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Portland Thorns FC

Portland Thorns preview: Champions are looking to repeat

The Portland Thorns celebrate their NWSL Championship win by defeating North Caroline Courage 1-0 at Orlando City Stadium on October 14, 2017. (Credit: Brad Smith/ISI Photos)

The Portland Thorns won the 2017 NWSL title thanks an imposing backline and physical attack. Along with playing in front of a rowdy home crowd, Portland has thrived by consistently retaining the core of its roster. Newcomers Andressinha and Ellie Carpenter should help create more scoring chances.

Tobin Heath and Caitlin Foord are talented scoring threats, but Heath is recovering from January ankle surgery and Foord is working to rebound from February foot surgery. Heath returned from a back injury last season in time to give her team a big boost in the NWSL playoffs and could join Foord in doing the same this year.

Portland is talented, but it still hurts to lose Allie Long, who had more than 100 career appearances with the club before she was traded to Seattle during the offseason. Amandine Henry and Nadia Nadim, who opted to play in Europe, also were scoring threats who combined for nine goals last season.

2017 Record: 14-5-5 (47 points); NWSL champions

 Coach: Mark Parsons (27-9-10 with Portland)

Stadium: Providence Park, Portland, Ore.

 Top Players: Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch; defenders Emily Sonnett, Meghan Klingenberg, Emily Menges, Katherine Reynolds; midfielder Tobin Heath; forwards Christine Sinclair and Hayley Raso

 Key Newcomers: Midfielder Andressinha, defender Ellie Carpenter, forward Caitlin Foord

 Major Departures: Midfielder Allie Long, midfielder Amandine Henry, forward Nadia Nadim

 

 

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