorns certainly have depth behind them.  Allie Long could find herself the odd-women out of the starting lineup, despite leading the Thorns with 10 goals and 4 assists last season and 9 goals in 2014.  The versatility of Long and Brynjarsdottir will be key for the Thorns throughout the season this season, and they will be dangerous attacking options for the them at any position in the midfield.  Should Klingenberg start in the midfield, the left side of the field appears to be her natural position, and she was impressive in some brief stints with the USWNT coming out of the midfield.  Shim provides another versatile option for the Thorns off the bench, but she will likley have trouble cracking the lineup when the full roster is available.

Forwards

  1. Christine Sinclair
  2. Jodie Taylor
  3. Nadia Nadim
  4. Lindsey Horan
The Thorns have strengthened their attack over the past week, adding Danish international Nadim on draft day.  Nadim took the league by storm when she joined Sky Blue at mid-season in 2014, scoring 7 goals and 3 assists 6 matches, but saw her production tail off in 2015, where she scored 6 goals and 1 assist in 18 starts.  Taylor is a familiar face to Parsons, having finished third in the NWSL in scoring (11 goals) for the Spirit in 2014, but saw her time in Portland limited after England's surprise run in the World Cup.  Sinclair comes into Thorns camp having recently passed Mia Hamm for second all time in international goalscoring, and currently sits at 161 international goals, only behind the recently-retired Abby Wambach on the international charts.