Christine Sinclair and Nadia Nadim, Thorns vs Spirit, 090217
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Quotes & Notes | Portland Thorns FC 4, Washington Spirit 0 | Sept. 2, 2017

Portland Thorns FC Quotes

Portland Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons
General thoughts on the game…
“It was a hot one for both teams and the two teams stayed in there. They kept their defensive responsibilities, so well done to all the players on the field today with the heat.”

On the importance of scoring the first goal of the match…
“We felt that it was going to be the first half that was toughest. They had just played Wednesday, and we’ve been there. We’ve played on a Wednesday coming into a Saturday going up against a good team. You’re used to the fast intensity and you often fly out the gates. It’s later on that the fatigue kicks in. It was reverse today. We controlled the first half and we scored the important goal. In the second half, we thought the game would open up and we could take more control. We did well. We kept going forward and kept trying to create opportunities. We couldn’t match what we did in the first half, which is a shame, but we’re in that position of thinking that because the players did so well in the first 45.”


On Allie Long starting at forward today…
“She’s great at going forward, while creating and scoring goals. What Amandine [Henry], Lindsey [Horan] have been doing with Sincy [Christine Sinclair] in the back five, it’s really tough to find room. Against Seattle, everyone played unbelievably well. Allie came on and did really well. With the opening in the front line, due to [Hayley] Raso’s suspension, rather than overcomplicate this and start moving people around, I think we had a good chat with Allie about taking this opportunity and getting her in front of goal. It’s cool to see her that high up. She’s often a box-to-box [midfielder] for us and has responsibility in helping us build and then gets into the attack. It’s good to see her up there and obviously it’s a completely different look for the opposition to look at and it’s a different one for us. As the game went on, Allie really found the time when we had possession low and she could drop in and help us with the ball. Or once we were rolling, she was on their backline looking for the ball in behind. When we got wide, she was a constant threat. I think it was a good opportunity to see her in a different position.”

On the depth of the squad helping the team…
“We’re going to be in attacking games now with a lot of bodies [coming back]. [Hayley] Raso, and Tobin [Heath] is getting closer. I think we did well today. We can’t forget that we didn’t have Katherine Reynolds until halfway through the season. We were going into the first six to 10 games with sometimes two healthy field subs. Coxy, [Meghan Cox], who is now at Houston, did an important job for us early. Celeste [Boureille] was playing at fullback. We had players getting in and being professional and helping this team stay in this race. I don’t want us as staff and players to forget that we’re in this position now. The pressure is on for everyone to perform, but it’s taken a lot, and everyone else has had some issues and not had their full roster and not everyone has been able to claw through like we did. That shows the character of this group of players. Sincy [Christine Sinclair] got the goals today and was great again. Washington did a good job of keeping her out of the game. When we got her in the game, she got her goals and she was the one tracking back and winning the challenge and showing that character that this squad has consistently shown. It puts us in this good position. We want to keep moving forward, keep charging on and keep the form going while we head into this final stage.”

On defender Emily Menges being subbed off…
“With the international break last year, we had the opportunity to manage more athletes. Menges is often someone who picks up injuries towards the end of the year, previous to us coming in here, and it’s one that we’ve identified. We haven’t had those breaks this year and we’re still alert to the fact that she covers more ground than almost anyone every training session. She covers more ground than anyone in every game. She’s an athlete that needs to be managed. If we scored the fourth goal earlier, she would’ve come out earlier. If I was thinking about what you just told me, we wouldn’t have brought her out because it’s only 10 minutes left in the match. We were thinking about what would happen to our backline if we suddenly lost Menges. We can’t take that risk. I’m pissed her streak ended because she’s earned it.”

On the backline shutting down Washington…
“If you look at the way we work, it’s everyone. It starts at the front. Our forwards are the first defenders and what happened today is that our frontline couldn’t get as much pressure like we did at Seattle on the ball higher up. That meant the back three, four, five were having to step out of the back line and coming up the field to get pressure because Mallory Pugh and [Estefania] Banini were getting in those pockets. [Ashleigh] Sykes and Kling [Meghan Klingenberg] have been unbelievably important to keeping our energy high, to keeping us on the front foot and make us a pressing team. Having Katherine Reynolds back is a game changer with [Emily] Sonnett and [Emily] Menges, those players have been together for two years. We call it simple, basic defending at a world-class consistent level. We continue to strive to try and continue improving that.”

Portland Thorns FC goalkeeper Adrianna Franch
On getting the shutout today…
“Doing the same thing – continuing to go at it until the final whistle blows. We tried to play with the ball even towards the end and tried to find attacking options and we did that. We still got shots off, even past the 90th minute. That’s the way you get clean sheets is by continuing that attacking mindset. That means you always have the ball, you’re always going forward. It doesn’t come back into the back line as often. When it did, our back line took care of the job.”

On potentially securing a playoff spot tomorrow…
“A lot of us keep an eye on games throughout the season anyway. We’re invested in this. This is our job, our career and we’re able to do our own analyzation of each game as it’s being played so I’m sure we’re going to be watching it. It doesn’t stop here. We’ve got to continue to go. This was a good game. We did what we were supposed to do right now. We’re going to go into recovery mode and work for the next game for Boston.”

On the goals of the team for the rest of the season…
“We’ve had goals from the beginning of the season. The only way you reach those goals is by continuing to work for them. Once you’ve reached one, you set another one, but we’ve hit goals and we’ll continue to do so as long as we continue this momentum, this mindset and the passion.”

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Lindsey Horan
On breaking down the Washington Spirit…
“I think the Spirit try to play good soccer and it was hard for us at times. They came in the first 15 minutes and they were knocking it, and we had to find the ball more and get our players on it. We ended up doing so and it was a well-fought game. In the end, we ended up scoring and getting the momentum and it kept moving forward throughout the game.”

On the first goal shifting the momentum of the match…
“Washington is a very hard team to play and that first goal was so important for us. I think it calmed us all down and it kind of got us going as well. We got confident and we were playing. We were knocking it and everyone was doing their job. It looked great.”

On the performance of Christine Sinclair…
“I love her. It’s wild to me. Everyone should look up to a player like that. She makes things look so easy. They’re not easy whatsoever. We get her the ball inside the pocket with three people on her and she gets out of it. She makes plays. She’s a very experienced player and she’s one of the smartest players I ever played with. It’s awesome to see that and it’s so crucial for our team to play her in those spaces and know that we’re going to come out with the ball. Even if somehow she loses it when she has six people around her, she’ll get it back no matter what. That’s what’s awesome.”

Notes:

  • Portland set a new single-season record for home wins (9), while equaling the club’s mark for regular-season wins (12) set in 2016.
  • Thorns FC have won six consecutive home matches, outscoring opponents 14-2, while posting four shutouts in that span.
  • Forward Christine Sinclair scored her second brace of the season, recording the fourth brace of her Thorns FC and her fifth career multi-goal game.
  • Sinclair is now tied with Allie Long for the most goals in Thorns FC history (30), while also becoming the sixth player in league history to reach the mark. She is also tied for the fifth most goals in NWSL history.
  • Sinclair has now scored seven or more goals in three of her five NWSL seasons (2013, 2014, 2017).
  • Forward Nadia Nadim tallied her fifth goal of the season and added her third assist of the campaign.
  • Defender Emily Sonnett tallied her third goal of the season. All three of Sonnett’s goal have come off set pieces.
  • Nadim and Sonett are the third and fourth players (Hayley Raso, Tyler Lussi) this season to register a goal and an assist in the same match.
  • Nadim has now scored five or more goals in four consecutive NWSL seasons.
  • Defender Meghan Klingenberg recorded her sixth assist of the season, which is now tied for the second most in the NWSL in 2017.
  • Thorns FC scored three goals in the first half for the first time this season in the match. The last time Portland scored three goals in the first half was against Washington in May 2015.
  • The attendance for the match was 19,141, which is the second-largest attendance this season, and marks the second time Portland has had a crowd of more than 19,000 this season.
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