Portland Thorns FC midfielder Tobin Heath was named the NWSL Player of the Month for April, it was announced Wednesday.
Against the Orlando Pride on April 17th and FC Kansas City on April 23rd, Heath tallied three assists, while wearing the captain’s armband for both matches.
Heath set up both goals as Portland registered a 2-1 win against Orlando at Providence Park, including midfielder Lindsey Horan’s game-winning goal in the 82nd minute. In addition, it marked the second time Heath has registered multiple assists in a match for the Thorns during her career. On the road against Kansas City, Heath delivered the game-tying assist off a corner kick in the 78th minute to secure a 1-1 draw.
JUST THE BEGINNING FOR HEATH
Normally, a player of the month award would be earmarked for someone who leads the league in goals or game up with a stunning game-winning shot. Not so for Heath, who is a special kind of talent. The native of Basking Ridge, NJ is easily one of the top two or three midfielders in the league and was awarded the captain's band this season while Christine Sinclair recovers from injury.
She has boundless energy which helps raise her teammates level of play. She has also been vital in building cohesion to a Thorns roster that went through some major alterations this offseason. Despite how she's performed over the first month of the season, Thorns Head Coach Mark Parsons says, we haven't seen anything yet.
"It's just the beginning," Parsons said. "It's just a good start for Tobin." Heath has assisted on all four goals the Thorns have scored in their first three games this season and has been instrumental in helping integrate the new players and veterans on the roster in the young season."
THE ROAD AHEAD
For Heath and her Portland teammates, the next three games provide the toughest test of this young season. Two games against the league leading Washington Spirit led by Ali Krieger, first away at Washington this Saturday then back home on May 21st. Sandwiched in between is a match against the Seattle Reign. For the Thorns to be successful, Heath is going to have to add some goals to the attack.
The NWSL Player of the Month is selected each month of the regular season by the NWSL Media Association, a collection of press that cover the league on a consistent basis.