Tobin Heath, NWSL Championship, 092218
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Quotes & Notes | NWSL Championship | Portland Thorns FC 0, North Carolina Courage 3 | Sept. 22, 2018

Portland Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons
Overall thoughts on the match…
“Obviously, I’m proud of the heart and the effort. First half, Carolina was very good and I thought we could sneak in with just 1-0 down [into halftime]. That second goal made it a big challenge but going around the changing room during halftime, the belief was strong and the season and the last few games have gone this way. When you got players like Sinc [Christine Sinclair] and the troops working the way they were in the first half, while it wasn’t going our way, we were always in with a chance. That third goal was always going to be crucial. They obviously got it and it was uphill from there. But the character that we showed in the second half shows what this team is about and where this team is going in the future because to be in that position in the stadium with fans still giving it everything they’ve got, they keep pushing and they keep working. No one took their foot off the gas and it was unfortunate that the ball wasn’t going to bounce the way that we wanted to today. While we’ll over-analyze ourselves, we’ve got to say well done to the Courage because I thought they were very good. Their players worked hard and they executed and put us under a lot of pressure.”

On what made North Carolina difficult to beat…
“What today’s game presented was both teams were almost at full strength. Both teams [have been] doing well, finishing the season strong coming off [good] form and [we’ve seen] who’s the best across the league the last few games. This one made it a bit different than the [previous three meetings]. The first half didn’t quite click for us. The work rate, and it was led by Sinc…and really led by example. It wasn’t a lack of effort, wasn't a lack of character. I know when I watch it back, we’re going to find ways that we can help these players a little more in a lot of areas because that first half didn’t look the way that we thought and planned. The biggest regret is that I think we know that we can control some things that could’ve helped them a bit for [for this game] - it was a tough first half. Second half looked like what we hoped the first half would look like. We got in a rhythm there finishing our attacks. We just couldn’t find that goal that obviously taken the roof off [this stadium] and really got us rolling.”

Portland Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair
Overall thoughts on the match…
“[We’re] disappointed sitting here right now. Not many people get a chance to play in a championship game in front of their home fans. The fans were incredible again today. Like Mark said, congrats to North Carolina. I mean they walked through the league this year and made it very difficult for us today. Going down early it’s never easy, especially against this stingy defense they have. We just couldn’t create that golden opportunity that we usually do to get ourselves back into the game. It’ll take a while but I’m super proud of the team, staff and the whole organization, it’s been a great year.”

On what this day means for women’s soccer…
“I think that it’s a huge day for women’s soccer. I think this is hopefully what the future of the game will look like in this country. Here in Portland, we have the honor and privilege of playing in front of this crowd week in and week out and being a part of this organization. My only hope is that other cities and clubs in this league start to get that opportunity as well. We’re treated 100% like professionals and the professionals we are and everyone in this league deserves to be treated the same. This is the standard for women’s soccer in this country and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Lindsey Horan
On how she feels about the result…
"Yeah obviously very disappointed and a little heartbroken. In this whole season with the Thorns and everything we've done, I'm so proud of this team and we kept fighting that whole game, but credit to North Carolina, they're such a good team and what they put out there was incredible, and not a lot of people could stop them this year so credit to them.”

On what adjustments they made for the second half to get Lindsey more involved…
"Tried to go get on the ball as much as I could. It's a different game when it's a championship game so it's a lot more of counter-attack play and trying to get in and behind, and when we go down a goal and then two goals it's us trying to put it in their third as much as we could. I would've liked to have been on the ball more but it's what the game gives you."

Portland Thorns FC forward Caitlin Foord
On how the game wasn't going their way…
"Obviously a lot of calls didn't go our way, but nothing to blame there on that. All credit to North Carolina obviously they've been the best team all season and they showed that again today. It's disappointing when things aren't going your way but can't take anything away from what they've done and how they've played.”

On what the fans in Portland mean for the team and the game…
"It's incredible, they're by far the best fans in the world and obviously they showcased that today and we're very lucky to play in this city and have the support we do. It's definitely the bench mark and they're setting the standard for football around the world in the women's game."

Portland Thorns FC defender Meghan Klingenberg
On what the fans mean to her…
"I started tearing up a bit, not necessarily because we lost, I mean that does suck but you know you lose in life, it's more about having these people around and it's almost like having your family behind you at the game and when you let yourself down it's one thing but when you feel like you've let your family down it's something different. So, it's pretty emotional, but having them behind us is one of the best things in the world and I know they're going to turn up next season for every game and make it hard to play here so I can’t thank them enough. I'm really grateful that we have that type of support, I'm really grateful we have that type of family, and hopefully I'm around next year to enjoy it."

Notes:

  • Tobin Heath and Christine Sinclair are the only players in club history to appear in all three NWSL Championship matches for Thorns FC.
  • Sinclair and Heath have appeared in all eight NWSL playoff matches for Thorns FC since the team’s inaugural campaign in 2013.
  • Sinclair appeared in her fifth career women’s professional soccer final (3 NWSL, 2 WPS).
  • Andressinha, Ana Crnogorcevic, Ellie Carpenter, Celeste Boureille, Caitlin Foord and Midge Purce all played in their first NWSL Championship match on Saturday.
  • The 2018 NWSL Championship at Providence Park featured the largest crowd (21,144) for a U.S. women’s professional soccer championship match, including WPS and WUSA, surpassing the previous record of 21,078 fans set at the 2001 WUSA Championship match
  • The five largest crowds for an NWSL playoff match have been at Providence Park (2018 NWSL Championship, 2018, 2017, 2016 NWSL semifinal, 2015 NWSL Championship).
  • Andressinha made her first career NWSL playoff appearance in the match, logging 22 minutes as a substitute.
  • Portland played in front of its second sellout crowd of the 2018 season (21,144) and the sixth sellout overall in team history.
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