Quotes & Notes | Portland Thorns FC 2, Houston Dash 0 | August 19, 2017

Portland Thorns FC Quotes

Portland Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons

General thoughts on the game…
“The mentality and the aggression that we showed throughout in wanting to play well, wanting to perform, wanting to get a result was there. Towards the end, it was probably there a bit too strong. Our drive and our intensity to score some goals when we could have maybe shared the ball a bit more and actually grabbed a bit more, but the mentality was great. We left Kansas City very disappointed. It’s hard to play well on the road. I thought we played well [in Kansas City], but we fell asleep for a couple of moments. We also didn’t grab the goals that killed the game. I actually thought a third goal [tonight] was going to be needed because Houston are dangerous. They’ve always got someone capable of putting the ball in the back of the net, and we didn’t need to put ourselves in that position. Great mentality. Strong performance, but it leaves us with things that we’ll want to improve. We haven’t trained for over a week properly and now we get to recover and recharge from this one before building up to a big one next week.”

On the message at halftime…
“I think it was 26 minutes when we dropped off. That’s what the staff on the bench said and that’s what [the players] heard. We did what we needed to do for 26 [minutes], and then we just started getting a bit too deep. If the backline gets a little bit too deep and don’t squeeze up, the front line can’t put pressure on, the midfield can’t put pressure on, and then [Houston] pressed as well. So we couldn’t quite break that momentum. We had two strategies to try and break it and we just lost a bit of focus. The [halftime] message was to remind them of the tactical things that needed to happen. But kind of two messages were made: ‘you know your job, do it’ and kind of ‘stay focused.’ Lack of focus hurts and they needed to stay focused and drive on to win this game.”

On the goals, both of which were headed…
“I thought the first goal was an exceptional goal. I do get excited whenever it goes in. I was really happy. The switching play was, I think, was from Lindsey [Horan] out to Kling [Meghan Klingenberg], and then she makes a 40-yard run to put it in. I might have got that wrong. Loved the goal. Loved that cross. We like that in-swinger from the left, whether it’s Nadia [Nadim] or it’s Kling. Amandine [Henry] took her goal. She was wide open and took it well. I’m pleased for her. That’s two in two weeks – two in three or four days – and two center midfielders getting on the score sheet. The frontline did a lot of work for us tonight, to be able to have the momentum they had. And their energy and pressing was great up there. It allowed others to have some success. And then the backline, I thought, did well in keeping us – especially in the second half – of keeping us on the front foot. I didn’t think Houston could get out. So it’s nice to have those two goals, but the whole team put in a real shift at the end of a tough week. We traveled for the three games some days. We traveled for two of them again. It’s tough to do that. We wanted nine. Nine we’re capable of, but we’ll take six and go into an absolutely massive game next week.”

On defender Meghan Klingenberg’s performance…
“I made fun of her mid-second half because she was getting some good crossing positions and started passing. I reminded her that she’s still got another five or six to top the assist chart. And let’s get a Portland Thorns player on the Team of the Month because it’s been a while. She’s got a great delivery. Her delivery, and the consistency of her delivery, has just grown over the past four or five weeks massively. She worked really hard on it in the offseason when she got back from injury. She had about four or five weeks building fitness to work on it – set pieces, corners, free kicks and then even free play. It’s been great. And she’s been doing it with her left and right foot. But that’s also the standard for her. I mean, she should be a target. We spoke over the offseason. I had a subjective opinion of what her success rate with deliveries from both feet should be. We had a target of increasing that. I knew we would give her the opportunity to do those balls and cross those balls, and we just keep encouraging her to do it. She’s got loads of quality with those balls, and we’ve got to make the most of it. And I think we did. She did that in Kansas City, and what we lacked in Kansas City was the aggressiveness and effort to go and put ourselves in position to score. We put some good balls in but we lacked a little bite. I’m glad we matched the deliveries with some bite tonight.”

On the support from the fans tonight… 
“Every time we come out, my personal experience, whether it’s 16,000 or 19, 20, 21,000, the passion, the energy, the intensity, the connection – there were some funny posters up there today that we were checking out during warm-ups – the connection and relationship they have with the players and with the team, whether it’s 16 or 21,000, there’s so much passion. It reminds me of growing up. Even in England the days have gone a little bit. I grew up and I didn’t always have the money to get up to London to watch professional games, but when you did, everybody walking through London on the way to Stamford Bridge and everyone was walking to the game, and they had waited a week to see this team play. That’s sporting fans. And I know not everyone’s singing and dancing every minute like the Riveters, but everyone is here and supporting in their own unique way and there’s so much passion behind it. It makes a big difference just being back home tonight in this stadium with the fans. The players talk about it a lot. It’s mind blowing. That’s my personal experience every single game. It’s mind blowing. I’ve said it to a few players in the last couple of days, ‘make the most of every chance you get to play in this stadium in front of these fans because in 10, 20 years we’ll look back and realize how fortunate we were to play and coach in this city.”

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Lindsey Horan
On the team scoring with the head tonight…
“I don’t know what to tell you. We had great service, great deliveries and we happen to be in the right place at the right time and thankfully the ball went in the back of the net. We have many players on this team that are good in the air, so serving the ball in there I think we have a good chance to get a goal and that’s what we did.”

On her goal…
“I know Kling [Meghan Klingenberg] can hit that ball any day and put it on a dime, so I knew once I got it out to her I really wanted to make my way in there and risk it and hope for the best and she put it right on my head and scored a good goal.”

On earning the win tonight after Wednesday’s loss…
“It’s huge. It was a very tough loss, playing three games in seven or eight days is very tough. Coming out here in front of our fans, I think that really helped a lot and we got the job done. Now we’ve got to look ahead to Seattle and fix mistakes that were made over the road trip and move forward.”

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Amandine Henry
On the team scoring with the head tonight…
“It was important tonight that we won and it was important to stay second in the standings. We know the header is a good thing for us, we continue to use it and I hope we go on to win at Seattle.”

On scoring with her head…
“It’s not new, I try and sometimes I do and sometimes no, it depends on the game.”

On playing in front of the Portland fans…
“The fans help on the field when you hear the fans screaming. It’s a good energy. I prefer playing here than on the road. It’s different, because here we have fans and we know we have a good field and we don’t have the long travel.”

Portland Thorns FC goalkeeper Adrianna Franch
On earning her eighth clean sheet of the season…
“If you look at our clean sheets, they’ve been when we’ve taken it to a team and applied pressure. Tonight was an all-around good game for the team defensively and offensively. When we keep the ball and take care of it and have a lot of attack, we don’t have to do as much in the back and the moments that we do get, we do our job.”

On the team’s energy after three games in one week…
“It was a continuation from our progress that we have made the last few games. Yes, Kansas City we didn’t get the result we wanted, but we did some things well and we wanted to continue with that. We look at some of the mistakes we might have made and we address those in training, but at the same time we want to focus on the things we’re doing right and continue that. I think that’s where the motivation comes from, to do what we’re good at. We’ve kind of put ourselves in some situations, and if we can change that and correct that, it’s a race for those medals.”

Notes:

  • Saturday’s attendance of 19,672, the largest crowd for a match this season, marked the 11th time Portland has drawn a crowd of more than 18,000 for a game.
  • With 20 shots tonight, this marks the third time Portland has registered 20 or more shots in a game this season against Houston.
  • Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch set a new single-season record for shutouts (8).
  • Midfielder Amandine Henry recorded her third goal of the season, scoring in her second straight match.
  • Midfielder Lindsey Horan tallied her fourth goal of the season, which ranks tied for second on the team with Nadia Nadim.
  • Defender Meghan Klingenberg recorded her team leading fifth assist of the season, which ranks tied for second in the NWSL.
  • Forward Nadia Nadim tallied her second assist of the season.
  • Defender Emily Menges extended her streak to 39 consecutive appearances, having played 3,510 consecutive minutes.
  • Menges, defender Emily Sonnett, Horan and forward Christine Sinclair are the only four field players to have started in all 19 matches this season for Portland.
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