Quotes & Notes | Portland Thorns 1, Western New York Flash 1 - July 14, 2013

Karina LeBlanc’s 0.86 goals-against average ranks first in the NWSL

Portland Thorns FC vs. Western New York Quotes
July 14, 2013

Portland Thorns FC Quotes

Thorns FC head coach Cindy Parlow Cone
On the result and Portland’s offensive chances:
"It's tough when you create so many quality chances and you're unable to get the go-ahead goal, but I thought we had a lot of good chances and we got people in very good positions and I thought the quality of our chances were very good tonight."

On the addition of midfielder Tobin Heath and her contribution in her first match:
"Tobin's great. She helped us so much today. She's a world-class player — she can play anywhere in that midfield and you can see as she moves around that she knows how to find the spaces. She's one of the most tactical players and also one of the most technical players and creative players playing the game today."

On the team’s lack of goal scoring in recent games:
"I mean obviously the hardest thing to do in this game is to score goals. We're creating great chances, we're having great mobility off the ball and just creating quality chances, but we’re just unable right now to put them away for whatever reason whether we're hitting it wide, we're hitting it high, or the goalkeeper is making a great save. Whatever the reason, it's not going in for us right now and we just have to keep working on it and can't get frustrated because we're doing things right."

On playing Tobin Heath as a free-flowing midfielder on both wings during the match:
"Tobin has great mobility and I love the mobility within our midfield because all of our midfielders are comfortable playing any one of the spots. She creates such great mobility, she's got such a great fitness base that wherever she is moving, we have other players that will fill in the other positions. And then in the second half we moved her to more of the attacking center midfield spot to keep her more central."

On handling Western New York forward Abby Wambach:
“I thought they did a good job. Abby is a world class player, a world class forward, and she can score in so many different ways and we've seen that in this league, we've seen that with her on the national team. She's just a fantastic player and I thought our defense did a pretty good job for most of the night."

Thorns FC midfielder Meleana Shim
On her game-tying goal:
"We had some good ball movement, made a couple of great passes — combination plays and Sinc [Christine Sinclair] got to the end line and played a great ball back to me and when you get a ball that great, it's an easy finish."

On the addition of Tobin Heath to Thorns FC:
"She makes a huge difference. She's very dynamic, keeps the ball well and is a very skillful player. She is just a great player and really fun to play with."

On the offense starting to click more during Sunday’s match:
"I think that carried over from training this week. We worked on midfield ball movement and I think you could see that today. I think we also played well in that last half of the Boston game and we've been doing well since then as far as keeping the ball better and moving it well."

On goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc’s penalty-kick save:
"It always lifts the team especially when you have a personality like KK [Karina LeBlanc]. She has energy no matter what's going on in the game. It was a huge save and it's the difference in coming out with a loss or a tie."

On the saves made by Western New York goalkeeper Adrianna Franch:
"We all know she's a great goalkeeper — she's very athletic. Anything within her reach she's going to get to and she's got great reflexes. I think every goalkeeper at this level is top notch."

On not getting the desired results as a team during a four-game stretch:
"We haven't been getting the results that we're looking for, but we are playing much better soccer and I think that our fans can see that, our team can see that, our coaches can see that. So, I think that that's what we're really focusing on and obviously putting those opportunities away — we had a lot today — putting those away so we can walk out with a win next week."

Thorns FC midfielder Tobin Heath
Overall thoughts on the match:
"I don't like to lose or tie, so that kind of was a bummer, but I think we did some good things out there — we created a lot of chances. Obviously, 1-1 kind of stinks, but I think we can take away some positives from the game."

On the fluidity in the midfield and getting to know her teammates’ tendencies:
"I think that's exactly it — we're trying to gel, trying to figure out a way to have a dynamic attack, and a dynamic midfield that can link up with the talents of Christine Sinclair and Alex Morgan. I think once we get that clicking we'll be pretty darn good."

On the level of play in the NWSL:
"I think the level is pretty good. It's very physical, very athletic, very fast-paced, a very transitional-type game. I think you saw that today especially with the heat — it gets pretty stretched out. I think the style of play is very transitional, I would say."

On her personal performance against Western New York:
“I was shocked that I was able to go 90 minutes, for sure. I know that we were really pushing for that second goal. A couple really good balls that Sinc played me in that I need to do better with, to finish. I thought A.D. [Adrianna Franch] had a fantastic game. So I gotta give it to her. Then a couple of final passes that I could do better with or that could have had a better end result. So I think we just let a few slip away from us that we're going to want to get back."

On the crowd at JELD-WEN Field:
"The crowd is awesome. Ever since I got to Portland, you could just feel the support here, it's just tremendous — the city, the people, it's just great. To hear them and have their support the whole entire game, especially when we needed it most, with that huge KK penalty kick save and the crowd just reacting to that was a pretty special moment."

On what Cindy Parlow Cone wanted her to do in the match:
"She gives me a lot of freedom. I think she knows I'm the type of player that needs a little room to kind of be creative and to make something happen. The midfielders that are playing around me are very good with the ball, so I think it's just a matter of getting that confidence and belief in one another in the midfield to play because we really can play. So once we get that sorted out and then link up obviously with the forwards, it's gonna be really, really good.”

On the artificial surface and her touch:
"This surface is fantastic. I think it's the best turf in the world because it does play pretty true. I think you can get some pretty good spin on the ball, play some pretty nice final passes without it running out of bounds — a lot of things stay in play for a long time which helps. So, I think this surface is as good as it gets for artificial."

Thorns FC goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc
On saving Abby Wambach’s penalty kick:
"You know, Abby took a PK last game and I've gone up against Abby a couple times over the years and I just try to read her and I was thinking at first she was going to go one way, but then she kind of opened up so, I guess I got lucky. It's just one of those things, I mean she's a phenomenal player. She's taken PKs on both sides, so it's one of those things where you just try to read it and hope you're right and I was fortunate to be right this time. She hits a good PK, so you just have to try and get there and I got just enough of it.”

Notes:

  • Midfielder Tobin Heath made her NWSL and Thorns FC debut on Sunday, starting and playing 90 minutes.
     
  • Thorns FC registered 20 shots for the second straight match, matching the season-high mark set on July 6 in a 2-0 loss against Boston.
     
  • Portland’s 10 shots on goal also matched a season high.
     
  • Forward Alex Morgan set a season high with 10 shots. Morgan has tallied back-to-back, season-high marks in shots after setting the previous season-high of eight shots against Boston on July 6.
     
  • Goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc has saved consecutive penalty kicks (June 16 vs. Seattle; July 14 vs. Western New York). LeBlanc leads the NWSL with two penalty-kick saves.
     
  • LeBlanc’s 0.86 goals-against average ranks first in the NWSL.
     
  • The goalkeeper has made five or more saves in three of the last four games for Portland.
     
  • Portland’s opponents have been awarded four penalty kicks this year, tied for most in the league with FC Kansas City and Seattle Reign FC.
     
  • Thorns FC snapped a 332-minute scoreless streak with the game-tying goal in the 38th minute.
     
  • Sunday’s draw marked the first home draw for Thorns FC during the inaugural NWSL season.
     
  • Thorns FC earned its second come-from-behind draw this season. The team’s first point after conceding the opening goal since a 1-1 draw on April 13 against FC Kansas City.
     
  • Sunday’s crowd of 13,021 ranks as the third-largest crowd at JELD-WEN Field in 2013.