Two Thorns midfielders move to Houston Dash

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

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Portland Thorns FC lost two popular midfielders to the Houston Dash on Friday in the National Women’s Soccer League expansion draft.

Meleana Shim and Becky Edwards were among the 10 players the Dash selected from the eight existing NWSL clubs.

Shim, 22, had five goals and two assists, and emerged as a significant contributor as an attacking midfielder. She played 19 games, starting 17, in her first professional season.

Edwards, 25, started the Thorns first 10 games in a defensive midfield role last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury in training. She was named the Thorns Community Player of the Year last season.

The defending NWSL champions, the Thorns were allowed to protect nine players from the expansion draft. The Dash did not take U.S. women’s national team defender Rachel Buehler from Portland.

On Twitter Friday, Thorns owner Merritt Paulson indicated that it is possible Shim or Edwards could return to Portland. His tweet: “And just cause you lose a player in an expansion draft, doesn't mean they cannot suit up for you again.”

Paulson also tweeted that next week will be a busy news week for both the Timbers and Thorns as they gear up for their 2014 seasons. The NWSL is scheduled to begin play in April. The Timbers play their first MLS preseason match on Feb. 1.