Providence Park, Thorns v Reign, 07.05.19

Portland Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons

Thoughts on his team’s performance…
“The first half was a great start to the game in getting into areas. We were missing the final pass or final cross for large periods of the first half. We started to find that in the last 10-12 [minutes] when we took over the last 10-12 minutes of the first half. Then we were just missing the touch, the finish, the piece of quality and goals change games. Watching us after the goal, obviously shows that we’ve got a good amount of work to do. Disappointed to concede the goal in the way we did as well. Second time in two goals where a set-piece has found its way in the back of the net. Second and third balls bouncing around. It’s an area where we’re strong. It’s an area that we’re very good at and we’re normally a team that takes advantage. That goal changed the game and we started scrambling. We tried to occupy and take advantage of some spaces, different spaces and changing shape and making player changes. Unfortunately we didn’t ever land on the same page tonight offensively. It’s been a while since we’ve had a team sit in after getting a lead and it was a new look for us to deal with and it starts with me. A nice wakeup call for us to know we want to improve and want to get better. There was going to one, maybe one goal in this game, maybe two if we’re lucky and it should have been us being the home team. Credit [Reign FC]. They came in and did a very professional job of nullifying us and grabbing a goal out of nothing.”

On trying to maintain momentum from the first half into the second half…
“I wish the first half was a bit longer, yeah. We just really got going there the last 5-10 [minutes]. But we came in and we had an opportunity to highlight the areas that were making us successful to keep them going. I thought we were just getting into our stride in the second half and going towards that end, the best fans. It’s always lively. Sucker punched us there and we started chasing. The game turned into a game where we had to have good relationships, good connections and good quality and that’s the last thing we’re probably going to have tonight with players coming back in from new systems. It’s great to have quality and experience, but it’s crying out for good relationships and connections. That starts with me making sure that we get to work this week in the central and final third. How to move people, how to break people down to create chances. It got to the point in the end where we obviously got desperate cause it wasn’t happening and we wanted to get that ball in the box and try to force something as the relationships weren’t there that normally are. Credit to [Reign FC]. They did well, especially that last 15-20 [minutes] as we started to put some pressure. They nullified us to one or two half chances.”

On if he’s concerned about his team breaking down defenses that sit back…
“I wouldn’t say concerned. Tonight we struggled. Against Utah, I felt like we had the looks we needed. We just didn’t have the quality. We lacked intensity. Tonight we had lots of intensity. We’re just missing some movement. Missing movement off the ball and how we’re rotating. We weren’t rotating and supporting each other off the ball as well as we want to and need to when we’re at home and playing against good teams and good back lines. I felt like we kept trying different things to get momentum and nothing was sticking there. Credit to [Reign FC] for being organized. At the same time I thought the first half was good looking. Thought we dragged them and stretched them. [Megan] Oyster and [Lauren] Barnes spent a lot of time outside the areas they want to be in. Just didn’t have the moment to be able to change the game in our favor. Second half it was a new look. You can see by possession, the fact that we had 53 percent possession hasn’t been us for four, five, six games. We like to be able to hurt teams when we move the ball in quick, direct, positive, purposeful attacks. We got asked a different question tonight and we’ve got some work to do to make sure we solve that.”

On the attacking substitutions he made in the second half…
“There’s been times where I regret that we delayed as long as we have to make a change, whether it’s a player change or formation change. There’s a couple players I wish could get on the field tonight. There’s a couple players that wish there were a few more subs because they’ve shown quality and given us looks in the central, final third that we needed tonight and couldn’t make those. Previously just felt like we took a bit long to react. Utah was one game. We waited until the last 10-12 minutes to make a change, to take some different spaces in the attack. We knew [Reign FC] away from home, third game in a row, if they grabbed a goal they were always going to drop off and sink in. Wanted to make sure we weren’t delayed in trying to take advantage of that.”

Portland Thorns FC defender Emily Menges
On the team's feeling of the result...

“A loss at home sucks. It's tough because you're super confident going into it, but you know, we're starting to get players back, it's hard to transition into players coming and going. They came with everything, we came with everything and tonight they came out on top.”

On the team being on the same page with players coming back from the World Cup...
“We have a foundation that we have grown here that people know what we're doing, we know how we've been playing. It's not like anybody is brand new. So I think it's less of that and more of just trying to remember how to play together.”

On the team's defensive effort tonight...
“I think we shut them down a lot. We knew what they were doing and would always stretch us wide. That's good for us. We were super aggressive getting Kling [Meghan Klingenberg] up, getting Ellie [Carpenter] up. I think, it's hard without watching it back to pinpoint anything that might have gone wrong. It just didn't feel like our absolute best performance and so we just have to come in tomorrow, watch it back, learn from it and move on.”

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Dagny Brynjarsdottir
On how players returning to the team influenced the chemistry and game...

“I don't necessarily think it influenced the game. We’ve been dealing with this almost every season and I think the staff does a pretty good job of dealing with it. I just think maybe we didn't show up sharp enough when the game started and we couldn't create that many chances and shots on goal, but I don't think it influences the game that much.”

On the challenges of breaking down the Reign FC defense...
“They were good tonight. They were really tight in the center, so maybe looking back I wish we would've used the width a little better, used our wingbacks a little more. Maybe we should've used the width a little bit better and gotten some more crosses in.”

On the different challenges of breaking down teams on the road versus at home...
“I think maybe just more challenging like obviously we have to travel a long way so I always think it's important to just get our bodies right and get sharp and stuff. So maybe that's why sometimes it's hard obviously to play on the road, the travel is so long. But I mean, I think it's not really a big difference. I mean we always, we want to keep the ball and we want to counter-attack. Sometimes we want to sit back. I think no matter if we play at home or away, we always go for the three points.”

On the team's play 10 minutes prior to the halftime whistle...
“Reign started the game better. They were sharper when they came out there. It took us a little too long to get into the game. And I wish just when we had the momentum, we would've like done a better job around the goal.”


  • Caitlin Foord, Hayley Raso and Christine Sinclair made their first appearances for Thorns FC since returning from the Women’s World Cup. Sinclair started and logged 90 minutes, while Foord played 50 minutes and Raso logged 40 minutes as a substitute.
  • Ellie Carpenter, Foord, Sinclair, Raso and Andressinha all made their 2019 debuts at Providence Park in the match.
  • Meghan Klingenberg and Katherine Reynolds both started for an 11th consecutive match. Klingenberg and Reynolds are the only two players to start every match for Thorns FC this season.
  • Midge Purce appeared in her 50th career NWSL match.
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