Portland Thorns FC Quotes
Thorns FC head coach Paul Riley
On the match:
“We’re 10 points behind. A lot of work to do. I was happy with the performance. I thought it was probably our best performance of the season. One mistake, it was a big mistake obviously. A big mistake to Seattle’s probably best player on the day. Unfortunately, you make a mistake late in the game, you pay the price. We talk about being brave all season. I give Rebecca [Moros] a lot of credit, she had a great game. Credit to the players, I thought they were brilliant. Their work rate, I thought we created some great chances in the second half for Christine [Sinclair] and for Jessica [McDonald]. Probably could have gotten on the board before we gave up the goal, but we were searching for the goal. We were pushing forward. I thought we were good tonight. We kept Sydney [Leroux] very quiet. Emily Menges did a fantastic job in the back on Leroux and Leroux jumped onto the left wing second half to see if she could get something out of Courtney [Niemiec] and she didn’t get anything on that side either, so I was pleased with the back line, too. Just one slip, unfortunately. I don’t think there was much between the two teams. I think we played the better football. [Seattle] played a lot of long ball tonight. Kendall Fletcher hit a lot of balls in behind us and obviously tested the speed of our back line. We have a lot of speed in our back line. But [Seattle] are good. They’re top of the league for a reason. They score goals and you give them half a chance, they score. Kim [Little] got half a chance and it was battle of the goalkeepers, I think, before that point. Hope [Solo] made some great saves, she got the better of Sinc tonight, I’m sure that’s an ongoing saga, but I was happy with the overall display.”
On Portland’s defensive performance:
“You watch Emily Menges. I don’t think she put a foot wrong the entire game. Nikki Marshall got called up to the [U.S] national team. I would think Emily Menges, based on the way she’s played so far, has to be getting a look at the national team, too. She’s so athletic, she’s intelligent, she comes out playing all the time, she can win balls in the air; she reads the game really well. When you’ve got a top player like Sydney [Leroux] playing against you first half and she decides second half she’s not going to have anything to do with you and goes over to the left wing. I thought that helped us a lot, [Leroux] going over to the left wing and out of the way in the middle. I thought [Menges] did a good job with that. Then Courtney [Niemiec]. I thought first half she was very good. She got us forward a lot. I think [Leroux] put a little more pressure on her second half, so [Niemiec] didn’t want to go forward as much. I thought the two of them were terrific and Kat [Tarr] made her debut [as a starter] today. She ran out of steam with about 20 minites left. You could see, I think, her legs had gone. But she had a good game and as she gets fitter, you know she only had a baby in November. …She had a great game. Nikki Marshall coming back off a [call-up to the U.S. Women’s National Team] Thursday. She did a great job too with all the playing and all the travel. So I was really happy with the back four. Amber Brooks probably had her best game of the season. She did a good job on Kim Little. We made one big mistake and unfortunately it was on Kim Little.”
On the chances in the second half:
“I think the first half of any game is a bit more like a chess match. I don’t think either team played that great in the first half. I thought we were okay in the first half. I thought [Seattle] was okay in the first half. Then second half, we got into a much better rhythm. We found Sinclair in some good areas second half. She had a couple of really glorious chances. But I think the main thing, for me, is that she is taking the shots and she’s in those areas because up until now, she hasn’t really been in those areas. She’s been providing the pass to Jessica [McDonald], more so than anybody and to Allie [Long]. I think having her in the box, it’s only a matter of time before she scores. It was a great header that Kat [Tarr] header [Solo] pushed over and Sinclair had another header and a couple of other chances. I was happy with Sinclair again. She got in great areas. [McDonald] caused problems again. She’s not going to score every week and we had kind of been relying on Allie and Jess for goals. …Angie Kerr had her best game of the season. Rebecca Moros came in, in a different position for her and had a really good game. We played a different formation tonight and I was really happy with the team overall.”
On continuing to create scoring chances:
“We’ve got Tobin [Heath], [Alex] Morgan, Verónica [Boquete], and [Stephanie] Catley to come in and obviously Sinead [Farrelly] was missing tonight with an injury. So we have a lot of players that were out tonight, but I think as long as you’re providing chances and you’re making chances, the goals will come. I think Sinclair just needs a goal. McDonald has played well again. I thought she penetrated well, especially second half. But you want goals at home. You want to try and play as well as you can at home and get goals. I think the quality of football was good, but the end result is you need goals and we didn’t get it done tonight in front of net. But again, I thought the performance, you can’t take anything away from the performance.”
On the short turnaround for the next match:
“Tough turnaround, especially going to Houston. It’s tough coming from the West Coast. Lot of East Coast teams in the league. Houston’s not an easy trip either. They’re going through a rough time, so I think having a team coming in after a derby match against Seattle, I think they’re going to be right for us. I think they play tomorrow, so they haven’t got as much rest as we will. Some of the other players are going to have to step up. I just hope we can get Allie ready, get Sinead ready. It’s just a matter of time before we get Morgan back and Rachel back. Hopefully, by the end of the month we’ll have everybody in and we’ll be fully loaded.”
Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair
On the chances created by Portland:
“I thought that was actually one of the better performances we’ve had all season. We created a lot of chances. Hope [Solo] came up with some big saves, but we made it easy for her at times as well. They cleared one off the line and then to give up a goal late, the way we did, is really tough.”
On building confidence ahead of the next match:
“Soccer’s a cruel sport. Sometimes, throughout the course of the season, we haven’t necessarily played our best, but won some games. Today, I thought we played pretty well and ended up losing. We’ll be upset tonight and we’ll move on with such a quick turnaround before our next game. We’ll get over it fast.”
On Portland’s defense:
“They’ve been tremendous. Right before the season, losing Rachel [Van Hollebeke], you knew it was going to hurt us. But you think of Emily [Menges] and Courtney [Niemeic], they have stepped in and just done a tremendous job. I don’t think any team in the league has a faster back line than we have. I have yet to see anyone out-run anyone in our back line. They’ve been remarkable. And obviously with Nadine [Angerer], we’re not going to give up too many goals.”
Thorns FC goalkeeper Nadine Angerer
On the team’s performance:
“We had some problems in the first half, but I think we played much better the second half. The only thing was that we didn’t use our chances. We didn’t score, that’s the only thing we have to improve.”
On the improved performance in the second half:
“I think in the first half we had too much space between the defense, the midfield and the offense and then it’s hard. The second half, we were much closer as a team and then it was easier to create chances for us.”
On Portland’s defensive performances this season:
“I think we [have conceded] four goals in five games. It was one penalty kick and one free kick. So I think it’s okay. I think we have a very young defense and I think they are doing really, really well. Emily [Menges] and Courtney [Niemiec], they’re so fantastic. Nikki [Marshall] and, today, Kat Tarr, do very well together.”
On the quick turnaround before the next game:
“I think it’s very good that we have a game in four days in Houston. We have no time to think about losing today. We lost today, that’s true, but we didn’t lose anything. We lost three points, but we didn’t lose a championship or a final or something. We know what we have to work on, what we have to improve. The worst thing we could do now is to get depressed or something. We lost today and this is not good, but still we are looking forward and we are very positive. I’m very positive about our team.”
· Thorns FC tied a season-high mark with 18 shot attempts against Reign FC. Portland also registered 18 shots in a 1-1 draw at Sky Blue FC on April 19.
· Portland’s nine shots on goal was one shy of tying the team’s season-high mark of 10 set in a 3-1 win over FC Kansas City on April 26.
· Saturday’s loss was Portland’s first since Aug. 7, 2013, a span of 277 days.
· Portland held Seattle to a season-low five shots on goal Saturday, while forcing Reign FC goalkeeper Hope Solo into a season-high nine saves.
· Midfielder Allie Long and defender Nikki Marshall each started their 27th consecutive regular-season match for Thorns FC.
· Defender Kat Tarr made her first career NWSL start, playing 86 minutes for Thorns FC on Saturday and sending a shot on goal in the fourth minute.
· Saturday’s match was the first of three regular-season meetings between Portland and Seattle, and the first of two to be played at Providence Park. Portland visits Seattle on July 27 and plays host to Reign FC in the regular-season finale on Aug. 17.
· With the result, Portland’s all-time record against Seattle is 4-1-0.