Thorns Celebration, Thorns vs Red Stars, 06.02.19
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Quotes & Notes | Portland Thorns FC 3, Chicago Red Stars 0 | June 2, 2019

Portland Thorns FC Quotes

Portland Thorns head coach Mark Parsons
On his thoughts on the match…
“I thought we were absolutely at our best early in the first half. It was such an exciting, electric atmosphere and such an exciting, electric performance from the group of players. The second half, I thought we defended incredibly well. I think it took me 10-12 minutes just to adjust to [Chicago’s] change of shape, which was too long. We can learn from that. [Chicago] had a bit of momentum there for the first 10 [minutes] and then we adjusted shape. We don’t want, winning 2-0 up against a team that has so much talent and quality Chicago still has available to them, you know you won’t have much of the ball, but you’re not supposed to get sliced open and we did that first 10 [minutes]. We got back in and we created two or three opportunities and we got the goal and also two or three more opportunities. Incredibly dominant performance. Proud of this group. I think the thing we’ll remember from this game is the spirit and character the group played with. Every single player. And there’s players that obviously didn’t play today that have given us the chance to have this spirit and this type of mentality during training this week and during the Sky Blue trip. I think something special happened on that trip and this group knew that there’s huge opportunity and responsibility to work and fight for this club. It’s been fun to see this group play the last couple weeks.”

On Midge Purce and Simone Charley’s performances today…
“We spoke about it in the week and the more they have a relationship and work with and off each other, I think the more they’ll individually shine. I think they embraced that. Of course there were really, really, really good moments and then there’s things we can continue to improve. This is the first game after a couple of training sessions this week where those two are working in and around each other. Just fun to see. It’s fun to see how the group wanted to play into their strengths and it gave them the opportunity to go and have fun.”

On Marissa Everett’s performance late in the game…
“Pretty special and for the University of Oregon, who’ve worked really well with us to allow her flexibility to keep training when she couldn’t train with us. She’s still got a few exams to go. She’s made herself available the last several weeks. I thought the goal summed up what she’s about. She’s got great movement and she reads the game. You give her a chance to put the ball in the back of the net and she showed it against Sky Blue, first movement to drop the shoulder and then burst and almost apart from a great save. It’s great and you look at the undrafted players that come into this environment and look for an opportunity to develop and put their heads down. I wish I could say we’re perfect in our job and we have the magic dust. It comes down to the individual and what the individual is willing to make of this opportunity. You look at a number of players playing right now. Some of them have been on this journey with us for a while now and are reaping the rewards of their dedication and hard work. Then we’ve got players that didn’t play today or they’ve been here only for a few months, they can’t wait. They’re already looking great, but what can they look like in the next year or two. The training continues. This is an environment where I think top, top elite players can continue to develop. We’ve seen the best of [Christine Sinclair] and Tobin [Heath] before they broke away and you can say the same for young players. This is a place where hard work is embraced and opportunity to grow each day is key to us to be successful as a team.”

On the team’s defensive performance…
“I thought the whole team defended exceptionally and really earned their clean sheet and wanted the clean sheet. There were a few moments where [Chicago] did break us down or distances got a bit big through fatigue. Then, whether it was [Katherine] Reynolds, Emily Menges, Gabby Seiler, [Meghan Klingenberg] came up big with that block. Their commitment to not let that ball get near Britt [Eckerstrom] was the highest regard. It summed up the spirit, mentality, the character of how this group wanted to represent the city and club today.”

On the difference in position between the two teams in the second half…
“When you’re 2-0 up against a very, very good team that lost last week… We were watching another game the other day, it’s very hard, no matter the tactics, it’s very hard not to drop off and concede possession. Our tactic wasn’t to do that. We wanted to replicate the first half. It took me 10 minutes to adjust unfortunately because we did. Naturally, we dropped off. We didn’t want to. Then the gaps got really stretched and they had a couple good looks in that period. Around half time the position was pretty similar. Shots on target. We had five shots on target, they had five shots on target. This league is about being efficient with what you do in the central and final third and what you do in front of goal. We’ve been the top and we may still be in expected goals and goals or we’re close. This is a group that’s committed to being really dangerous in those areas. I think we need to continue to improve in other areas. Would love to improve our team defending despite some heroic last minute defending that we talked about already. This is a journey, this is a process. Missing nine people right now. We’ve only had two training sessions a week since the first game of the season. This was our first full training week and felt like we reaped the rewards of finally training and we looked better than we did at Sky Blue.”

On the atmosphere within the newly transformed Providence Park…
“I’ve said it before. I didn’t dream about this because I didn’t think it was possible when I got into coaching. I’m proud of what this city, club, community does to continue to set the standard to support female athletes, the best players in the world. Players that dedicate so many hours to represent their teams in this league. It’s a huge hat tip to everyone in this organization has done and specifically Merritt Paulson. The investment and his family and his parents, the investment to continue to raise the bar in every area. You’ve already seen it when we raise the bar on the field and then what the guys behind the scenes, the hundreds, if not thousands of people that have been working on this place to make it what it is, this experience for us today. For the Thorns, there’s so much behind the scenes you don’t get to see, it’s given us another higher level, a platform for us to be elite coaches and elite players. So while this ride is going on, I’m going to make the most of it and enjoy it. It’s a special place to work with high expectations and that’s a fun place to be.”

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Midge Purce
On overcoming injuries throughout the season...
"Yeah you know ever since last year when I had that ankle injury at camp, I feel like I've kind of been in a downward spiral of little knocks and bigger knocks and it's been really frustrating, to say the least. But April Heinrichs actually told me when I was around 16-17 that what separates really good players from good players is mentality and that the game is 80 percent mental. So I think what's been helping me is just thinking about what I can control and making sure that when I do get an opportunity and when I am healthy, I'm making the most of that."

On how she was successful in the first half...
"There was spacing in behind (Chicago's defense) and our gameplan was definitely to expose that space. And I think it worked. It's pretty simple I feel."

On playing at Providence Park for the first time this season...
"It was... this is the third time I got this question [and I have] the same answer. It was one of the most wonderful experiences I think that a soccer player can have and it was beautiful to see all that support and it was even more rewarding that we actually pulled out a win for them and put on a good show because I think that's part of the Thorns DNA, whether or not the internationals and national team players are here or not - that's just what we're supposed to, so I'm proud of the team.

On winning matches with players away on international Duty...
"Oh, it's critical. These games are equally important as the other games. Significance and importance don't change based on who's suiting up and who the roster is. And that goes for our team and the other team, so these are really important games."

On her connection with Simone Charley throughout the match...
"Yeah, I mean that was honestly the first time I've played major minutes with Simone ever. And it was, I think the both of us were like 'oh this thing, this is working.' And I think when you have, you know, 11 people working really, really hard, it makes it easier on any partnership, you know wingbacks, centerbacks, anything, and I think it was just really fun, I think we both had a ton of fun today and I think that was a part of it. 

On the assist from Simone Charley for her first goal of the match...
"Yeah, I had one that was offsides right before it and I understood [that I needed to wait a second next time]. And I think [Charley] understood I was going to do that. It's definitely strange, we were not connecting like that in practice this week, but it was great to have it come off during the game."

On the uniqueness of the Portland atmosphere and fans...
"I think the 12th man feels very much a part of our team and I think that's kind of what separates this club from other clubs, especially for the women. And to celebrate with them and kind of be with them after and all of us kind of soak in that win, it's a beautiful thing."

Portland Thorns FC forward Simone Charley
On returning to Portland...
"It was just a surreal moment, honestly, just being out here on the field and just having so many supporters out there, like words can't describe like how much that means to just be on the field and having them just give us energy and pick us up when we're down. And it's just awesome being on the field with such a great group of girls who just work hard and bring out the best [in you]. Yeah, it's hard to put into words, I'm in awe, honestly."

On the connection between her and Midge Purce...
"Yeah, we talked about it this week in practice, just working on working off of each other and just building that relationship. Midge is a phenomenal communicator and [has been] telling me where I need to go and just working together and so yeah, shout out to her. Complete credit to her and just how awesome she has been in helping me get adjusted."

On her motivation knowing that she'll get opportunities to play this year...
"Yeah I'd say there's definitely like, first of all, shout out to like everyone going into the World Cup and good luck to everyone, I'm super excited just to cheer them on. [The World Cup] is like what, June 2nd, so you got five days until the beginning. So definitely, first of all, congrats to them and I'm super excited for them. And so obviously that does open up opportunities for us, so I was just excited to do my best and just see how it goes. I'm just blessed to be up here, honestly."

On playing the first regular-season home match of the season...
"There were definitely nerves there, I called my parents before [the game], my sister, the whole shebang. But yeah, I would say just getting out there and like seeing all the fans and stuff, it gives you energy so there's definitely just that adrenaline rush there. And once you just start playing soccer, you remember it's soccer and you love to play it. It's just a blessing to be able to go play your favorite sport every day and then people watch you play your favorite sport, so it was really fun."

On the satisfaction of recording two assists...
"It's kind of a surreal moment honestly, I can't really put it into words just with everything [that has happened in my career]. But I couldn't do it without [my teammates] who have been pushing me and bringing out the best in me every day. And obviously my parents and everyone. So I think it has just been surreal."

 

Notes:

  • Sunday’s match was played in front of a home-opening record crowd of 19,461 fans.
  • Since 2016, Portland has posted a record of 25-5-5 at Providence Park, outscoring opponents 75-33 during that span.
  • Thorns FC are unbeaten in their last seven regular-season home matches (6-0-1).
  • Thorns FC improved to 7-0-0 in home openers, outscoring opponents 18-5.
  • Portland has scored 16 goals as a team this season, which is tied for the NWSL lead.
  • Thorns FC are unbeaten in their last 16 games (7-0-9) against Chicago.
  • With the win, Portland improved to 9-1-9 all-time against the Red Stars, including a record of 5-1-3 at Providence Park.
  • Purce recorded her first career NWSL brace in the match. She is the second player to record a multi-goal game this season for Portland.
  • Midge Purce has scored three goals in her last two games for Portland.
  • Purce is the ninth different player in club history to record a brace.
  • Simone Charley tallied her first two career NWSL assists in the match.
  • Charley is seventh player to record a multi-assist game for Thorns FC.
  • Charley is the second player to record a multi-assist game in 2019 for Portland.
  • Meghan Klingenberg recorded her third assist of the season. It was the 11th assist of her Thorns FC career, which is tied for fourth-most in club history.
  • Charley and Gabby Seiler made their Providence Park debuts in the match.
  • Marissa Everett scored her first professional goal in her second appearance with the club. She is the ninth player to score a goal for Portland this season.
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