Portland Thorns Acquire USWNT midfielder Crystal Dunn

by Michael Martinez

Portland Thorns today announced that the club has acquired 2019 USWNT World Cup Champion midfielder , and 2015 NWSL MVP winner, Crystal Dunn from OL Reign! She came to Portland in exchange for $150’000 in allocation money, an international roster spot for the 2021 season and Portland’s natural first-round pick in the 2022 NWSL College Draft.

Thorns FC president, Gavin Wilkinson on the transfer of the USWNT star,

“We are delighted to add a world-class player to an already talented group…. Crystal has proven herself on the international level and been a dominant player in the NWSL for many years. Her professionalism and presence will reinforce and add to the strong culture we have in this club.”

The 2021 season will mark Dunn’s seventh season in the NWSL. Dunn, 28, began her career with the Washington Spirit and has played the last three seasons with the North Carolina Courage. She also spent a single season (2017) with Chelsea in the FA Women’s Super League. Individually, Dunn won the NWSL MVP in 2015 along with the Golden Boot, scoring a league-best 15 goals. She has also earned herself NWSL Best XI accolades in 2015 and 2018, and NWSL Second XI honors in 2016 and 2019. During her NWSL career, Dunn has appeared in 89 games while recording 32 goals and 20 assists.

Dunn on her move to Portland,

“I think it’s important people realize that this is a new challenge on the field for me,” she says, “one that’s going to make me a better player. That’s really important to me, alongside my home and my family being there as well.”….

“For me, this move is really about playing for an organization that upholds a standard across the league,” she says, “and really wanting to make a mark and an impact on the environment. So many great players have come through this program, so even though I do believe in my skill set, I know there is a standard I have to meet. That’s going to challenge …”

As a member of the USWNT, Dunn has made 104 appearances, tallying 24 goals and 17 assists. She was part of the team that won the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, starting and playing all 90 minutes of six out of the team’s seven matches. While her natural position is midfielder for club, she has been playing as a Left Back for the US. She has excelled there as well. Being touted as one of the better performers for the USWN defense.

With Portland, the challenges are very clear. In joining the Thorns, she becomes part of a group that, as of recent, increasingly has title expectations. While that’s always been a part of Portland’s DNA, those expectations have increased after three years without a trophy. After the team’s progress during the NWSL’s recently completed Fall Series, the Thorns will likely go into 2021 expecting trophies. And Dunn will play a crucial part.

The challenge, the club, the move home. These factors all matter. They’re all part of Dunn’s next phase. While any of those reasons alone would be enough to justify a new start, for her, it’s the combination that matters most. It’s about being well-rounded, bringing different parts of her life together, and achieving the next big thing which, at this point in her life, she’s sought most: balance.

Portland Thorns FC coach, Mark Parsons, on the transfer of Dunn,

“Crystal is a game-changer, and with her intelligence, dribbling, passing and finishing ability, she can unlock a game in a split second, while her defensive qualities and work rate make her as impactful off the ball as she is on it….. She has a winning mentality, a contagious personality full of positivity and the desire to be the best and make people around her the best.”

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