This weekend, Crystal Dunn will come up against some old teammates, as the Portland Thorns take on the North Carolina Courage. This will be Dunn’s last game in the National Women’s Soccer League for a while, as she is set to depart for Tokyo with the rest of the U.S. National Team for this summer’s Olympics. In her absence, Portland might experience a little bit of what the Courage are going through now.
Dunn was a key component in North Carolina’s success in the last half decade. Playing alongside Debinha as one of the two most advanced points in their renowned midfield box, Dunn created and scored goals aplenty. She also did subtler things that improved the team’s attacking fluency. The Courage still have creativity and goals, but they undoubtedly miss Dunn’s ability to knit attacks together.
The typical playmaker catches the eye with their vision, variety and range of passing. Dunn has all of these things, but her most important trait is arguably what she does off the ball. Her movement is among the best in the NWSL, and Portland has benefited greatly from it since she arrived.