Sam Kerr scored a league-record 17 goals for Sky Blue FC this season. (Jeffrey Auger Photo)
CHICAGO – Given her outstanding season for Sky Blue FC, it should come as no surprise that striker Sam Kerr was named to the NWSL Best XI Thursday.
The big questions is whether she will be crowned MVP of the league.
An Australian international, Kerr captured the National Women’s Soccer League scoring title with a record 17 goals and four assists.
Kerr was the lone Sky Blue FC player who received any postseason honors on the Best XI or Second XI squads.
The North Carolina Courage led the way with three selections to the squad followed by the Chicago Red Stars and Orlando Pride with two members each on the team.
Seven players earned their first selection to the Best XI this year, highlighted by the top two goal scorers in the league – Orlando forward Marta and Kerr.
Four of those first-time selections are set to feature in the 2017 NWSL Championship Game at Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, Fla. Saturday as Abby Dahlkemper, Samantha Mewis, McCall Zerboni and the Courage go up against Adrianna Franch and the Portland Thorns in a match broadcast nationally at 4:30 p.m. ET on Lifetime.
FC Kansas City defender Becky Sauerbrunn and Chicago Red Stars forward Christen Press were the only two players from the 2016 Best XI also voted to the team this year. It was the fifth consecutive selection to the squad for Sauerbrunn and the third straight selection for Press.
Seattle Reign FC midfielder Jess Fishlock was voted to the Best XI for the fourth time in five years, while Pride defender Ali Krieger made her second appearances on the team. Fishlock has earned a place on the Best XI or Second XI in all five years of the NWSL.
Krieger is the oldest player on the squad and the fifth-oldest player ever selected to Best XI. She is one of five players – including Sauerbrunn, Marta, Zerboni and Fishlock – voted to the team over the age 30, the most of any Best XI side in the five-year history of the NWSL.
Krieger was also one of three players – along with Fishlock and Red Stars defender Casey Short – made the leap to the Best XI after making the Second XI last season.
2017 NWSL Best XI
|Goalkeeper||Adrianna Franch||Portland Thorns FC||USA||11 shutouts|
|Defender||Abby Dahlkemper||North Carolina Courage||USA||2,160 minutes|
|Defender||Ali Krieger||Orlando Pride||USA||2,160 minutes|
|Defender||Becky Sauerbrunn||FC Kansas City||USA||1,980 minutes|
|Defender||Casey Short||Chicago Red Stars||USA||1,914 minutes|
|Midfielder||Jess Fishlock||Seattle Reign FC||Wales||7 goals, 2 assists|
|Midfielder||Samantha Mewis||North Carolina Courage||USA||6 goals, 3 assists|
|Midfielder||McCall Zerboni||North Carolina Courage||USA||3 goals, assist|
|Forward||Marta||Orlando Pride||Brazil||13 goals, 6 assists|
|Forward||Samantha Kerr||Sky Blue FC||Australia||17 goals, 4 assists|
|Forward||Christen Press||Chicago Red Stars||USA||11 goals, 4 assists|