Mark Parsons, Thorns vs. Breakers, 9.4.16
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Quotes & Notes | Portland Thorns FC 5, Boston Breakers 1 | Sept. 4, 2016

Portland Thorns FC Quotes

Portland Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons
On the differences between the team’s performance against Boston versus Seattle a week ago…
“I think the result and the goals scored, which were good, and the fact that we had a lot of bodies wanting to get into the box and make runs that take a lot of energy – that was really positive. I think the difference is Boston had a very brutal schedule coming in. They played the weekend, and they play Wednesday and then they have to fly west. You could tell after 50-55 minutes, it was a bit of a different game. I know we have to be in a position to take advantage of that, and I think we did that. We moved forward a couple of steps. I know that the result and the score line is very different to last week, but we didn’t jump five paces. I think we took one or two paces forward today, and it’s important now that everyone takes care of their body and we recover. We get organized against a really hot and powerful team, and then the aim is to take another step forward. I know the score lines are different, the results are different, but I think this is just us moving forward. And we’ve got to continue to do that because we are – it was a great result tonight, but we can be a lot better and I know that we can get there.”

On the return of forward Christine Sinclair and her impact on the game…
“I think it was quite clear that first 15-20 minutes wasn’t the best from us and we were kind of chugging along there and trying to get going, trying to get the engine going, and what Sinc does is if there are issues out there, even from a forward position, she gets in and talks to people and helps make the game simpler and easier. And I think you could see that happening. At halftime, I asked her for her thoughts and she gave us a couple of key things that we didn’t see because we’re not on the pitch. There were things that we saw that she didn’t see. Her knowledge of the game and experience helps solve problems. We’re a team where other teams will always come and try to stop us from doing what we like and cause problems, and we have to find new solutions. And Sinc as a leader and an intelligent player helps us do that, and she’s constantly pressuring that backline. You know four players had to keep an eye on her tonight. Sometimes they kept her quiet, sometimes they didn’t and she had a great night.”

On the play of forward Nadia Nadim, who had a hat-trick in the game…
“I think that Nadia has had to run the front line on her own [while the national team players were away at the Olympics] and now we’ve got more support and more bodies. She played on the wing [tonight] and then went in at the No. 9. For her, we talk constantly about good energy and good movement, take care of the ball when she’s not in dangerous areas, keep the ball going, keep the ball moving, and when she’s in front of goal, we know that she can score. We have a lot of players we know can score goals and I think for us, if we can continue to get those players in those positions in the final third, they can continue to grow this confidence that we’ve seen tonight.”

On the challenges that Houston poses for Portland…
“Their pace. They have a lot of players who can scored goals. And they’re playing really well. The goals they’re scoring – it’s three goals against Boston, four goals against Orlando; seven goals in two games – their confidence is high. I know that there’s a lot of gaps on that team that we can hurt and we can get after. I think the first part is to make sure that their dangerous players who have been dangerous, that we keep them quiet. And I think when we’ve been in a position to do that as a team, with a team coming in here on form – Chicago came here looking good, Washington came here looking good, Seattle – we’ve done a good job there. So it starts with keeping their players quiet and imposing our game.”

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Allie Long
On her general thoughts on the match…
“I think it was the perfect game to come back to after not playing at home for so long. We need it. We haven’t had a game this season that we’ve really put a lot of goals in, so I think that it was just a perfect game to get goals and confidence up. Just playing well. Wish we had a clean sheet, but that was no one’s fault. Just good going into the next couple games and then the playoffs.”

On the progress the team made after last week’s loss to Seattle…
“We had three days before Seattle and bodies were everywhere. We had a good long five days here of training before we had a game. We had a lot of time to go over things and obviously video and see what went wrong. I think also just being home. We haven’t played at home in like months it feels like. That alone just brought a different type of energy, which was great. We were able to go over things that didn’t work, what we need to work better and Amandine [Henry] coming out in that weird early time, that threw us off a little. We weren’t ready for that. We were prepared this time and it was a good game for us.”

On the Thorns mood coming out of halftime…
“I feel like ever since I’ve been playing, 2-0 is one of the worst leads you can have. Usually the next goal is either the team is back in the game or you finish it off. That was our mentality where we need to finish it off and that 2-0 is good, but we need another solid 45 minutes. We could have had a couple more goals, but I’m glad Nadia [Nadim] got a hat-trick and [Christine Sinclair scored]. It was a really good game overall.”

On the confidence within the team…
“It’s really cool that a lot of the players here have the same soccer brain. They enjoy playing and they want the ball at their feet. When you combine that together, automatically you see people’s confidence go up because they know they’re going to give the ball and they’re going to get it back. They’re going to move and love being in possession of the ball and having the ball at your feet, having that soccer brain. This is probably the most intelligent soccer team I’ve been on. Everyone wants the ball. When you see that, all of a sudden you see people checking, coming and laying it off and getting it back and doing things to get open. It’s not just as robotic as it could be at times.”


Portland Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair
On what the ceiling is for this team…
“Who knows? It’s been a little sporadic for us. We either play very well or pretty poorly. We just need to increase our consistency and we have a chance to do that with two more home games in the span five days. It’ll be nice to have our whole team back together for a whole week and get some games under our belts and get some results so we can host a playoff game.”

On if there is any hangover from the Olympics after winning a bronze medal with Canada…
“Hangover? No. You never really get over it. Mark [Parsons] talked to me as soon as I got back. He was trying to give me some rest and I was ‘No, I’m ready.’ I enjoyed it for a couple days and I have a championship to help Portland win. That’s my goal and that’s what I’m preparing to do. Just need a couple more results to get a home playoff game.”

On scoring a goal in her first game back after the Olympics…
“As an attacking player it’s always nice to put the ball in the back of the net, but just to help lift our team. Like I said, I thought we started pretty slowly. We were doing some easy things poorly and giving [Boston] chances and some set pieces. The goal sort of settled us down a little bit, got the fans into the game and we rolled on from there.”

On Nadia Nadim’s progression this season…
“I think what you said was perfect, just the progression. She’s been one of the leaders on this team that has been here the whole season. Been here pretty much the whole preseason and she’s one of those players that led this team while everyone was gone for the Olympics. I think you saw tonight, she’s deadly in front of goal when given the chance. Just need to keep her going like that for another month.”
 

Notes

  •        Forward Nadia Nadim tallied her second career hat-trick. Her first three-goal game came on Aug. 9, 2014 as a member of Sky Blue FC against Western New York Flash.
  •        In her last six home games dating back to June 22, 2016, Nadim has tallied six goals and one assist.
  •        Portland improved to 6-5-0 in the all-time series against Boston, including a mark of 4-1-0 at Providence Park.
  •        Forward Christine Sinclair appeared in her 60th career match for Thorns FC.
  •        Defender Emily Menges played in her 57th career match for Portland and is the only player this season to play every minute of every match.
  •        Thorns FC have outscored their opponents 17-6 at Providence Park this season.
  •        Goalkeeper Michelle Betos tallied four or more saves in a match for the 13th time in her Thorns FC career.

 

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