Amandine Henry, Thorns vs. Chicago, 6.22.16
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Quotes & Notes | Portland Thorns FC 2, Chicago Red Stars 0 | June 22, 2016

Portland Thorns FC Quotes

Portland Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons
Overall thoughts on the game…
“I thought it was a very professional and smart performance. It’s tough to play with that defensive discipline at home. You want to press high. You want to go at teams. It suited us to be a bit patient with our defending and where we defended. That means Chicago was going to have a bit more of the ball where at home you don’t want anyone to have the ball apart from us. So, we had to be smart and professional. I think that played into our hands big time in the first half. We countered them, got set pieces, and we got a goal off countering them. We countered and got a corner for the goal. So it was a smart and professional performance. Chicago are an exceptional team. They’re very well coached. They’re very organized and going into the first Chicago game two weeks ago, we were very open against a team that’s one of the most organized teams that we’re going to face. They’re very disciplined and they work for each other. So, to pull out a 2-0 victory, we felt we left some points in Chicago. We should’ve won that game. To manage the game the way we did tonight, I think was important.”

On Amandine Henry’s performance…
“We felt that when we have Amandine (Henry) and Allie (Long) on the ball good things happen, and most times in this league you have to be patient to get your good players on the ball. They (Chicago) did a really good job of high pressuring our center midfield. Their four collapses into four center mids and they did a good job on us. When we got Amandine involved, you saw her class and she also does the horrible stuff, the physical work. It was a luxury at the end to be able to get her out. This has been a fast transition for her, a lot of travel, and every second she’s not training she’s adjusting to the city and getting things in her apartment and taking care of life. So, to get her off, extra recovery before Orlando, I think was a cool luxury to have at that part of the game. She’s doing great. I can’t wait to see her out there on Sunday again.

On Amandine’s impact on the NWSL…
“Yeah, I think there are some high-quality players that are in this league, with Seattle bringing Naho [Seattle Reign FC forward Nahomi Kawasumi] back, that’s another fantastic signing. The thing with Amandine that is different is that she’s at the top of her game. She’s at her peak. She’s only 26, and she’s got so much more to come. And, when you listen to her talk, she wants to come here because she thinks it’s going to challenge her in a way she hasn’t been challenged before and because of that she’ll be able to grow and learn. So, while we’re all so happy to have this great person and great player, she’s super happy to be here. She thinks this will help her push forward, and I think other players will start looking at that now and say, ‘Look there’s more and more players wanting to come to the league because every week is a massive game.’ When someone said to me before this game, ‘Oh it’s a huge game, top of the table.’ I said, ‘Where have you been? It’s been like this since the first game of the season.’ It really has, every game has been this way. I remember Boston away at the start of the season, huge game, we can’t slip up at this part. Washington away straight after it, every game, and I think Amandine and many other top professionals in these other leagues, I think they see that and they value being pushed every week.”

On Amandine integrating with the group…
“Yeah, incredibly well. A lot of it has been down to her and our amazing team, a team full of people with great massive hearts, who care for each other and we went after and want to keep those players. Amandine, one of the key things when we were speaking to her, she asked a lot about the team and what’s the values of the team. When I told her, she said she was in heaven and to be honest I was as well, that she’s that type of person. She wants to be around people. She wants to invest her time in making strong relationships and friends in the team environment, and we’ve got a whole changing room full of that and I think because of that there’s been some real tough games for us and they’re only going to get harder. Sometimes we scratch and claw. Tonight was a very good, professional performance. Sometimes we’ve clawed our way out of games because of that togetherness, because we’ve got people who just want to work. You look at [Hayley] Raso and [Mallory] Weber, they haven’t played loads of minutes and when they come on, I thought they were amazing and sharp and added another layer, another level to our performance. It shows that everyone is all in, and I think that’s what it’s going to take. We’ve got Orlando for our next game. It’s going to be a tough one, straight back on the road to the east coast.”

On his expectations against Orlando…
“We have to be professional again. We’ll have a look at Orlando tomorrow night. They’re in a situation where they’re desperate to pick up points. We’ve got to go in there and play to our strengths and do what we can to grab the result that we need.”

On the backline’s performance…
“We’re talking about Amandine and Tobin [Heath] and Lindsey [Horan] and [Christine] Sinclair, three games in a row for Sinclair on the scoresheet which is freaking superb. She’s on fire, which is great for us, scary for the other countries at the Olympics, because she’s just warming up. But, our backline has been unbelievable, freaking superb. It starts with Emily Menges, and Emily Sonnett, who has been by far the best rookie of the season and she keeps getting better, and this is only 70-80 percent of Emily Sonnett. She’s got a long, long way to go to keep moving forward, but she’s been important to us and she leads our line from center back as a rookie, which is exceptional. Then, you’ve got on the side [Meghan] Klingenberg and Katherine Reynolds, two unbelievably experienced people and players. Kling does a massive job with keeping us organized in the backline but also further up the pitch. Tonight, we were under some pressure and those four players, with a lot of help from everyone else and Michelle [Betos], who jumped back in goal, our backline and our defending has been a reason we’re in a good position. And, we keep reminding them and keep stressing that the things we do off the ball, how we work and how we defend, it sets us up to do the cool things, the sexy things going forward. But, without them, we can’t do that.”

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Amandine Henry
with a French interpreter present
On how she felt starting her first game for Thorns FC…
“The first game in this stadium was amazing. We win, is more important. The atmosphere is fantastic. I’m so happy to have played this match.”

On whether she was nervous playing her first game at Providence Park…
No, a little stressed at the beginning, but the girls put me at ease right away.”

On how she felt she played with the team, and how she felt the team’s chemistry was with her…
“I felt good, really good. I still have a little time to get used to things.”

On whether she was disappointed not to get the goal, instead assisting forward Nadia Nadim on Thorns FC’s second goal…
“I’m so happy. It’s Nadia [Nadim] who touches the ball. We scored, it’s great.”

On the play that led to her assist on Nadia Nadim’s goal…
“Lindsey [Horan] tried to head the ball before me and some of the players pushed her forward. And I was behind and I just went whoosh [flicks head].”

On the celebration from the fans after the match…
“We felt the crowd behind us, fully behind us, and so we really wanted to win it.”

On the level of play she’s seen in the NWSL so far in the league…
“It’s great. It’s more athletic, and in France it’s more technique. But, the intensity of the game is higher here.”

Portland Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair
On her thoughts on the game overall…
“I thought we played pretty well. I thought that when we went forward we looked dangerous, and our back line and Meesh [Thorns FC goalkeeper Michelle Betos] played really well to get a shutout against a quality team like Chicago. We’re a little disappointed that we didn’t put them away. I thought we had a chance to put them away there in the second half and we just couldn’t get that third goal.”

On adding Amandine Henry to the team’s lineup…
“She’s incredible. She’s fit in so smoothly into our team. I like to think that we’re a nice bunch, that we’re welcoming, but you add one of the best players in the world into your team, it’s going to make a difference. Like you saw tonight, she fits perfectly into what we’re trying to do, and she’s just a great person and phenomenal soccer player.”

On how Henry fits into the team and what she brings to the team…
“She’s just one of those players that wants to get on the ball. You give it to her and she’s going to create something. She does the simple things well. She always finds the easy pass and moves the ball quickly. Her soccer IQ is off the charts. She’s going to add a lot to our team and she’s only been with us a week. So I think that’s just the start of things to come.”

On the adjustments the team made since its last match against Chicago…
“We actually didn’t make too many adjustments. I mean, obviously, you add Amandine [Henry] into your team it’s going to help, but we felt in Chicago it was two points that we let get away, and we were pretty disappointed, especially the second half of that game. Tonight, we got the early goal and we were able to get a second one when we were still flying. In this league, you get up two goals and it’s hard to come back.”

On her goal in the sixth minute…
“I don’t know exactly what happened – ball over the top, or cross – and [Chicago defender] Julie [Johnston] just took a touch. I don’t think she thought I was there. She sort of just dribbled right into me and I was just like, ‘thank you’ [laughs].”

On what she saw that made the team able to create chances in the match…
“It actually wasn’t in their back line or their defending, it was more what we were doing offensively. I thought we were moving the ball pretty well. I think we have some pretty talented players, which helps. It just seemed like every time we were able to break their press, since they’re a pressing team, we were able to create something on the switch, which we focused on all week.”

On what she expects from the team’s next match on the road against Orlando…
“I’m not sure. You know, obviously, I wasn’t here for the first game. I think it will be a big crowd. They’re a talented team. With Alex [Orlando forward Alex Morgan] in the roster, they’re always capable of scoring goals. But we just need to focus on ourselves. If we play to the way we can, then not many teams in this league can touch us.”

Notes:

  • Midfielder Amandine Henry earned her first career start and made her home debut in the match, while tallying her first career assist for Portland.
  • Thorns FC are unbeaten in their first 10 matches this season – tied for the second-longest unbeaten streak in league history (FC Kansas City – 2013).
  • Portland ranks first in the league in goals scored (14) and has also surrendered the fewest goals in the NWSL (5) this season.
  • Wednesday’s match marked the fourth time in the last five games Thorns FC have faced the team at the top of the standings heading into the week. Portland claimed 10 out of the possible 12 points in those four matches.
  • Portland recorded its 20th win at Providence Park in the match (20-10-7) and is unbeaten in its last seven home matches (6-0-1), dating back to the 2015 season.
  • Defender Emily Menges played her 50th career match for Portland becoming just the fourth player in club history to reach that milestone along with Allie Long, Christine Sinclair and Mana Shim.
  • Thorns FC improved 4-1-6 in the all-time series against Chicago, including a mark of 2-1-2 at Providence Park.
  • Forward Christine Sinclair has tallied six goals in 10 career games against Chicago.
  • Menges and forward Nadia Nadim are the only two players to start every game this season for Portland.



 

Topics: