Tyler Lussi, Thorns FC vs Houston Dash, 8.5.17
Photo by Sam Ortega

Quotes & Notes | Portland Thorns FC 2, Houston Dash 1 | August 5, 2017

Portland Thorns FC Quotes

Portland Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons

General thoughts on the game…
“Really, really happy with a performance. I thought it was powerful and energetic, despite the challenges of players joining us late. They did a great job in preparing themselves individually, despite that challenge – really organized. The group have been feisty and hungry this week and chomping at the bit to get back out, especially in front of the best fans in the world, in this stadium in front of our staff and front office, the people that help us as a team move forward each week. We wanted to get back and get off to a good start before we hit the road and I thought the team did that. Really, really strong dominant performance, just lacking a few more goals, and we’re creating them. We didn’t give Houston much chance to create, we created a lot, we can now touch on and work on taking a few more.”

On the team’s formation…
“When we started to adapt to try to bring out the strengths of individual players a few weeks back, we just wanted to be a little bit more positive and what we saw today, every player had a big impact on such a collective effort. I thought what Christine Sinclair did today was such a complete performance and I told her straight after the game, how many times she won the ball back and started threading balls, how many times she brought it back and broke at their backline and making runs that caused the opposition problems. Both sides of the ball she was outstanding and that was one of the reasons, three or four weeks ago, we wanted to bring out Sinc’s strengths and the same with [Hayley] Raso and Tyler [Lussi] at the time. Since the change they’ve put in a lot of hard work, Mal [Mallory] Weber’s been doing a great job for us in that role when she’s had the chance. It gives us a chance to be flexible, we’ve had a system for a long time and we’ve adjusted. We’ve flipped systems in games, we didn’t today, but we have in others, so it’s good to have flexibility. The core reason is to bring out the best in the individuals we have available and I’m glad that we made that adjustment because it’s been a positive since.”

On the fitness of the players that were away on international duty…
“Constant communication with those players that have been away and understanding where they’re at physically and mentally. We knew who was a little fresher and who had [played] a lot of minutes. Allie Long has been playing an extraordinary amount of minutes over the past eight to 11 months and it felt good to take the strategy of being powerful and dominant over the first half and in the second half as the game opens up to bring on some absolute world beaters to take us to another level. You’re not always in a position to bring players like that off the bench, we wanted to win the first half, we wanted to win the second half and I think those players and Celeste (Boureille) coming on for [Ashleigh] Sykes when she had done three or four miles more than anyone else, was effective as well. That’s been the case all season, this is a group of players that are very, very committed to the hard work it takes to get on the field and it’s a shame we can’t get more of them on the field, because what they do week in and week out for this club in training or off the field is big time.”

On forward Tyler Lussi’s performance tonight…
“I was really pleased for her, welcome to the NWSL scoring club for her. What a start it has been. She’s come in through a period where we haven’t had all our players available. We went and picked her up in the draft and picked her up quite late there, and she’s showing ahead of time the work rate, the energy and inside the 18 there’s some quality. She’s going to be a player that we hope we can develop and support, and right now she’s way ahead of expectations for what she can do for us and that’s exciting. She’s transitioned as well, but at the same time there’s a lot for her to work on. We won’t see the best of her for another two-three-four more years and I hope that’s here and I hope we’re part of that development and pushing her towards really high levels.”

On limiting Houston’s attack…
“We tried to limit Carli Lloyd, but I don’t know how much credit we can take – to her credit, after the minutes she played [with the U.S. National Team], she’s a machine. We were probably more afraid of her when the game got stretched and we needed the energy to defend and she was sitting in that pocket. That was around the time that Allie [Long] and Amandine [Henry] came on and that was the biggest message was to make sure she didn’t get into the game. Lindsey [Horan], I spoke to her yesterday, is coming through recovery and the second half against Houston with our backs against the wall, her performance coming lower and controlling the game, pushing and she banged in that free kick. Then the two games before this, she’s been an all-around dominant midfielder for us, and it’s been hard for us because she’s so good higher up. You play her in the ten and give her the flexibility to go low and break high – last year she played low a lot with Allie before Amandine came. I’ve got a lot of hard decisions to make, especially when we play in this shape and with Sinc getting the performance we got out of her today and thinking back against FC Kansas City, the last couple of games and if she’s rolling like she is we’ve always got a chance of winning because of her quality.”

 

Portland Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair
General thoughts on the match…
“I thought we came out of the gates like on fire. Just very proud of the way we performed. It’s been an interesting couple of weeks with players gone and coming back literally yesterday and I thought we handled it very well. One of our better performances this year.”

On her role as a withdrawn forward in the middle of the field…
“With my national team, I sort of play as a false nine. I think that’s my strength. Earlier in the year, playing as an isolated nine, you sometimes get left out and these past couple weeks, getting to play as a 10, you’re definitely more involved. Get to have more impact on the game. It’s nice. It’s fun.”

On Tyler Lussi’s performance and adjustment to the NWSL…
“She’s done well. She’s improved every game and she brings this relentless work ethic. I wouldn’t want to be a center back playing against her. She puts so much pressure on center backs defensively. Huge for her to get her first professional goal. Just one of many to come I’m sure.”

On getting three wins out of three home games during this stretch of the season…
“It’s massive for us. Before this home stand, we had a busy schedule, a lot of travel. The results weren’t necessarily going our way and we knew coming home we needed to get some wins. We want to make this place a fortress and we’re doing alright so far.”

On carrying momentum forward…
“I think it’s exactly that. We’re professionals and we have a veteran team here that knows how to play on the road and it’s just a matter of getting it done. Like you said, the game against Chicago is going to be huge for us. Right now it’s all about recovery and getting ready.”

Portland Thorns FC defender Emily Sonnett
On her opening goal of the match…
“I think it was off a longer service and it was a great first ball in. It got deflected back to the front post and I think I was lucky to put it away for the team with a nice toe poke. I think it was just recycling runs and having the whole team with a nose for goal. At all costs, we were putting it in the back of the net, whether it’s me or someone else.”

On her celebration and excitement to score…
“It’s not every day a center back is slamming home a toe poke. Doing it for all the center backs worldwide. I’m kidding. It was great to score. We have great fans and it’s great to celebrate once in a blue moon.”

On the adjustment to the formation when the team adds more defenders…
“With any formation change, there’s going to be some growing pains, but I think we’ve really honed in with the game plan and really gotten numbers on each side being able to press forward – anything that makes [the opponent] have a mistake and gives us a transition moment. I think it’s worked very well and it looks like we’re sticking with it a little bit. It’s great. I’m a little more central and I get more touches on the ball. I think overall it’s great.”

Portland Thorns FC forward Tyler Lussi
On scoring her first NWSL goal…
“It felt great. Just told myself to pass it into the net and that’s what happened. [Meghan] Klingenberg played a great ball, got jumbled in and around their defenders and I was free, it was right there. So I just had to pass it into the net.”

On her time growing with the team…
“The month has been great. The team is awesome. Every single player has been very welcoming. On the field, the speed of play is very fast. I like that. I like the competitiveness, in practice and in games. It’s been great. I just go on the field with confidence.”

On Mark Parson’s instructions for her with the team…
“When I first got here, I wanted to bring my energy and work hard when I got on the field and in training. So that’s what I bring. When you play with world-class players, the speed of play is so fast, but I like that. I like the competitiveness.”

On playing alongside Christine Sinclair…
“We just work off each other. The layoffs, the one-touch balls, the spinning and getting in and out. She plays great balls and we work really well together. When I get the ball, she tells me to relax, get a touch. She gives me great direction and how far, distance wise, I need to be from her and [Hayley] Raso. It’s very helpful. She always wins the balls in the air, so I just have to make the run behind the defense. When you play with Christine Sinclair, you have to step up and work hard.”

Notes:

  • Defender Emily Sonnett tallied her second career professional goal, her first in regular-season play. Sonnett scored her first professional goal in Thorns FC’s 2016 NWSL playoff semifinal match against the Western New York Flash.
  • Forward Tyler Lussi recorded her second career assist. Lussi has registered an assist in consecutive games for Portland.
  • Lussi tallied her first professional goal in the match. In her first four professional matches, Lussi has one goal and two assists.
  • Lussi is the second player this season (Hayley Raso) to register a goal and an assist in the same game.
  • Portland improved to 4-0-0 playing in the NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime.
  • Midfielders Dagny Brynjarsdottir and Amandine Henry made their first appearances for the club since July 1 against Seattle after returning from the 2017 European Championships.
  • Thorns FC are 4-0-0 in their last four home matches, outscoring opponents 8-2.
  • Portland is unbeaten in its last four matches with a mark of 3-0-1.
  • Thorns FC improved to 5-2-2 all-time against Houston, including a mark of 3-1-0 at Providence Park.
  • Nine different players have scored a goal for Portland this season, which is tied for the third-most different goal-scorers in the NWSL.
  • Portland recorded 20 or more shots in a match for the second time this season. Both matches were against the Dash.
  • Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch finished the match with two saves, moving into seventh-place (181) on the NWSL’s list for career saves.
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