2018 NWSL College Draft Preview: Portland Thorns

With only two picks late in the first round, the defending champions will have to get creative.

2018 NWSL College Draft Preview: Portland Thorns
2018 College Draft Preview: Portland Thorns

The Portland Thorns finished the season on a high, raising the NWSL Championship trophy. It's now time for Mark Parsons to add some new faces to his championship roster. The Thorns will wait until the the 8th and 9th pick of the 1st round before choosing their next two rookies. 

A Look Back at Last Years Draft

Last year, the Portland Thorns had four draft picks. Parsons selected four strong rookies but by the time the season was over there were only two. Rachel Hill was traded to the Orlando Pride in return to higher the Thorns spots in this upcoming draft. They would later say goodbye to Caroline Flynn as she moved on and player her rookie season with FC Kansas City. Although Savannah Jordan did play on loan most of the season she was drafted with the 18th overall pick. Tyler Lussi was the rookie that we saw the most of. Being the 21st overall pick, Lussi made five appearances, started three matches, scored one goal and had two assists in her rookie season. Although only two out of the four draft picks are still in Portland and they may not have the most stellar rookie careers both Jordan and Lussi have bright futures ahead and will be able to help the team out a lot. 

What do the Thorns Need?

Well, let's start at the top, with the forwards. It is pretty safe to say that the Thorns do not need another forward in their lineup. With two Australian internationals, Hayley Raso and Ashleigh Sykes being so quick and talented with the ball, along with Meg Morris, Mallory Weber, Tyler Lussi and Savannah Jordan. Losing Nadia Nadim to Manchester City was a tough loss on the goal scoring side of things but it is not the end of the world considering most of the goals that Portland score come from the midfielders. So, if Parsons is able to grab a great striker in the draft go right ahead, but the question is will she be much use considering they already have a great forward in Christine Sinclair who was pushed back to the midfield just this season. 

Allie Long vs Seattle Reign | Photo: stumpfooty.com
Allie Long vs Seattle Reign | Photo: stumpfooty.com

What the Thorns need to focus on in this draft is the midfield. Losing, French international, Amandine Henry is a big missing piece in the Thorns midfield. Also, the Thorns just lost US international, Allie Long in a trade with the Seattle Reign. In return, the Thorns did get the rights to Australian international, Caitlin Foord. Foord will add more depth for the Thorns in the midfield on the wing and in a fullback position. When you look at the midfielders Portland has you would be shocked by the amount of star players they have. It's the defensive midfielder that they are missing, due to the departure of Amandine Henry. Portland needs a strong defensive mid that will be able to help the defense out and cause attacking opportunities as well. Trying to fill the shoes of Henry will be hard but it's what the Thorns need to do now with the absence of star players in the DM position. 

The back line is probably the least of their worries. Having Adrianna Franch coming off a stellar season and Britt Eckerstorm on the bench, their is no reason to use a pick on a goalkeeper. Even the wings, are fine considering the experience and talent they have. In the defense, the main problem that they have is their centerbacks. Although, Emily Sonnett and Emily Menges are both extremely talented centerbacks, there is really no one to go in for them if one of them were to get hurt. So, if Parsons wanted to use one of his picks on defense, it would almost be a filler player who isn't a starter but really to play in case anything were to happen to any of the back starting line. All the Thorns really need in their defense is more depth. 

Who the Thorns Could Take?

Rebecca Quinn- Quinn is the best player the Thorns could take in this year's draft. The problem is, she's about the best player any team could take in the draft. The midfielder from Duke University is exactly what the Thorns need. With her strength in playing in the midfield and on defense, she could help the Thorns out tremendously. Considering Quinn is such a talented player and plays for the Canadian National Team, not only is there an extremely slim chance of her still being around in pick eight, she would cost a lot and take up another international spot on Portland's roster.  

Indigo Gibson- If the Thorns aren't able to make some trades to get Quinn, Gibson would also be a great addition to the team. Gibson played her college career at University of California. She is a talented defender and could add the depth in the defense that the Thorns are in need of. 

Gabby Seiler-  Seiler is a really interesting player and a really talented player with that.  Seiler comes from University of Florida and plays just about anywhere. Being able to grab Seiler with 8th pick because of how talented she is would be unlikely but if the Thorns are able to she would be an excellent addition to their roster. She could be a top player that could be back-up for a little but could also be a starting option when World Cup Qualifying comes around due to her ability to play in so many positions. 

Mackenzie Cerda- Cerda also comes from the University of California and can play as a forward or a defender. Cerda would be a filler player that adds more depth to the defense. She would be an asset if someone were to get injured or could also be a strong attacker against a team with a strong defense. She could be a good addition to the the Thorns and a player that has more of a shot of still being around when the Thorns get their pick. 

Other Players the Thorns Could Choose

Schuyler DuBreeDuke University - Forward, Midfielder, Defender

Elizabeth Wenger- Georgetown University - Defender

Claire Winter- University of Califoria, Los Angeles - Midfielder

Vanessa GillesUniversity of Cincinnati - Defender

Michaela Abam- West Virginia University - Forward, Midfielder, Defender

Madison Williams- Purdue University - Forward

Brianna VisalliPepperdine University - Forward, Midfielder

Imani Dorsey- Duke University - Forward, Midfielder