Quotes & Notes | Portland Thorns FC 2, Seattle Reign FC 2 | May 6, 2017

Portland Thorns FC Quotes

Portland Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons

On the adjustments made at halftime…
“I think that [Meghan] Klingenberg coming in… It’s great to have her back on the field, and that’s not a knock on anyone else that wasn’t on the field. Having her do what she did tactically and technically got us out of our defensive third with positive first touches, and then her ability in the final third to create and combine – well, that was a great spark. It was the first time we’ve attacked toward the Riveters this year and that was a nice buzz. In the first half, when you concede in the first minute and it was a great strike, but it was weird how it came about – that shakes most teams. I thought we actually managed it well, but I think we just took our foot off the gas a little bit and we didn’t have as much pressure on the ball that we’d like to have. With our passing, we were a little bit cautious with our passing in the first half and the second half it felt like it was third, fourth, fifth gear. We turned it on and we really turned it on, on the defensive and the offensive side and it felt like some of the good soccer we played last year when we were full throttle. I thought it was going to take us another two or three more games to reach the stride we did in the second half, it’s just the way this league works and the time we get with the players and it’s great that we saw that. Great reaction, loved having Kling back, love seeing the team play with that freedom and with that fight and energy in the second half. Real shame we couldn’t come in [to halftime] at 1-1, they got that one just before halftime – two great goals for them just at the beginning of the game and just before halftime. Great reaction from the team, very proud.”

On the discussion he had with the team at halftime…
“It was the calmest halftime and conversation that we’ve had. As I left, one of the assistants said, ‘that’s the calmest that we’ve all been.’ Not just me, but the whole changing room. We knew we were going to be a lot better in the second half. We adjusted some tiny things, we let Linds [Lindsey Horan] and Sinc [Christine Sinclair] go after them, pressed higher and we also passed forward a lot more. We wanted to ask them to do that, and it was very calm. It was probably the easiest one, because there were only a couple of things to talk about and they were rearing to go. They just needed a breather and they wanted to get out in the second half and turn it on, which they did. It was great to watch and was a fun game to be a part of, two rivals, two good teams that play good soccer, play high energy soccer. I’m sure it was good for the neutrals and stressful for me and Laura [Harvey], but that’s what it’s all about.”

On whether or not there was an extra buzz in the air for the Seattle rivalry match…
“I think when you play Seattle, there is that energy right from the word ‘go’ and we talk about the opposition normally at the end of the week, but it’s hard to avoid who we are playing and the players we are playing against. I think it’s a great battle that both teams really embrace and with that energy, we try to keep the team calm for most of the week. Stay focused on tactics, stay focused on preparation and stay focused on what we’re going to do. Yesterday when we got the final touches on it and the team talk the players did before the game, yeah I knew they were going to be up for this a little bit more. They’re up for everything, but when you play Seattle in this stadium it’s special. Tried to keep them focused on the preparation, because the energy’s been there all week.”

On the play of defenders Emily Menges and Emily Sonnett
“I didn’t think anyone was going to talk about those two, because we get distracted and spend a lot of time in the final third. Their counter attacks were really dangerous and I thought Menges had some of the flashiest stops and blocks, but those two as a pair were outstanding. Especially in the second half when they were dealing with the counter attacks, in the first half we were dealing with them as a unit, there were four of us with some midfield support and second half sometimes it was just those two back there. They were very good. That center back pairing is pretty special. They’ve been great with the ball and getting us up the pitch, and defensively I pretended to play a long time ago, I wouldn’t want to go up against those two if I was up front, They work well together, they’re tenacious, they’re hard in the tackle, but they’re smart and athletic. They don’t let teams bully them in the defensive third.”

On trying to find an equalizer in the second half…
“I think Sinc did a lot of unselfish and tireless work. The linkup from Sinc was great tonight, we were just joking that we thought she was going to sneak one in near the end that got cleared off the line and it would’ve been well deserved, because of the way that she did a lot of unselfish work. When I mentioned Menges and Sonnett, I didn’t think we’d see mentioned, Sinc was the other one. She was great with her back to the goal, getting us in that area. It’s been tough in the final third, Nadia [Nadim] is coming back from injury and we’re building her minutes. [Hayley] Raso has had a few knocks, I thought Raso who was involved in both goals tonight was outstanding and last week was superb. Two 90-minute games after being out for a couple of weeks. In a way we’ve been missing Tobin [Heath], we’ve got Ashleigh Sykes coming in June, there’s going to be a lot of quality in the final third on this team and we’re excited to keep building on those pieces and having different options in the games.

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Allie Long
On her game-tying goal…
“It was just a great ball by Kling and she’s been working on that service. I kind of just had to fight to get up and win that ball and I didn’t know if it went in, but I was just really happy when I saw it cross the line.”

On the second-half changes…
“I think we were chasing the game, so we had to step up a little higher press. As a team, we kind of came together and were just like we can’t let them come in our home and physically think that they can just play around and do what they want with us. So we raised our physicality, we raised our level of pressure and we were chasing the game so we knew we had to empty the tank and just go.”

On the rivalry between the two clubs…
“This is like our El Clásico. It’s a battle and every 50-50, it’s not necessarily player versus player, it’s more like Portland versus Seattle every time. It’s good. We have the upmost respect for the players and the same from them.  It’s all for the good of the game, but we obviously want to win every single one.”

On forward Christine Sinclair…
“Sinc is very important and she does such a great job for us. She does a lot of work that no one recognizes or sees, but she’s always there to do it and hold it down and do her role really well. It doesn’t matter if she scores or not, she helps create so many more opportunities that are crucial.”

Notes:

·         Portland extended its regular-season home unbeaten streak to seven games (6-0-1).

·         Midfielder Allie Long recorded her 29th career goal for Thorns FC and her first of the 2017 season.

·         Long (95.2 %) is the first player since the beginning of last season to finish with a passing accuracy of better than 95 percent and 60 or more pass attempts in a match.

·         Defender Meghan Klingenberg registered her first career assist for Portland.

·         The match marked the 14th meeting all-time between Thorns FC and Reign FC. Portland improved to 4-1-3 all-time at Providence Park against Seattle.

·         Saturday’s attendance of 16,160 fans marked the 16th time Portland has surpassed 16,000 fans.

·         Defender Emily Menges started and played 90 minute for her 24th consecutive match.

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