The National Women’s Soccer League announced its Best XI and Second XI Thursday afternoon. Nine players from the North Carolina Courage and the Chicago Red Stars, who will play for the championship Sunday, were selected.
The Best XI and Second XI are a result of voting conducted from Oct. 17-22 among players, media, fans and owners/generals/coaches.
Sixtenn players, including 14 Americans, who played in the Women’s World Cup this past summer were named.
The Best XI was divided among six teams, with the Red Stars having three players, the Washington Spirit, Utah Royals and Portland Thorns with two each and the Orlando Pride and Courage with one.
Voting breakdown: Fans (20 percent), Owners/GMs/Coaches (20 percent), Media (20 percent) and Players (40 percent).
NWSL Best XI
Goalkeeper: Aubrey Bledsoe
Defenders: Abby Dahlkemper, Ali Krieger, Becky Sauerbrunn, Casey Short
Midfielders: Julie Ertz, Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle
Forwards: Tobin Heath, Sam Kerr, Christen Press
NWSL Second XI
Goalkeeper: Alyssa Naeher
Defenders: Lauren Barnes, Abby Erceg, Kelley O’Hara, Emily Sonnett
Midfielders: Bethany Balcer, Crystal Dunn, Yuki Nagasato
Forwards: Kristen Hamilton, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe
A look at NWSL Best XI:
GK: Aubrey Bledsoe, Washington Spirit
Washington Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe made 24 starts in 2019 and earned nine clean sheets. She made a league-best 86 saves. Bledsoe conceded 25 goals and had a save percentage of 77.5%. She had a total of 290 recoveries which was the highest in the NWSL in 2019. Bledsoe also had the highest number of catches this season with 25.
D: Abby Dahlkemper, North Carolina Courage
North Carolina defender Abby Dahlkemper played 1,260 minutes over 14 appearances in 2019. She had a tackle rate of 50% along with 52 clearances and 13 interceptions. Dahlkemper ranked second in the league with an 87.2% pass rate on 890 total passes.
D: Ali Krieger, Orlando Pride
Orlando Pride defender Ali Krieger played 1,080 minutes in 12 appearances. Her pass rate was 76.5% averaging a 37.7% passes per 90 minutes. Krieger’s duel rate was 57.7%, alongside 47 clearances and a total of 16 interceptions.
D: Becky Sauerbrunn, Utah Royals FC
Utah Royals FC defender Becky Sauerbrunn appeared in 14 matches, playing a total of 1,260 minutes. She ranked 10th in the league with 76 clearances. Sauerbrunn had an impressive duel rate of 71.2% and a pass rate of 87.6%. She scored one goal on three shots in 2019.
D: Casey Short, Chicago Red Stars
Chicago Red Stars defender Casey Short ranked 16th in the league with 2,055 minutes played in 2019. She appeared in 23 games for the Red Stars and scored two goals on 10 shots. Short tallied three assists in 2019 and had a total of 43 clearances. She recorded 26 interceptions and had a dual rate of 52.7%.
M: Julie Ertz, Chicago Red Stars
The Chicago Red Stars midfielder played a total of 14 games and 1,260 minutes in 2019. She had a total of 51 clearances and 13 interceptions. Ertz tackle rate was 64% while her duels rate was 57.6%. She recorded a 72.7% pass rate average with a total of 713 passes.
M: Lindsey Horan, Portland Thorns FC
In 13 games, Horan played a total of 1,147 minutes. Horan ranked third in the league with 77 aerial duels won. Horan’s average pass rate was 75.7% with a total of 750 passes. She scored one goal on 18 shots, won 21 fouls and had 19 key passes in 2019.
M: Rose Lavelle, Washington Spirit
The Washington Spirit midfielder was named the Best IX while playing in just six games in 2019 and a total of 450 minutes. Her pass rate was a 74.6%, with long passes being a 58.8% rate. Lavelle scored one goal on six shots this season. She earned a 60% tackle rate, a 52.2% duels rate, and 50% aerial rate.
F: Tobin Heath, Portland Thorns FC
The Portland Thorns FC attacker played a total of 13 games. She recorded 1,093 minutes and held a pass rate of 75.4%. Heath had a total of 16 shots on target with three goals scored. She won 26 fouls and had a total of 38 key passes.
F: Sam Kerr, Chicago Red Stars
In 21 matches, Kerr scored 18 goals (the most any NWSL player has scored in a single season and breaking her own record). She played 1,862 minutes and had a total of 53 shots on target, the highest in the league. The Australian international averaged a goal every 102.7. Kerr also assisted on five goals. Her tackle rate was 92.3%, one of the highest from any attacker in the league.
F: Christen Press, Utah Royals FC
Utah Royals FC attacker Christen Press played 1,255 minutes in 14 games. She had a total of 26 shots on target and scored 8 goals. Press had two assists in 2019 and a 72.7% pass rate. She had a 54.2% long pass rate and a 58.3% tackle rate.