NWSL POST-GAME QUOTES
Portland Thorns FC vs. Houston Dash
July 24, 2019 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Final: Portland Thorns FC 5, Houston Dash 0
Portland Thorns FC Quotes
Portland Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons
On the four-goal first half goals scored for Portland Thorns FC…
“I think it was four in 25-26 minutes maybe. That first 25-30 minutes was full-throttle Thorns. Electric football. Fast-paced. I thought defensively we set the tone. Our distances were good; our shape and the way we worked off the ball together. On the ball, they didn’t let that ball stand still for a split second. That ball was constantly moving into dangerous areas, eliminating players between lines and I think that was the best half of football [Christine Sinclair] and Tobin [Heath] had between the lines. Because when the ball went into them, they had it for milliseconds and then the ball was on the move again, into areas where we could either score a goal or create goals. Fantastic first half of football and then the second half trying to keep standards high, keep control of the game so we’re not facing shots and chances while trying to create more chances. Great night. Great night for everyone being back together and after just a couple of training sessions to see a performance like that was superb.”
On Thorns players being able to find so much space when scoring goals…
“Two things. One thing on Houston and obviously about us. I felt for Houston in the sense they faced a Thorns team that was flying on all cylinders. On short rest, on long travel; we’ve done that. We played here on a Wednesday night and we had to go to D.C., the opposite coast, late in the season last year. We managed to squeak out a 1-0 win, but we were possessed at that point. There was nothing that was going to stop us getting a win at Audi Field. We’ve done it and the players could barely move for the day or two days before the game. I know the stress [Houston] was under for this game. Then the opposite side is we were flying. It’s tough. We took advantage. Sometimes you play in a game where the opposition is not at their best and you play to the level of that. We didn’t do that. I think it was important that the finishes were in open space. That’s the type of chances we want to create, whether we’re manipulating the opposition or taking advantage of spaces. I see 20 shots here and 15 from inside the box, five from outside. This is what we’re about and how we want to create. We love dreamy goals where they’re hitting the back of the net from 40 yards, but for us, finishing big chances is what we’re about. In Utah, we had a lot of control. We didn’t create any chances, any quality chances, any half chances. Then second half we were struggling, we didn’t create anything. You’ve got to be able to do both. When you’re in control, finish your attack, create chance and control transition. When you’re not in control, when you’re up against it, you still want to be able to find ways to create chances. We didn’t do that in Utah and I think we made up for it tonight.”
On tonight’s record attendance at Providence Park…
“Unbelievable. Unbelievable on a Wednesday night. A new Thorns record and only 700-800 away from the NWSL record. Riveters, Portland Thorns fans, Portland as a city, this community… I feel like it’s every month, every couple of months they set a new standard and then they smash a new standard. It’s a privilege to be here, working with these players, being in front of these fans, enjoying the best atmosphere in the world.”
On working World Cup players back into the squad…
“When the first wave of players came back in, the first week was a struggle. So we were ready and anticipated that could be the same. Everyone is very different. We got through the first week last week and this was the second week. If you think about the second week from the first wave, the way [Sinclair] played against Orlando and the rest of the crew were back to it. If the pattern continued, we felt that the Americans could be back into full swing. I think we can talk about it being a great night to welcome back World Cup players like we did before the game. Then there’s players playing at a really high level that weren’t in that pack. I loved what the backline did tonight. [Meghan Klingenberg], [Emily] Menges, the experienced pros. Then obviously [Emily] Sonnett back in as a World Cup player, but then what [Elizabeth Ball] did. She had one moment which wasn’t super good the other game. The rest of the game was great. Keep confidence in her. She had a great one. You look at what Gabby Seiler is doing right now. I just grabbed her after the game and said, ‘You are so good.’ I didn’t have any other way of saying it. I think she’s doing such an important job. It’s great to get Andressinha in, the luxury position we’re in, but what Gabby and we talk about the rest of the midfield and the success in pockets, Tobin, [Sinclair], Lindsey [Horan], everywhere. Every single blade of grass. What Midge [Purce], [Hayley] Raso, Caitlin [Foord], Tyler [Lussi] are doing. Gabby Seiler was the glue for us tonight in the midfield. The little things she did allowed everyone else to do great things.”
On Gabby Seiler’s ability to free up her teammates…
“Her game in possession and picking up positions and having great body shape to be able to receive and play forward, receive and play one, two touch to get other people to play forward is great. When you’ve got Lindsey Horan in midfield… It’s tough for me to keep an eye on where Lindsey is because she controls every moment of the game or wants to be in control. To have someone that can balance and make sure they support that player, and when we need to get Lindsey in the box and have someone have the intelligence to be able to read and sit in pockets and help stop transition. The Orlando home game, you saw it tonight, the amount of times [Seiler] breaks up play by being in the right position… It reminds me of the goalscorer, like Tyler Lussi right now, who keeps scoring and you say, “Well they just have the eye for goal. They know how to score.” Well no. They know where to be and they know how to move at the right time, right moment and take advantage and then have good contact. This is what Gabby Seiler is doing for us in the midfield and it’s important.”
Portland Thorns FC midfielder Tobin Heath
On coming back from the World Cup and playing at Providence Park…
“Amazing. It felt so good to be home playing in front of our crowd, playing with my teammates that I love, in the renovated stadium on a Wednesday night in front of 22,000 plus people. It was just spectacular. This place never stops amazing me.”
On what was working for the Thorns in the first half…
“I think it was everything. To be honest, I think it was just more of a feeling. I feel like it was everybody wanting to be back together, wanting to play, coming out with a lot of energy and just being super stoked to be back. That first half made life really easy.”
On the energy of the team coming out in the first half…
“It was a good time against a good opponent. I really think this team has five more levels that we can get to. I think it was a good welcome back to get everyone playing, getting everyone to have a really good feeling. That’s what it looked like and felt like out there.”
On her combination with Christine Sinclair in the first half…
“He said that at halftime and Sinc [Christine Sinclair] and I looked at each other and just said that we missed playing with each other. It was nice to be back together. I always say that I’m lucky to play with her and a bunch of other players. We’ve been playing together for a long time and she’s so easy to play with. It’s fun.”
On what the team said to Lindsey Horan after her bicycle-kick attempt…
“We were like, ‘Why didn’t you score?’ It was class. You see a lot of bikes, but she hit it so well. I thought [Houston Dash goalkeeper] Jane [Campbell] should have just let it go in. Why did she save that? That was a shame, but it counts in my book for a lot of things.”
Portland Thorns FC midfielder Lindsey Horan
On scoring four goals in under 30 minutes…
“We were home, so having the fans behind us was incredible. We haven’t all been home together in so long and everyone back so I think we just wanted to come out and put on a show. I think from the very get-go we wanted it so badly and were moving for each other and were playing, and playing with purpose and just having fun and it resulted to four goals in the first half, so awesome. Really proud of the team.”
On practicing bicycle kicks in practice…
“Not here, but I used to when I was little. I’ve been waiting for the moment to get a bike and that sucked.”
On tonight’s crowd at Providence Park…
“The crowd was amazing. I was so happy the whole game. I couldn’t stop smiling. Just being back here is, again, like nothing else.”
- Wednesday’s match featured a crowd of 22,329 fans – the largest crowd in Thorns FC history.
- Portland is unbeaten in its last nine matches (7-0-2) against Houston.
- Thorns FC improved to 10-2-3 all-time against the Dash, including a mark of 6-1-0 at Providence Park.
- Lindsey Horan scored her first goal of the 2019 season. She is the 12th player to score a goal for Portland this season.
- Horan has scored five goals in seven career games against Houston, which is the most goals Horan has scored against a single opponent in her NWSL career.
- With her goal, Horan recorded her 50th career point for Thorns FC. She is one of three players in club history to amass 50 career points.
- Christine Sinclair scored for a third consecutive match. She has scored in each of Portland’s last two home matches.
- Sinclair has tallied six goals on the season, which is tied for the team lead and also ranks tied for third in the NWSL.
- Tobin Heath recorded her fourth career multi-assist game. Two of her multi-assist games have come against Houston.
- Midge Purce tallied her first career assist for Portland. She is the 10th player to register an assist for Thorns FC in 2019.
- Hayley Raso has scored three goals in her last three games for Portland. She is one of six players with multiple goals for Portland in 2019.
- Raso recorded her second career brace in the match. She is one of three players to record a multi-goal game in 2019 for Thorns FC, joining Purce and Sinclair.
- With her brace, Raso has 11 career goals for Portland. She is the sixth player in club history to reach double-digit goals.
- Thorns FC are the first NWSL to score four goals in the first half of the match since the Western New York Flash scored four goals against the Boston Breakers on June 24, 2016.