72. Meghan Klingenberg
Meghan Klingenberg once again played an important and consistent role in the success of Portland Thorns under Mark Parsons in 2017.
Playing in 23 of the Thorns’ games during the season, Klingenberg failed to get in on the goals from left back, but racked up six assists when getting forward from left back.
Well known as one of the best full backs in world football, Klingenberg had one of her best seasons yet in NWSL after settling with down with the Thorns after short spells abroad and some time with Houston Dash.
More impressively, the 29-year-old returned after a lengthy spell on the sidelines which ran into the start of the season, but her role was as important as ever upon her return.
Mark Parsons, Portland Thorns manager says:
“Kling is a full back who won a Championship, she was up there at 15th for creating chances in the league this season and she was the number one defender for creating chances.
“She’s a creative, attacking full back who is great in small spaces. She improved a lot on her defensive side in the second half of the season because her fitness improved after coming back from four months out.”
Anson Dorrance, Klingenberg’s former coach at North Carolina says:
“Kling was a lot like Lucy Bronze in terms of her progression for us over her four years at UNC. She spent the fall the year after being dropped by the Under 20s working her backside off and she really got her form back, she was back on the team and now she’s the starting left back for the US national team.
“The quality she brings to the game is that she’s always moving, she had this ‘knock and move’ style, it made her an almost impossible match up for an opponent.”
Lori Lindsey, former team mate and USA international says:
“I loved playing with Kling for the sole reason that she was a true left footed outside back. Those are sometimes hard to come by. And, I would consider her a modern-day full back as she has great endurance, athleticism and is able to get up and down the pitch, playing more like a winger at times than a full back. Thus, also making it hard for the opposing team to mark her.”
Kieran Theivam, UK/US women’s football writer says:
“Meghan Klingenberg had arguably one of her best seasons in the NWSL this year, and that could be down to the fact she has lost her place to Casey Short on the national team.