Crystal Dunn, Nadine Angerer departures kick off uncertain and high-stakes Thorns offseason
Both figures shared their appreciation for the Rose City as they bid farewell.
The first dominoes of what will be a pivotal Portland Thorns offseason have fallen, and they are the departure of a player and coach who both have had key roles in winning trophies.
Crystal Dunn is departing the Portland Thorns, the team shared on social media Thursday afternoon. Dunn herself announced her departure a few hours prior via instagram. In the post, Dunn thanked the Thorns fans for their steadfast support and her teammates for the three years they played together, with a special shoutout for the role her fellow Thorns players played in supporting her through the birth and early years of her son Marcel.
In addition, on Friday morning it was announced that goalkeeper coach and former player Nadine Angerer is also departing the club after 10 years with the team as a player and then a coach. Angerer was goalkeeper for the Thorns in the 2014 and 2015 NWSL seasons, before retiring from playing and joining the Thorns coaching staff as goalkeeper coach from 2015 to 2023.
In her farewell post on social media, Angerer went out of her way to express her appreciation and admiration for the Thorns fans and Soccer City, USA.
Both departures are huge blows to the Thorns, as both figures have had an immeasurable impact on Portland’s success these past few years.
Dunn, who is set to become an NWSL free agent, played an integral role in Portland winning their third NWSL championship last year. Her stoppage-time goal in the semifinal against San Diego not only bagged Portland the victory to the send them to NWSL Championship Game — which they would go on to win — but also punctuated what had been an incredible return to the field just months after giving birth.
Her goal will go down as one of the all-time greatest moments in Providence Park history, and will live on in Thorns lore forever.
Additionally, Dunn’s attacking prowess on the field shined for Portland in the first half of the 2023 season. Portland’s attack was at that point an unstoppable juggernaut, no doubt in thanks to the USWNT legend’s influence in her preferred attacking midfielder role.
Angerer’s impact was less acute, but arguably more impactful in the long-run.
The former German women’s national team goalkeeping legend established herself as a top-class goalkeeping coach with Portland, turning the Thorns into a ‘keeper development factory. Multiple goalkeepers, multiple of whom were draft picks, developed into some of the best ‘keepers in the league under Angerer’s tutelage.
The list includes NWSL championship winners, such as AD Franch and Bella Bixby, and promising up and comers such as Shelby Hogan. Goalkeeping was consistently one of Portland’s advantages in games, and much of that was in thanks to Angerer’s nearly decade-long influence on the coaching staff.
Those two key figures for the Thorns are now gone, and Portland’s potentially era-defining offseason kicks off with them with crucial and urgent decisions to be made — underpinned by the existential change of the looming sale of the team.