Mallory Weber, Thorns FC vs Washington Spirit, 7.22.17
Photo by Sam Ortega

Quotes & Notes | Portland Thorns FC 2, Washington Spirit 1 | July 22, 2017

Portland Thorns FC Quotes

Portland Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons

General thoughts on the game…
Slow start in the first half, thought we came out in the second half a lot better, a lot sharper, with urgency. I thought their [Washington’s] goal was a little bit against the run of play, they probably could’ve had a couple of opportunities in the first half, because I thought we were a bit sluggish there. Second half I was very happy and that [Washington’s goal] came out of nowhere. We changed shape instantly, and I think that helped us. We were different in the second half, it was good to see we could kick it up into gear, because something was up tonight. At the same time, I think the most important thing, all the players and all the group showed this mentality to want to win this game. We hadn’t won a game after conceding first, it’s a huge psychological thing for us, we’ve talked about it a lot that when things go as they shouldn’t, we’ve got the strong willingness to keep going forward. The group did that, and it was really cool to see some of the new players and players coming back into the team. Tyler [Lussi] won the header on Allie’s [Long] goal and Mal [Mallory Webber] banged that in, [Ashleigh] Sykes being on the outside and Kath [Katherine Reynolds] to have a really strong 70-odd minutes, we’d planned 45 for her and we couldn’t take her off because she was playing so well, it was great to have her back. All around good collective performance and the key thing was us coming back from a goal down and we can build off that.”

On if tonight is a turning point or momentum builder…
There’s been a couple of games this year that we aren’t so happy about and we’ve talked about those games. Washington away, North Carolina away, Sky Blue at home. We have dropped points in games where we’ve been really good, and we’ve just lacked this and just lacked that. I think what’s crucial; rather than a turning point, because I think we’ve been in a good position, we’ve just had a very difficult schedule. A lot of the top teams are now playing each other: Seattle and Sky Blue are playing tonight, Chicago earlier on with Orlando, they’ve all got to play each other and we’ve got a couple weeks of rest until we play Chicago. Not a turning point, I’d say a driving on point. This is the most depleted we’re going to be all year, we’ve got a point away at Houston, we’ve got six points at home, we’ve got to recharge and make this another three points when Houston comes to town. It’s a turning point that we have so many players missing, and we’re picking up massive points that are critical for our season.”

On the change heading into the second half…
It was really tight in the first half and we wanted to understand what they were going to do, they lost last week and we didn’t know if they were going to change shape and be prepared. At halftime I think we just improved our mindset and desire to win this game and take risks to get on the front foot. We asked them questions on the first half as to why that wasn’t happening, but show us in your performance that you can do it in the second half. The chains came off when they scored against the run of play, we changed shape quickly and took the chains off and let them drive on and release more numbers into the attack. Thought before we did that, we were on the front foot and that cemented us on the front foot and made us look a lot more dangerous. It also opened us up on the back, we were always going to be dealing with the counter attack tonight and them keeping two upfront and keeping [Mallory] Pugh coming in from the wing. That was a huge success, keeping Pugh quiet, and we were always conscious of that. Away to them, we got beat by [Francisca] Ordega causing us a nightmare and we couldn’t let an individual do that tonight. I’m glad we kept Pugh quiet and took advantage of when we did take lease and drive forward, we showed some real quality. I loved the two goals, a set piece goal and Sykes doing what we know she can do, it was exciting to see that.”

On Mallory Weber…

“The only thing I didn’t say, was ‘go and score the winner’. I said a lot of other stuff and then she ran away and I tried to say, ‘try and…’ and I didn’t get to say ‘score’. It was very tactical, but [I told her] go ahead and take risks, press them and get after the goalkeeper. Every time we get wide make a forward run, every time we get time on the ball, make a forward run, get us going forward. She sprinted off before I could say, ‘score’. So I’m not going to talk about goals in the future, I’m going to let them do their thing. Mal got in, it’s great to see her. She’s been in and out, it’s a very competitive roster and I’m really happy she came on and made statement she should be on the field.”

Portland Thorns FC forward Mallory Weber
On scoring her first professional goal…
“Yeah, it’s long overdue, so I’m very relieved that it’s out of the way, and now we go into the break kind of on a high note so we can come back refreshed.”

On Mark Parsons’ instructions before she entered the game…
“He doesn’t have to say go score a goal. It’s kind of a given. But, it was good that it happened tonight. We needed the three points big time.”

On her run prior to scoring the goal…
“Yeah, (Ashleigh) Sykes gets that ball in practice all the time. She beats her player and she always gets the cross off, so I just had that confidence. I knew she was going to get there, so if I beat my player I was pretty confident she would get it to my foot. She did and immediately cramped after and we all just went over and took a breath. It was great.”

On what the goal means to her…
“Coming off the bench and being able to contribute more than just running around and providing energy is great, and to be able to score and just have that be my first is just really positive especially not getting all the minutes you want all the time and being that important player but in different ways. So, it was big for me to be able to do that for the team tonight.”

On the mood on the bench when the team went behind…
“I think it’s frustrating because we know we can perform so much better and we’re just not finding that right from the start. It takes us a little too long and so to be able to come back and actually win from a goal behind for the first time this season I think needed to happen. It was a big step for us.”

Portland Thorns FC forward Ashleigh Sykes
On what she saw on Mallory Weber’s goal…
“Mark said at halftime that if we get a chance to go one-on-one with their backs we should do it, and I thought it was a good opportunity to do it in a bit of space and get the ball into the mixer. Mallory was in the perfect spot for it, so she just tapped it in and it was awesome.”

On if she saw Mallory making her run in the box…
“At that point, I was trusting that a teammate would be in the right position. We practice it all the time, so just put it in the right areas and someone will be there.”

On what adjustments the team made to get back into the game…
“We kind of changed a few things after their goal. We pushed a few people forward to really go for the equalizer and then again for the winner. So, that was good for me because I good go into a more natural position and attack a bit more.”

On if she feels as if she’s getting used to the league…
“Yeah, I feel like every game things are clicking a bit better and I’m understanding my role in the team and how other people play in the team, which is great. There is still a few things to get used to. The speed is quite high and there is a lot of pressure on the ball, especially as a winger, when you get it out wide which I’m still getting used to. But, yes, step by step I’ll get there.”

Notes:

  • Midfielder Allie Long scored her 30th career NWSL goal in the match.
  • Long is the fifth player in league history to tally 30 goals for her career. Additionally, Long is one of three players (Kim Little, Christen Press) to score 30 goals with the same team.
  • Forward Tyler Lussi recorded her first professional point and assist in the match.
  • Forward Mallory Weber tallied her first career professional goal.
  • Forward Ashleigh Sykes recorded her first career assist for Thorns FC.
  • Defender Katherine Reynolds made her first start and appearance since the 2016 NWSL playoffs. It was her 80th career NWSL appearance.
  • Portland improved to 4-0-2 all-time at Providence Park against the Spirit, while posting a mark of 6-2-4 in the all-time series.
  • Thorns FC have outscored opponents 14-6 at Providence Park this season.
  • Portland has scored seven of its 14 goals at home in the final 30 minutes of matches.
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