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Quotes & Notes | Portland Thorns FC 2, Sky Blue FC 1 | Aug. 22, 2018

Portland Thorns FC Quotes

Portland Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons

On how the team managed the game and whether it played out the way he had hoped…
“Well apart from the goal at the end there. A piece of quality from Killion [Sarah Killion]. I’m sure we’ll find ways to wonder how it got into the area. But what was different about us managing this game was, we got the second goal. But what they did in the last 10, 12 minutes last time here was that they created really good opportunities inside our 18-yard box. They got behind our back line. So we managed that really well. We weren’t giving that away. We were a lot more disciplined. We had a lot more balance. We managed to continue the attack and try to create chances but keep our balance in transition, or keeping our balance and keeping the ball in the final third and when we lose it, winning it back early. I thought it was going to be only set pieces that were going to cause us the problem because they had a couple earlier in the game that were decent. Sinc [Christine Sinclair] was screaming at one of the drink breaks, ‘No more set pieces!’ Don’t let them have a look because everything else was under control and then a piece of quality. It’s just a reminder that at any moment in this league, anything can happen because a lot of good things happened tonight. A lot of really good things in the way that we came out of the blocks in the first half. We set ourselves that challenge. We were disappointed in how the last two or three games were in the first half. It was an electrifying start. It just lacked a couple of goals. It could have been two or three by halftime. But to respond, to come out for the second half, get that goal, which we didn’t manage last time, and being very professional about our performance was important. It’s very important this late in the season because every moment matters right now.”

On the performance of Caitlin Foord…
“I thought she probably got some yards on every single one of their defenders on the back line and maybe some midfielders. She’s going to want to have a couple of the opportunities back, but for us, what we stress for her is to work hard and do the things that she loves to do. Put ourselves in those positions. For me, I thought she did a really important job for us in those first 60 minutes. She was occupying so much defensive pressure and defenders. So many people were attracted to her. She’s got it all with her strength and her ability to get on the dribble and to combine. So I’m excited for her to obviously keep growing and keep improving. I know she’s a winner. I know she’s going to be frustrated that she didn’t have a couple of chances or a couple of those moments. But there’s not many players in this league that can take on a whole back four and I thought she did it when she came on against Chicago [on Saturday]. She did it again tonight. We keep growing. She’ll get another opportunity here on Saturday [against the Washington Spirit], whether it’s from the start or she comes off the bench. Let’s keep pushing her forward.”

On the team’s energy from the start of the match…
“Really strong. They dropped off in a bit of a lower block at first so there weren’t as many duels as there were on Saturday against Chicago, but what we needed to do with the ball, what we did really well was our movement and our aggression when we had the ball. Our movement off the ball to support it and stretch their back line. I thought Sinc [Christine Sinclair] and Tobin [Heath] did a great job in getting in between lines. We wanted to find them face up and they did that throughout that first half. We created the chances. Unfortunately, we just didn’t take advantage. This night was about a strong performance, I felt we did that, and it was also about getting three points, getting to the playoffs. Rest, recovery, fly tomorrow morning and ramp up for a huge game on Saturday.”

On clinching a berth in the playoffs…
“It’s the job description at this club – for players, for coaches to get to the playoffs. This is the most competitive NWSL playoff race that we’ve seen to date. For us, we’ve gone through a lot, like other teams have. There’s been a lot of challenges but we’re out the other side and climbing and probably finding our best. We’re competing and playing with all-around performances right now. To clinch is great, and obviously we’ll continue to chase a home playoff while it’s available. I think the chance is there. It’s going to be a tough game for Seattle on Saturday. For us, we have to stay focused on each other. It starts with recovery. If we go out and put in a really good performance away at D.C., we give ourselves an opportunity to do that.” 

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Lindsey Horan
General thoughts on the match…

“Very happy that we won. Obviously, it’s disappointing to concede the late goal, but we came out and wanted to win this game and we wanted to clinch a playoff spot. I just found out we did, so I think that’s huge. Every game counts right now. We’re going to keep moving forward and try to get three points in Washington. I’m very happy with the win.”

On clinching a 2018 NWSL playoff berth…
“I don’t ever feel like the pressure’s not on our back. Coming from last season where we were the champions, we want to come out and do something different this season. We want to be better and better. I think it has been a rocky season for us. We’ve had so many ups and downs. We’ve had so many big injuries. We’re still trying to fight and keep improving as much as we possibly can. It’s a relief in a way, but we want to keep going.”


Portland Thorns FC defender Emily Menges

On clinching a playoff berth…
“A sigh of relief. We have been a little bit up and down all season. We’ve hit our stride in the last few games. We’ve needed this to kind of set ourselves on the right course for the rest of the season.”

On the team’s performance at the start of the match, after a flat start to the match against Chicago last Saturday…

“We always said going into this game that we were going to win our individual battles. I think we can say that we did that, at least for the majority of the game. If we just stick to our basic principles, we can be such a good team.”

Notes:

  • Christine Sinclair tallied her 40th career NWSL goal, making her the third player in league history to reach the milestone.
  • Sinclair started her 50th consecutive match for Portland on Wednesday night. That is the longest streak for consecutive starts in club history. In the NWSL, only North Carolina’s Abby Erceg has started more consecutive matches.
  • Sinclair scored her ninth goal of the season in the match, establishing a new single-season career best.
  • Emily Menges started her 95th career game on Wednesday, which ranks as the second-most starts all-time in club history.
  • Emily Sonnett surpassed 5,000 career minutes played for Portland in the match. She is the fifth player in club history to play at least 5,000 minutes.
  • Caitlin Foord made her first career start for Thorns FC, appearing in her 50th career NWSL match.
  • Tobin Heath has tallied a point in four consecutive matches (2g, 3a).
  • Portland extended its home unbeaten streak to five matches (3-0-2).
  • Thorns FC have tallied a league-best 21 goals at home in 2018.
  • Portland has scored in 30 consecutive home matches, which is the longest active streak in the NWSL.
  • Thorns FC recorded their 10th win of the season, marking the fifth time in six seasons Portland won at least 10 matches, including each of the last three seasons under head coach Mark Parsons.
  • Portland has scored six goals in the first 15 minutes of matches, which ranks as the most in the league this season.
  • Thorns FC improved to 9-0-2 when scoring first in a match in 2018.
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