NWSL POST-GAME QUOTES
Portland Thorns FC vs. Sky Blue FC
June 25, 2014 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Final: Thorns FC 1, Sky Blue FC 2
Portland Thorns FC Quotes
Portland Thorns FC head coach Paul Riley
On how the match compared to the last meeting with Sky Blue FC:
“It was almost a replica game. I would think the shots are probably exactly what they were last time. That’s probably pretty close. I don’t have the exact stats. It’s just frustrating. We worked on set pieces. We talked about their free kicks. We talked about them starting in an offside position and then coming back and running. We just didn’t follow, we didn’t track. That’s something we have to work on. You pay the price. We had great momentum at that point, 1-1. I thought we’d just go on and create more chances and hopefully win the game. Then you give that away and it just took the stuffing out of us. It was disappointing.”
On Portland’s lack of finishing:
“They have to make the goal bigger or something, I think, for us. I think the goals are smaller at home. They’ve got to be smaller at home. We work on finishing every day. Finishing in front of 15,000 is different than finishing in practice. We lacked a little composure in the penalty box. We had four or five clear-cut chances in the last 10 minutes for us to get back in the game. Just didn’t get it done. Hitting balls to hard, swinging at them like we’re trying to knock them out of the stadium instead of just placing them. Just have to get back to the training field and work on more finishing until we’re fed up with finishing. And give the goalie credit. In all fairness, give their goalie credit, too. She made six or seven very good saves. Jill Loyden was their goalie last time. They switched goalkeepers and they both had their best games of the season here. She did well. Her handling was perfect in these conditions, which isn’t easy. I thought her handling was very good.”
On the team’s effort:
“In all fairness, you can’t argue with the effort. The effort was unbelievable. I thought Nikki Marshall was brilliant tonight in the back. Sinead [Farrelly] had a good game in the midfield before we took her out, trying to chase the game. Jess McDonald made a difference when she came in. It’s hard to fault them, with the work rate. Veró [Boquete] was tremendous. She brings that little extra flair. She must have beaten Sophie [Schmidt] five, six, seven times. Laid nice balls in. We took advantage of one of them but probably should have taken advantage of a few more.”
On Portland’s sharpness in passing:
“One thing is the finishing, but the other side, if I look at the display from last week, we just connected everything. In the second half, we just connected everything. We just didn’t connect as well as I would have liked. It’s hard to understand why because there wasn’t much difference. Amber [Brooks] was the only real change. We made a change at left back, but in the midfield really the only change was Amber not being there. All the regular players were there: Allie [Long], Sinead, Veró. We changed formation with 10 minutes to go in the first half to go into a diamond because we felt we needed to get Veró more space. I think second half she got a little more space and she created stuff, but we couldn’t find any space. We have a tendency, I don’t know what it was in the first half, but we all drift towards the ball. Everyone wants the ball in the first half. In the second half, we seemed to get better positionally, better spaced out and do a better job getting into areas where we could do some damage. They didn’t do that in the first half. We were all on top of each other and just out of sync. The first goal, it was a cracking goal, let’s be fair. But the giveaway in midfield. Allie pondering on the ball. She’s got to get it out of her feet. Unfortunately, those things happen in the game. Allie trains, 100 times she’ll do that and 99 times she’ll get a ball, collect the ball and play it. Unfortunately, the one time she wouldn’t.”
On working the point of attack to Boquete:
“In the second half, we did. When we played in the diamond, we got Veró the ball a lot more and she’s the one doing all the damage at the moment. First half we just didn’t find her. They all want to get the ball, but there’s only one ball. The biggest thing you have to do is learn to share the ball. Last weekend we did it, the game before we did it. It’s almost like at home, they all want to take responsibility and try and do the magical thing. You’ve got a wizard. Let the wizard play and the rest of the warriors dig in and get the job done. Again, I go back to that I don’t think there were any bad performances in the group. It’s just not getting much luck in the final third, I have to be perfectly honest with you. You need a little bit of luck to win games.”
On making Providence Park a fortress:
“It’s frustrating. We’re getting enough shots. We’re just not taking care of it and we’re giving up soft goals. They really didn’t create that many chances. We gave them the first goal and the second goal came off a set-piece. It’s frustrating. Just pure frustration and the players are frustrated, too. There’s nobody that works harder. No team in the league works harder on the training field. You want the just rewards for them when they get on the field. You want it for the fans. It’s so frustrating. We talked about it all week again. We put on a really good performance in Washington. We come home and we’re on a roll. Everyone is scoring goals. Allie’s scoring, Sinc’s scoring, Alex is scoring, Veró’s scoring. We feel so confident coming into the game and then we don’t score at home. I feel like there’s something around this goal at [the north end] anyway. We just can’t get a goal at this end. Just have to keep at it.”
On dealing with the loss and a quick turnaround:
“As soon as I walk out of here, I’ll be ready for the next game. We’ll break down Kansas City immediately. We’ll have a look at our tape immediately tonight. We’re on an early flight, 5 o’clock tomorrow. We don’t have time to dwell on it. We have to move on and get some points. We set ourselves seven out of nine points and we’ve got three. So we’ve got to get three more at least to get close to it. Otherwise if we lose to Kansas we’re in big trouble to get into the playoffs or getting into the home spots at least.”
On if playing against on Saturday is a positive:
“To be honest with you, I think if you ask any of the players now, they just want to get on the plane, get down there, get ourselves sorted out, get in the hotel and get ready to play. The thing is you keep thinking when you’re Kansas, just like we’ve been thinking too, this team is on short rest. They played on Sunday. They’re coming East Coast to West Coast. They’ve got to be tired, but just doesn’t happen. People come into this environment and everybody’s pumped up, ready to play. We’ve got to be the same way going into Kansas. Get pumped up. We’ve got 48 hours to turn it around. We’ll freshen some of the lineup and go from there. Hopefully have a performance like we did in Washington, getting a couple of early goals. The first goal seems to be the most critical thing for us. Once we get the first goal, we’re 6-0. Every time we don’t get the first goal, we struggle to win the game. I think if we can get the first goal in Kansas and force them to come out a little bit will be a big help for us.”
Portland Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair
On the team’s inconsistent results:
“Pretty frustrating, especially at home, but I actually thought we played pretty well tonight. We gave up two pretty bad goals. The first one, a sloppy give-away and the second one, just horrendous man-marking off a set piece. Just frustrating.”
On the team’s problems with finishing in front of goal:
“I think we have consistently, for most of the season, created a lot of scoring chances, but for one reason or another they’re not finding the back of the net. I thought [Sky Blue FC goalkeeper] Brittany Cameron played tremendously well tonight, and made it difficult for us, and then we just mishit some that should have been goals.”
On how the team plans on incorporating midfielder Verónica Boquete more into the attack:
“She’s one of those special players in the midfield who can just create things out of nothing. We need to find her more. I felt sometimes tonight we were whipping crosses in when maybe we could have combined with her a little bit more. She’s so dangerous off the dribble or with a pass. I think we could use her a bit more.”
On whether the team’s quick turnaround will help them in their game against FC Kansas City on Saturday:
“I think so. We’ll try to get a good start, especially with the schedule we’ve played — it’ll be our third game with a lot of travel — we need to start well because I’m sure we’ll get tired by the end of the game.”
Portland Thorns FC defender Rachel Van Hollebeke
On how frustrated the team is with its inconsistent play the last two games:
“It’s definitely interesting to go from the win we had last week to a game like this. I think, though, it was an interesting game because we did have a lot of the ball and a lot of the chances. It was one of those weird games where sometimes things just don’t quite work out and they put away their opportunities.”
On whether the team’s quick turnaround for their game against FC Kansas City on Saturday will help them get past the loss:
“Yeah, I think we’ve got a bunch of games coming up right in a row, and that’s a positive way to look at it, for sure, kind of move on to the next game, and focus on our next opponent in Kansas City. They’re a great team, and that’s all we can do is just really prepare for each game and take each of these games very seriously because they’re important right now for us.”
On the team’s struggles at home so far this season:
“That’s always interesting. We kind of did that a little last year as well, but I do think when teams come to play here they’re always on their ‘A’ game because they’re excited to play in this amazing environment, too. That could have something to do with it. It’s hard to say exactly, but every game is important. I’m glad we’re getting some wins on the road, and we’ll try to get some wins at home, too.”
Defender Nikki Marshall made her 35th consecutive regular-season start for Thorns FC on Wednesday night.
Thorns FC defender Rachel Van Hollebeke made her first start of the 2014 season.
Portland registered double-digit shot attempts for the ninth consecutive game. Thorns FC have outshot their opponent in three consecutive matches earning a 60-27 advantage in shot attempts.
Forward Christine Sinclair scored in back-to-back games for the first time since May 19-25, 2013, against Washington and Seattle, respectively.
Portland has recorded 16 or more shots in all seven of its games at Providence Park this season.
- Midfielder Verónica Boquete tallied an assist for the second consecutive game. Boquete is the second player this season and the fourth in club history to tally an assist in consecutive games. Angie Kerr registered consecutive assists this season May 14-21 in back-to-back matches against Houston and Western New York. Forward Alex Morgan and midfielder Tobin Heath tallied assists in consecutive games during the 2013 season.