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Thursday Roundup: Portland Thorns Announce Preseason Tournament

The Thorns won the NWSL Shield in 2016, but Mark Parsons believes the best is yet to come. (Photo Courtesy Portland Thorns FC)

ALSO IN THIS ROUNDUP, REIGN RE-SIGN DALLSTREAM, CANADA ANNOUNCES ROSTER AND USWNT SPEAKS TO MEDIA

The Portland Thorns clinched the 2016 NWSL Shield with a 3-1 over Sky Blue. (Photo Courtesy Portland Thorns FC)

The Portland Thorns clinched the 2016 NWSL Shield with a 3-1 over Sky Blue. (Photo Courtesy Portland Thorns FC)

PORTLAND TO HOST PRESEASON TOURNAMENT

Following last year’s positive reception, the Portland Thorns will once again host a preseason tournament. The Thorns Spring Invitational will take place on their home grounds at Providence Park from March 26 to April 1. The Houston Dash, who participated last year, will make a return alongside first-timers Chicago Red Stars and the U-23 USWNT, who recently wrapped up their first camp of the year alongside the senior team.

The tournament will consist of a round-robin format with doubleheaders taking place across three days. Tickets for the entire tournament are included with Thorns season memberships, while individual tickets will go on sale February 21.

The Dash also announced their preseason schedule today. They will host Baylor University at Houston Sports Park on March 18, head to Portland for the invitation on March 26 and wrap up on April 6 at Texas A&M University. Preseason begins on March 13.

REIGN RE-SIGN KIERSTEN DALLSTREAM

The Seattle Reign announced they have re-signed forward Kiersten Dallstream for the 2017 season. The Washington State product has been with the club since the formation of the NWSL in 2013. She added 12 appearances for the Reign in 2016, bringing her career total to 55.

“Kiersten is obviously someone that’s been part of the squad since day one,” said Reign coach Laura Harvey. “She has developed her game over the last 18 months, and physically has gotten in a lot better shape than she was before. I think last year she proved she can come in and have a real impact in games.”

Janine Beckie celebrates scoring a last-minute winner for Canada against Brazil on Tuesday in Ottawa. (Photo: Canada Soccer)

Janine Beckie celebrates scoring a last-minute winner for Canada against Brazil on Tuesday in Ottawa. (Photo: Canada Soccer)

CANADA ANNOUNCES TRAINING CAMP ROSTER

Head Coach John Herdman released his roster today for the CanWNT’s first training camp of 2017, beginning tomorrow in Los Angeles. The roster includes many familiar NWSL faces as well as recent draftees. Josee Belanger will join camp on January 30. Sophie Schmidt and Rebecca Quinn were left off due to injury, while Kadeisha Buchanan and Ashley Lawrence are discussing both the camp and the upcoming game with their respective French clubs. Jessie Fleming, enrolled in classes at UCLA, was also left off the roster but may attend some sessions with the team.

Canada will host Mexico in Vancouver on February 4 to celebrate their bronze medal from the Rio Olympics. The match will also honor recently-announced retirees Melissa Tancredi, Rhian Wilkinson and Marie-Eve Nault.

Goalkeepers: Sabrina D’Angelo (North Carolina Courage); Stephanie Labbé (Washington Spirit); Kailen Sheridan (Sky Blue FC)

Defenders: Ashley Cathro (Vancouver Whitecaps FC); Allysha Chapman (Boston Breakers); Amandine Pierre-Louis (West Virginia University); Hannah Taylor (Eastside FC); Shelina Zadorsky (Washington Spirit)

Midfielders: Diana Matheson (Washington Spirit); Deanne Rose (Scarborough GS United); Desiree Scott (FC Kansas City); Sarah Stratigakis (Aurora United FC)

Forwards: Lindsay Agnew (Washington Spirit); Janine Beckie (Houston Dash); Gabrielle Carle (Dynamo Québec & Québec Soccer REX); Jordyn Huitema (Vancouver Whitecaps); Adriana Leon (FC Zürich); Alex Lamontagne (Durham United FC); Marie Levasseur (University of Memphis); Nichelle Prince (Houston Dash); Valérie Sanderson (Comètes de Laval); Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns FC)

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

ELLIS, LLOYD, MORGAN, LONG SPEAK TO MEDIA

USWNT coach Jill Ellis and players Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan and Allie Long spoke to members of the media today about evolving tactics, their roles, team changes and new faces.

Ellis on midfielder and No.1 draft pick Rose Lavelle:

“We waited a long time to get Rose in, and I think she’s done very well … She’s a very skillful player, operates in between seams and spaces, and she’s done well. I’m pleased with her.”

On playing a three-back formation:

“We’ve played out of a back three, we’ve built out of a back three for almost a year. Now we’re playing it more defensively as well. I like it. Like I said, it gives us numerical superiority somewhere else on the field, whether it’s in the midfield or up high.”

Lloyd on the changing face of the team:

“We lost some legendary pieces to this team, pieces that will never be replaced. That’s just how it is. We’ve also gained some different blood, some new, energized players. Players who maybe haven’t been in the mix, who are really just kind of fighting for positions. We do have, obviously, some veteran players still around. Ultimately, I think we are a different team, but I think that the game in general, women’s soccer, is different as well.”

Long on her new role at centerback:

“I love having a high percentage of possession, so just making sure my possession is good, [that I’m] good on tackles, and just continuing one step at a time, every time I play and step on the field.”

Morgan on training in France:

“For me, it’s good to challenge myself to come back for the ball, find those pockets in front of the back line, and maybe if they don’t follow me, turn and run at the defenders. Making those decisions, as well as more playing a No. 10 in those situations, playing the ball through to my other No. 9 or whatever it might be.”

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