Adrianna Franch, Thorns vs. NC, 8.11.19
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Quotes & Notes | Portland Thorns FC 2, North Carolina Courage 1 | Aug. 11, 2019

Portland Thorns FC Quotes

Portland Thorns FC Head Coach Mark Parsons

General thoughts on the match...
“Big win, obviously. I think, I really mean this, no matter the result of today, for us, there's no way this shield race, home playoff or playoff spot race was going to be over, like no matter what. So it's important that we got the important three points. There's so much work to do, this helps. And yeah, when you look at the state of the game it just kind of sums up this week. We controlled and dominated two games and we don't know how to put the ball in the back of the net. This was always going to be the way we were going to score a goal after the two games. It was lacking when we couldn't find the touch and stuff. We couldn't find a way to get it in, but we're at home, 25,000 people, and we said it at halftime to get that ball near the goal and you guys know that it's going to go in. And you know, together with all the players and with fans managed to get this result because it was getting right on the edge of it could go either way. The advantage of being in the best place in the world with the best fans paid off today and we're grateful on a record-setting day that we had for all sides of the stadium people coming here and supporting these players and setting a new high standard on how to support and how to be connected. And also in regards to the fans and Riveters, there's a lot of people behind the scenes who are rallying the troops to keep spreading the word and make this such a special, special environment and atmosphere for us to play in. So I want to thank those many, many volunteers who give so much time to make this such a special magical place that's capable of having days like this.”

On if he noticed the stadium atmosphere...
“There were a few moments that I could, but it was an intense game. I was so focused that you know if I blinked and took my eyes off it, I could miss something. I think that there were moments there where you know, a stop in the play you get to look around and see people in the Duracell Deck and all the rest around the whole stadium, it's great. And the roars obviously on the goals, the roars when AD [Adrianna Franch] made about 20 saves to keep us in the game. It's magical.”

On Adrianna Franch's performance...
“It's nice to say we got the result, so I can say this but we don't want to face that type of pressure, you're always going to face pressure with North Carolina, they're going to face pressure with us. But you just want to try to make it the chances that you want to deal with and not the ones that they want to create, and we did a little bit of both today. It's been tough for AD in the sense of she's come back in.... [against Utah] had a couple of half-opportunities that reminded me of the Tacoma [Reign FC] game, a couple of opportunities where she does just doesn't have a chance, and the ball is on top of her. Houston, nothing to do. And then, Tacoma has one thing, almost to do, and the girl mishits it and it goes through her legs. So strangely, maybe really good to see lots of action because we all know, we all get to see AD Franch show who she is and she gets to see and feel who AD Franch is and she's the best goalkeeper in this league. She has continued to prove it for the last two years and now we got the band back together. I'm sure her form will continue to rise as it has each year.”

On his decision to make a pair of substitutions to start the second half...
“It's has nothing to do with Caitlin [Foord] and Simone [Charley]. It was about getting Midge [Purce] and [Hayley] Raso on. We made the changes that we made today purely about freshening things up because of the demand of the last two games. We emptied the tank against Tacoma and not just physically, mentally and emotionally and then you play in this high energy, playing at home in front of Courage, it's was going to be a demanding game so we needed to freshen it up and we knew Midge and Raso were going to have massive roles to play. Didn't know when, and the time was halftime to make sure, you know, tactically we obviously changed a little bit, but even if we don't tactically change, when you see those two players coming on and you're the other team I think it changes you and for our teammates to see those two coming on. So I feel obviously for Cait and Simone who worked really hard and we didn't get into loads of areas there in the first half to get them the looks that they thrive off. But credit to Midge and Raso coming on and giving a bit of spice that we needed and a bit of energy.”

On starting Dagny Brynjarsdottir over Gabby Seiler in midfield...
“Yeah, we almost subbed Seiler in three or four times today. We almost subbed her into three or four different positions, that sums her up. We love her on the field, we need her on the field. We went again, one of those players because there's players that missed out just to freshen it up and she was one...the distance that she's covered. She came to tell me how amazing she feels yesterday and she feels great and whatever we need, she'll be ready, same with the rest that rotated out. Yeah, you know there were times where we knew Dagny could fade, and then when we were about to do it actually, she kept getting stronger so we kept her there and got Ellie [Carpenter] in for E-Ball [Elizabeth Ball], who I thought started to fade down in the end. But yeah, Dagny... we had to have some more height to deal with set pieces and long throws today. Gabby's excellent in the air but you know, two-feet difference sometimes makes a difference with [Samantha] Mewis, and [Jessica] McDonald and [Abby] Erceg coming down for set pieces.”

On the rivalry with North Carolina, especially when playing at Providence Park...
“I think the credit I can give the Thorns against North Carolina matchup is that it's right up there with Thorns vs. Reign FC. I don't know, I couldn't tell you, like today and I said it a couple days ago, I haven’t really mentally got connected to that we're playing North Carolina. It was this team that wears white that have these types of players, these types of strengths, these types of weaknesses, it's been such a busy compact week and the turnaround, disappointment, having to... I wanted to climb into a hole for a couple of days and sulk, and then you can't, you have to analyze, you have to create a plan and come in and act for the group and be the best that you can be. I haven't really sucked into taken it in yet, the Thorns - Courage matchup, massive one, sellout crowd. I think the credit is you know, Reign, when they play in this stadium and that epic rivalry it's absolutely huge. The fact that Thorns and Courage have developed a similar, I think is a compliment to what they've done over the last couple of years and I'm sure they'll be a few... we have one with Sky Blue, it's a different flavor type of rivalry, we have a few with a few other clubs. When I was in Washington, I checked the schedule … When is our first home game, when do we travel to Portland Thorns? You know, there's a target on our back and you know, today I think we played up to we know that and we're ready for that fight and that challenge, we're ready to compete no matter what it takes and no matter who's playing. There were a lot of changes today, a lot of changes, players who haven't played minutes. Simone's come from outside of the 18 into the starting XI. I think we can take confidence from a lot of things. I think that's an important one as we go down the stretch because buying into this whole group... we got a lot of talent, we got a lot of players that have grown. I keep saying to you guys it's going to be a little different each week. It's not normal that we've done this, we've tried to evolve but we've got so much talent that we're going to have to keep the open mind and keep the competitiveness driving this group forward.”

On Orlando Pride defender Toni Pressley’s cancer diagnosis…
“All of us at the Thorns give our love and support to Toni Pressley, who obviously got some bad news this week. Amazing athlete, amazing person, so all the best to Orlando and Toni as she goes through her fight through cancer. We know she’ll crush it and we know that she’ll be back causing us problems in the future.”

Portland Thorns FC goalkeeper Adrianna Franch
On the record-setting crowd in Providence Park today…

“They helped us win this game. When we came back on a Wednesday and had like 22,000 at 8 p.m. we couldn’t wait for a weekend game because we knew it was going to be like this. We ended the way we wanted to. We didn’t start the way we wanted to, but we found a way to win and that was with the help of our fans.”

On what message the support in Portland can send for the league overall…
“Well the people that don’t understand, it’s because they’ve never watched. They haven’t been a part of this environment. I met a waiter just here in Portland, never been to a game Thorns or Timbers. Got him to a game and he absolutely loved it. You put in a different perspective and I kind of showed him the art form of it and that’s where he usually is. Now he wants to come all the time. Those different things have to be embedded and the more coverage we get, the more people see, the more they experience, the more they want to come. It’s really important.”

On if the crowd felt different post World Cup…
“That’s the great thing about these fans: they’ve come from the start. Nothing really changes. You’ve just brought more into the stadium. Feeling that difference, like 5,000, 4,000 difference, that’s what makes it louder, but that doesn’t change. They’ve been the same from the get-go. We lost in the championship last year against [North Carolina] and [the fans] stayed at least 30 minutes to continue to chant. No, if anything, the Thorns fans have started the hype in this town.”

On if the matchup against North Carolina transcends the league in terms of star power…
“I think it brings attention because it’s just a really good game. It’s like a championship game every time we play. Those are the types of games that we as athletes enjoy, but at the same time, we have to take care of the games that aren’t as active. People have to appreciate the game when it’s like that as well.”

On making some key saves to preserve the win…
“We still made mistakes. I still made mistakes. So we look at those mistakes and that’s what we continue to grow on. We got the win. I think that puts us on top of the table and that’s what we’re here to do. After every game we go back and look at all the mistakes and at the end of the day, I would rather make the mistakes now than at the end of the year. So we continue to climb and try to peak at the right time.”

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Dagny Brynjarsdottir
On the support of the record-setting crowd in Providence Park…

“It’s just amazing. Obviously North Carolina scored early on us and [the crowd] just gives us this extra power. We keep going against North Carolina it’s always a good game. We just have this extra, you know… This crowd was just amazing today.”

On a crowd this size being seen on national television to help grow the league…
“It’s just great. I hope when other clubs see that, they can grow their support. Hopefully in the future this will be normal in women’s soccer. I really hope so.”

On if she feels she’s getting closer to her best form…
“I would say I’m getting closer definitely. I think I’ve got my fitness back, but maybe I can sharpen up a little bit there and here in the attack, but defensively I think I’m pretty there. Maybe I need one or two more percent.”

On going the full 90 minutes after several games close together…
“I feel good. Obviously now in the middle when I was playing with Lindsey [Horan] I was sitting a little more, so I would say I wouldn’t get as tired going back and forth. I got a good rest on Wednesday, only played 10 minutes so I felt pretty fresh before this game, which was good.”

On competing for a starting spot within this Thorns team…
“Our roster depth is really good this year. Probably the best one. This is my third year… the best one since I’ve played here. We don’t have any injuries right now, which is good. Having competition in every training just makes us better. You just always have to show your best in training and always bring your A-game to have a chance to play. It’s up to Mark [Parsons] who is going to play.”

Notes:

  • Sunday’s match featured the largest crowd in NWSL history – 25,218 fans – surpassing the previous single-game attendance record of 23,403 set by Orlando Pride on April 23, 2016.
  • The crowd for Sunday’s match ranked as the second-largest crowd for a standalone match in the history of U.S. women’s professional soccer, trailing only the record-setting crowd of 34,148 fans at the inaugural match of the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA) on April 14, 2001, at RFK Stadium between the Washington Freedom and the Bay Area CyberRays.
  • Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch finished the match with 10 saves, tying the Thorns FC single-game record for saves in a match set by Karina LeBlanc on Aug. 24, 2013, against FC Kansas City.
  • Portland is unbeaten in its last four home matches (3-0-1), outscoring its opponents 12-5 during that span.
  • Thorns FC improved to 1-0-1 against the North Carolina Courage in 2019. Portland has won two of the last three regular-season matches against the Courage at Providence Park.
  • Since 2016, Portland is unbeaten in the month of August at Providence Park with a record of 4-0-2.
  • Dating back to the 2016 season, Thorns FC have scored 87 goals at home, which ranks as the most goals by a team at home in the NWSL during that span.
Topics: