Parsons, Thorns vs. FCKC, 7.9.16
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Quotes & Notes | Portland Thorns FC 1, FC Kansas City 2 | July 9, 2016

Portland Thorns FC Quotes

Portland Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons
Overall thoughts on the match…
“I think there’s been a few times this season where we’ve had a large period of the game where we weren’t doing some of the basic things that we like to do, and that was the first half for us. So, we’ve felt that before and I think the reaction in the second half was really good. We weren’t happy with the first half, and I think we also tweaked a couple of tactical things that would’ve helped us earlier if I had done it earlier. So, we’ve got to improve that and we will. The reaction from the group was strong. In the second half, that second goal was a bit of a sucker punch. I felt like we started to get the ball into good areas. We started to move them around, and we also knew that they were starting to drop off physically once we got close to the 60th minute. We never really got to see the game for what it could be, so disappointed with the first half. To see a really, really young and unexperienced group to concede two, which has never happened for us this season, and to then finish the game the stronger team. Suddenly you start racking up shots and opportunities that I think we can be really pleased with and really proud of. I think that’s important and a really big platform for us to build on going into Houston next week. I think we can have an emotional reaction in being better across the board, but also I think this can set us up to be tactically tighter because I think you saw there at the end, taking the game to Kansas City, we definitely looked better.”

On if the result will strengthen the squad…
I think it’s the performance because we’ve had a few of these. Our mindset has never been fixated on what that end result is. We’re so focused on what we do and how we do it and I think the disappointment that we’ll feel from the first half is where we’ll see this big reaction, this emotional reaction, because we all want to be better, including me and the staff. Also, we’ll take confidence from the second half. I think the disappointment from the first half and the disappointment we couldn’t make something happen in the second half when we had a lot of the ball, a lot of momentum. I think every time we step out on this pitch, it means a lot to each player and as a coach to be able to see that, it was the first time in my career I’ve felt this vibe where anyone who steps on is going to give you everything for every second. There’s a few of them that didn’t have anything left at the end and they looked as sharp as anyone. Mallory Weber, you look at her on the right wing, she’d been defending all game and suddenly she was the most energetic player on the pitch for 20 or 30 minutes. She just took off and she looked really dangerous, so I’m really proud of that reaction that we had at the end of the game. We’ll all be disappointed but it’s a great chance for us to bounce back from that next week.”

On Hayley Raso’s development…
“I think a trend across all the roster is that a lot of players are playing extremely, extremely well and it’s down to what they’ve put in. I think Hayley and many others, if not all of them, I think they’re all in a good place because of the way they address and prepare for training and what they put into training and games. Raso has been an extremely dangerous player, the last two or three games, specifically, with more minutes. Tonight, we felt if we could get her on the ball a few more times then we could see their back open a few more times and it did when we got it to her. But, she’s grown a lot in only three or four months. She’s not the player she was when she came in and that’s down to her, and I feel like that’s the case with a lot of these players. A lot of them are in such a great place because they’ve worked really hard. They’ve focused and they’ve put in so much effort to everything that we do, fully dedicated and committed themselves to putting the team first. When you put the team first, the team succeeds. The team moves forward, and the individual does, and Hayley and many others have been doing that all season.”

On the 12-game streak ending…
“We look at Houston next week, there’s things that we weren’t happy with tonight. Our energy and our first wasn’t what it always is in the first half. Our energy is something that we pride ourselves on. That’s something that has been fixed already. They’re sitting in the changing room, they know that is going to be better next week. But, also tactically, I think we can be a bit more adventurous and a bit more attacking because we get confidence from what we look like when we did that tonight. So, we’re staying focused on what lies ahead, Houston away. Nothing else matters apart from that game. We have a bit of a shorter week with the travel. We’ll prepare and train very well and be ready to put Houston the back foot.”

Portland Thorns FC defender Emily Menges
On how the team feels after having its 12-match unbeaten streak snapped…
“As nice as it is to win, I think we learn from this. We weren’t happy with our performance in the first half – second half we came out way stronger, way better intensity, and I think that’s what we’re focusing on is that transition. When we’re not playing so well, can we rally? Can the players on the field get the job done? And in the second half I think we were the better team.”

On the team’s response in the second half, and using that as momentum going into its next match…
“We are better than we even played in the second half. We’re a good team. We’re a very good team, and I think we haven’t even shown how good we actually are. So I think coming out to Houston, we’ll have a new fire lit under us and we’ll be ready to go for sure.”

On how the result will strengthen the team moving forward…
“It always helps to get knocked down and to get back up. You learn way more when you lose than when you win. So I think the things we were kind of just sitting on while we were winning and winning, we can now go back, reevaluate and move forward.”

On the new players who have played well in place of the missing international players, particularly Hayley Raso and Mallory Weber…
“They’ve been awesome. Everyone has. We’re missing great players, but the players who have now come to step onto the field are just as much part of the team as the players who are gone, and they’ve been here since the beginning just like all.”

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Mana Shim
On how the team feels after having its 12-match unbeaten streak snapped…
“Pretty good, actually. I think we had a consistent performance as far as our work rate at the end of the game. We got opportunities, it just didn’t fall in our favor today. I think it’s another building block, and it’s a different opportunity to learn new things. But the team is more together than ever before, and I think that we really believe in each other and what we’re doing.”

On what the team can learn from the game going forward…
“We’ll talk about that, but I think that just playing a little bit better and keeping the ball more. Executing the game plan just a little bit better – I think that the effort was there, but we didn’t, especially early on, we dug ourselves a hole. So I think, try not to do that the next game and that’s pretty much it.”

On the interchanging positioning within the team’s midfield…
“There was a ton of rotation tonight and I think that that’s something we worked on a lot. I think all of our midfielders – the players who are here, and the players who are away with the national teams – everyone in the midfield likes to play, and we all have different strengths. It’s super cool that [Thorns FC head coach] Mark [Parsons] and all the players buy into that movement, and seeing what the chemistry is like on the day. Every look is going to be different, and I think that we were able to adjust and find our rhythm in there and I think we’ll just keep doing that. Everyone brings something different, and at different times in the game tonight we needed something different in that midfield so that’s why we did that.”

On how the team’s disappointment in the loss can help the team moving forward…
“I think it’s just going to fuel the fire some more. I honestly cannot imagine a single thing rattling this group because it’s that strong. Today we didn’t get the result, but I think that each player individually is a little bit bummed with themselves. We all could have done a little bit better here and there, and that’s soccer, it’s not a perfect game. So I think that’s what we’ll take from today. Each individual will work a little bit harder, but as a group, tactically I think that we’re spot on and we’ll just keep building from here.”

Notes:

  • Thorns FC’s 12-game unbeaten streak stands as the second-longest unbeaten streak in the league history and the longest unbeaten streak in the history of the club.
  • Defender Kat Williamson scored her first career NWSL goal, returning to the field for the first time since suffering a knee injury on April 23 against FC Kansas City, making her 45th career appearance for Thorns FC.
  • Portland has scored seven goals this season in the final 15 minutes of matches.
  • Thorns FC have scored six goals off set pieces this season.
  • Defender Jennifer Skogerboe made her Thorns FC debut in the match.
  • Defender Katherine Reynolds earned her 70th career NWSL in the match.
  • Saturday’s match marked Portland sixth straight match with a goal.
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