Thorns Defense, Thorns vs Royals, 07.06.18
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Quotes & Notes | Portland Thorns FC 4, Utah Royals FC 0 | July 6, 2018

Portland Thorns FC Quotes

Portland Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons

General thoughts on the match…
“It was a really good, strong performance and a strong result with a great score line, especially at home. [The crowd] felt like maybe the largest [this year] because the intensity was there. Credit to the players, I thought we came out with a lot of fire and bite and it was great to score early. The momentum and intensity that we decided to play with drove the rest of that first half on. It was a great first half and a professionally-managed second half.”

On the team hitting its potential and overcoming injuries...
“I was really proud of everyone that stepped in, people stepped into new roles. A lot of people stepped up big time with Midge [Purce] playing at left back for the first time. Everyone brought everything for 90 minutes and it was great to watch. [There was] maximum fire in the way we were on the ball and how we defended. This is a very good Utah team, their last few results showed that. It was probably our best and most complete performance.”

On the decision to deploy Midge Purce and Ellie Carpenter as fullbacks...
“Ellie has been playing really well there and improving and growing. Midge played a lot of wingback before her injury and a little bit of fullback in her last couple of games. Her role is to keep things defensively tight, get Tobin [Heath] on the ball and get after [people]. I thought she did all three in the first 45 and probably would've grown into it in the second half.”

On playing Ana Crnogorcevic as a fullback in the second half...
“We knew that [playing her there] was a good option because she's played left and right back on the international [level] in big games. She has loads of experience. We were thinking about it during the week. The only thing that made it hard to do was that Ana was outstanding for us in the No. 9. She ran [Utah's] back four ragged and her movement was smart. I don't think their back four could get a hold of Ana, so to move her and lose the hold-up play that she was giving [was hard]. What was more outstanding was her first-half performance. It's been three or four games now where she's been growing into this position as a nine for us. She gave freedom to those other players who could take advantage of her movement and have success with the ball.”

On coming away with the big win at this point of the season...
“It's important to us that we perform well, get a great score line and do that at home. We've earned the right to be in this type of position a few times and we've let it slip away. We've shown for 90 minutes how strong we can be. It's a platform that we can continue to grow. We get nine days until our next game. It's crucial to us, we now get to recover and train as a full roster for the first time this year. It's important that we perform for us, our mentality and confidence and we did that.”

On Tobin Heath's performance tonight...
“It's great to have her on the pitch. It's great to have her doing Tobin things and beating people any way she chooses. Her delivery was outstanding tonight, she put in some balls that were inviting for people to put into [the net]. It's great to have her back, [she is] an important person and player.”

On the performance from Portland's center backs and midfielders...
“When [Emily] Sonnett and [Emily] Menges play together we're a different team. It breeds confidence in the rest of the team and we've got two center backs that are key to us when playing at the same time. The midfield did a super job. Lindsey [Horan] was imposing as ever and good on the ball. Celeste [Boureille] did an important job in giving us balance in the midfield and doing some of the work that is hard to notice sometimes.”

Portland Thorns FC forward Tyler Lussi
On her goal shortly after being subbed into the match...

“I just came on and Lindsey [Horan] played a great ball through - I tried to stay onside. It got through and I just passed it into the net. It was my second touch [of the game]. I flicked a throw in to [Christine] Sinclair, she turned and passed it to Lindsey and I got the through ball. I can't remember if I ever did [score 30 seconds into a match] so it was pretty cool.”

General thoughts on the match…
“From the first touch of the ball to the last, we came out of the gates flying and continued throughout the entire game, even when [Utah] had a couple of chances at the end, we still kept fighting. It was a great team performance.”

On Tobin Heath's impact on the field…
“Her getting the goal early settled everybody down. We just took more chances and got more goals. We were up 3-0 at half and it was awesome.”

Portland Thorns FC forward Ana Crnogorcevic
What does it feel like getting a goal tonight
“Yea, finally, I’ve tried a few times to score here at home and finally I get it and I’m happy. But, the most important thing is that we get three points.”

You’ve been playing well and now you finally got a goal. How does a finish like that help your confidence going forward?
“I mean, we played well, the entire team, midfield and whoever came in like Tyler [Lussi] and Mal [Mallory Weber] they did a great job, we all did a great job. So it’s easy for me if we all play well.”

How did injuries affect the team today?
“I had a conversation with Mark this week, that we have some injuries and we didn’t have many defenders left. So I told Mark that if something happens, I can play left back or right full back. I hope Midge [Purce] is okay.”

How does it help you as a number nine when Tobin Heath is on one side of the field and Hayley Raso on the other side?
“It doesn’t matter who’s on the field, we have to play well and with a lot of confidence. Just to be brave and play forward well. That’s what we did, it doesn’t matter who’s on the field. Tyler and Mal did a good job, they came in and did a great job.”

Was there a little more desperation today after the game the team played last week? 
“I mean after the game against Seattle and the other game against Sky Blue, that was a good answer from the team. For us, for the coach, for the league and for the fans, they come out for us every game. Now we get this three points and Utah is a good team and we were able to score four goals. So we have to keep going like this and get three more points next week.”

What was the team mentality like heading into this game?
“We had a good start. After two minutes, it was really important to get that goal. It’s always easy to play after you score an early goal. We had a lot of confidence and we just kept going, trying to get the second and third goals. The team displayed a strong mentality from the defense to the offense."

Notes:

  • Thorns FC improved to 2-0-1 all-time against Royals FC, including a mark of 2-0-0 at Providence Park. Portland has outscored Utah 7-1 in those matches, while recording two shutouts.
  • Tobin Heath scored her third goal of the season, and her second goal against Utah in three matches in 2018.
  • Lindsey Horan registered her seventh goal of the season, which is tied for the most in the NWSL this season with Christine Sinclair and Crystal Dunn.
  • Horan has scored five of her seven goals at Providence Park this season, tallying three goals in her last four home matches.
  • Horan tallied her 16th career goal for Thorns FC, moving up to third-place all-time in career goals for the club.
  • Ana Crngorcevic, Heath and Horan all tallied a goal and an assist in the match, marking the first time this season three players on the same team have all recorded a goal and an assist in the same match.
  • Heath has two goals and two assists in three career matches against Royals FC.
  • Crnogorcevic and Horan each registered their second assists of the season becoming the fourth and fifth players to record multiple assists for Portland in 2018.
  • Heath has tallied a goal and three assists in her last four home matches.
  • Portland scored three goals in the first half for the fifth time in club history.
  • Horan tallied her eighth career header goal – the most header goals by a player over the last three seasons.
  • Portland’s second-minute goal was the earliest goal scored in a match by the team this season.
  • Tyler Lussi scored her first goal of the season becoming the eighth player to tally a goal for Thorns FC this season.
  • Playing in her third match of the season, defender Elizabeth Ball made her home debut.
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