FourFourTwo USA's 50 Best American Women's Players of 2017: No. 6, Lindsey Horan
Despite breaking into the U.S. women’s national team at the age of 18 after years as a standout forward with the youth program, it wasn’t until Lindsey Horan moved into the midfield in 2016 that she started to push her way into the top echelon of American players.
After first debuting with the U.S. in 2013, the Colorado native only managed to earn six caps over the next three years. In 2016, however, she played in 24 of the team’s 25 matches, highlighted by four appearances for the U.S. in the Rio Olympics.
Sometimes it can be difficult to measure the subtle, artful contributions of a center midfielder. But Horan’s are there, plain to see for those who know where to look. She’s comfortable with her back to pressure and in tight spaces, while still displaying more traditional American traits with her strength in the air and in challenges. Technically adroit and with a tactical awareness that belies her age, Horan’s years as a striker have given her a knack for scoring when given the opportunity.
Last year, Horan helped lead the Portland Thorns to the NWSL Shield, though they came up short in the playoffs. Motivated by that loss, she continued to shine in 2017, scoring the game-winning goal in the NWSL Championship and winning the match’s Most Valuable Player award.
For the U.S., Horan continued to cement herself among the team’s best, despite a brief, and odd, move by the coaching staff to push her back into the front line. Horan was back in the midfield by the end of the summer, picking up 13 caps in 2017 and starting the last three matches of the year. That is when the U.S. midfield looked its best.