PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Thorns FC midfielders Tobin Heath and Lindsey Horan, defender Emily Sonnett and goalkeeper Adrianna Franch earned National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Best XI honors for the 2018 season, it was announced today. Additionally, forward Christine Sinclair and defender Emily Menges were named to the NWSL Second XI.
Heath, 30, who was a 2016 NWSL Best XI selection, tallied a career-high in goals (7), games played (17) and games started (14), and ranked tied for second in the league in assists (7). The Basking Ridge, N.J., native, finished the regular season with four consecutive matches with a goal scored (Aug. 18 – Sept. 7). Heath also scored Portland’s opening goal in the 2-1 NWSL semifinal win over Seattle Reign FC.
Horan, 24, who was a 2017 NWSL Second XI selection, finished the regular season ranked third in the NWSL with 13 goals, while tallying two assists in 22 matches (22 starts) for Portland. The Golden, Colo., native, was the league leader in a number of key statistics, including touches (1,852), duels won (297), aerial duels won (141) and successful passes in the opponent’s half (493). Horan also ranked among the league leaders in successful passes ending in the final third (252) and dribbles completed (44). Additionally, Horan scored the game-winning goal and registered an assist in Portland’s 2-1 NWSL semifinal victory over Reign FC on Sept. 15.
Sonnett, 24, was named to her first NWSL Best XI after making 20 starts and playing 1,755 minutes in 2018. Her 104 clearances ranked third in the league, while she recorded 35 interceptions, 68 duels won and 14 blocks. She also had one goal and one assist, and held a 77.8 percent passing accuracy.
Franch, 27, who was a 2017 NWSL Best XI selection and the NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year last season, made 14 starts in 2018, posting a record of 9-3-2 and recording three shutouts. She made 45 saves, conceded 14 goals and held a save percentage of 76.3 percent.
Sinclair, 35, who was a 2013 NWSL Second XI selection, was the only Thorns FC player to start all 24 games this season and to play every minute of every single match. During the regular season, Sinclair set career-highs in goals scored (9) and assists (6), which ranked third in the NWSL in 2018.
An NWSL Best XI selection in 2016 and Second XI pick in 2017, Menges, 26, made 15 appearances (all starts) and committed only one foul during the regular season. In 2018, Menges averaged 5.7 clearances and 7.03 recoveries per 90 minutes.
The NWSL Best XI team (listed by position, alphabetically by last name): Goalkeeper: Adrianna Franch, Portland Thorns FC – Defenders: Abby Dahlkemper, North Carolina Courage; Abby Erceg, North Carolina Courage; Becky Sauerbrunn, Utah Royals FC; Emily Sonnett, Portland Thorns FC – Midfielders: Tobin Heath, Portland Thorns FC; Lindsey Horan, Portland Thorns FC; McCall Zerboni, North Carolina Courage – Forwards: Crystal Dunn, North Carolina Courage; Sam Kerr, Chicago Red Stars; Megan Rapinoe, Seattle Reign FC
The NWSL Second XI team (listed by position, alphabetically by last name):
NWSL Second XI – Goalkeeper: Lydia Williams, Seattle Reign FC; Steph Catley, Seattle Reign FC; Julie Ertz, Chicago Red Stars; Merritt Mathias, Seattle Reign FC; Emily Menges, Portland Thorns FC – Midfielders: Debinha, North Carolina Courage; Carli Lloyd, Sky Blue FC; Christine Sinclair, Portland Thorns FC – Forwards: Rachel Daly, Houston Dash; Sofia Huerta, Houston Dash; Lynn Williams, North Carolina Courage
The NWSL Second XI is comprised of the next leading vote getters at each position that did not make the Best XI. The NWSL awards are voted on by club officials, players, media that cover the league on a consistent basis and fans.