Gabby Seiler, Thorns FC vs. Utah Royals FC, 06.21.19
Sam Ortega / Portland Thorns FC

Quotes & Notes | Portland Thorns FC 0, Utah Royals FC 0 | June 21, 2019

Portland Thorns FC Quotes

Portland Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons
On splitting the points against Utah Royals FC…
“The big positive is the defensive performance. I thought we were extremely solid in most areas and especially the backline. [Celeste Boureille] and Dagny [Brynjarsdottir] were great at the base of the midfield and Ana [Crnogorcevic] in dealing with [Utah’s] midfield. The backline was great and disciplined. [Katherine] Reynolds was excellent defensively with Gabby [Seiler], [Elizabeth Ball], [Meghan Klingenberg] and Kelli [Hubly]. It was great. Good defensive performance. Unfortunate that we didn’t have more about us tonight. We play Utah once at home. We play there twice. This was an important one for us. These players have been absolutely exceptional in this period. This is the fourth game of this period for them and they’ve been exceptional. Obviously carrying a bit of fatigue over and lacked some sharpness and also lacked some quality. It’s a shame because we waited a long time to come home. We’re going use this as fuel. We’ve got to find the most important things that have to be better and provide that support this week before we head out to Houston.”

On Utah’s defensive work against Portland tonight…
“The crosses and the shots. 18 shots and three on target. That’s not Thorns. It’s not what we’re about. It’s about providing opportunities in the final third to create quality. We just lacked, lacked a neat cross or the type of cross we want or the pass or the finish or the movement. We just lacked that one piece tonight at times. There were a few times I thought we were in and someone slipped and we’re in and it just goes wide. It was developing into a night where, ‘hey, it’s not gonna happen and we have to dig really deep’. Then it was probably going to come off someone’s earlobe or knee cap in the end. Or Utah could punish us. Especially in the first half, I thought we had a massive opportunity there in the first 45 [minutes]. I thought Utah were flatter than they have been and if we were just 90% we could have scored two, three, four goals. It’s a game you love to have at home. Credit to Utah. Thought they improved as the game went on and they had a bit of momentum for a period in the second half. We continued to look dangerous and just missed that touch, that cross, that pass, that run, that finish.”

On Midge Purce’s performance tonight…
“Midge was exceptional in all areas we asked of her. I think number one, she ticked a lot of team boxes tonight, but she also brought her personality and her quality. She can hurt people in different ways and she’s having a fantastic start to the season. Unfortunately, we didn’t have her earlier on. We wish we did. I thought she was our most dangerous player in the final third. When someone is playing like that you want to get them the ball in the right areas as often as possible. We also needed more people to do that. That’s where we’ve been in other games. We need other people to be at the level, at their best level or near their best level because this league demands it, especially against a very good team like Utah. I’m very happy with Midge and we’ll continue supporting her to grow and push and recover and be able to be strong next week. We also need to continue to get quality around her as well because we were just off. We were just off tonight and I think a missed opportunity unfortunately against a good team.”

On Kelli Hubly’s performance at right back…
“Kelli is a fullback. I’ve played her in the middle due to need at times. She was due to play wingback last week until [Emily] Menges went down just before we traveled. So we had to move things around and that’s why that Carolina performance is more special because we lost [Angela Salem] in the game the week before and then we lose Menges the day before we travel as well as the nine [World Cup players] plus Dagny who were away. So it was finally great to get Kelli at wingback. It’s great to see. I thought she had some good stuff and it will give her more opportunities, more confidence and I’m sure she’ll continue to show the qualities that she showed when she first got here. When she got here we played her in that position and due to need she’s been great at filling in at center back. It’s good to see her in that position.”

On Gabby Seiler’s performance and growth this season…
“I’ve been very positive about Gabby. She’s an exceptional player with great tools. She’s also a decision maker and a thinker. I actually told her tonight that I need to get out of her way and let her be her a bit more after the game because I might be influencing too much. Her best quality, and, I’ve said it multiple times to her, she’s our point guard, she’s our playmaker, she’s our quarterback. Whether she’s center back, left back, holding mid, she’s someone that makes really good decisions. [Meghan] Klingenberg is that for us. Klingenberg’s a really good decision maker. Gabby was just, through our desperation, wanting to force a few things. I told her I’d rather that she doesn’t do what she thinks that we want her to do. I want her to play and play football and be a baller because that’s what she is. You don’t have many players that can think like her. So I hope we can achieve that in the next week.”

On getting Meghan Klingenberg the ball down the wing more often…
“For sure. [Klingenberg]’s got so much quality. When you’re playing in a game like this, you want to have quality on the ball and you want those players in the game as often as possible. I thought there were times where maybe we could have gotten around, but there was time we started to switch around the right and I thought that [Utah] had started to slide and we could have gotten [Klingenberg] back on the ball. Good to hear we had her on the ball that much. We probably missed a couple times the switch, but having [Klingenberg] on the ball is always a positive thing for us.”

On containing Utah’s Amy Rodriguez…
“She’s a special player. Lot of respect. Spent probably the last few days talking about her more than we talked about any other forward we’ve played against this season. Of course we always think about the opposition and we stay focused on us. This week we wanted to make sure everyone was aware of what [Rodriguez] is about. I think she’s having a cracking season. Same as last year. You look at Utah and [Rodriquez] is the player that they be around and she offers so much quality. For us, in the first half she was trying to drop off and catch us in transition by getting on the ball and turning and running. We saw her turn and run last week and score goal of the year. So let’s not let her turn and run. We talked about it again at halftime. But as soon as you get tight, she wants to spin and get in behind. We didn’t let her get behind us tonight. So managed to keep her quiet. But at the same time, keeping her quiet is tough and a few other people near the end had a little look. [Mallory] Weber had a little look. It’s hard. You keep [Rodriquez] quiet all game and then other people start to sneak in. Lot of respect for [Rodriquez]. She’s one of the best in the league and I hear she’s a great person so it’s cool to see her rocking at the moment.”

Portland Thorns FC defender Gabby Seiler
On what defending against Utah was like...
“It was definitely difficult, but you know, something that we stress in practice is defending as a unit and sticking together and I think our backline works really well together and we kind of have each other's backs on the field and we're always covering for each other, which is why I think even if teams are coming at us and putting a lot of pressure on us, we're always there to cover for each other.”

On being the free defender tonight and knowing her role during the game...
“Yeah, I mean, I didn't - we didn't know that they were going to leave me free. But I definitely think it opened things up a lot for us, especially to get in their final third because they weren't really pressing us as much in the first 20 minutes.”

On playing against Amy Rodriguez...
"We know A-Rod is obviously very good with her back to goal. She's good at going at defenders, she's just an all-around amazing player and you know, we just, our game plan was to make sure that she didn't get a shot, that she didn't get a turn and that she wasn't able to come at us, so I think - I wouldn't say that was our entire game plan but we definitely always knew where she was and made sure that we had marked up on her defensively and really tight."

On her comfort level playing multiple positions...
“I kind of know where I'm going to be at the beginning of the week before a game so I would say I'm pretty comfortable in multiple positions and I don't really have a preference. I just want to be able to help out the Thorns, whether that's at center back, whether that's in the midfield – kind of whatever I need to step up into that moment, I'm ready to do that.”

On which part of her game she feels particularly good about...
“I mean I think defensively I feel pretty good. I feel pretty confident winning balls in the air because I know I have great people around me so I think when you're surrounded by very good players, I think it makes your job a lot easier.”

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Midge Purce
General thoughts on her personal performance...
“It was a disappointing game for me, as a striker. I think you're kind of disappointed when you don't set up a goal or contribute to a goal or score a goal, so that part is frustrating."

On how Utah's defense impacted her play...
"I think Utah did a good job with keeping their backline behind the ball. I felt like the couple of chances where I was in the 18 and I looked up I saw like three defenders, so I thought they did that really well. But I will say that I think that our team did a good job of creating chances. We did have chances, not big chances you should bury, but some looks that I think, some half-chances that I think we should, can, put away."

On if she was happy with the chances she created for herself in the second half...
"No. I was really frustrated with the shots. I felt that I should put those on frame at the least and at least give someone a chance, to give the team a chance to get a rebound or make the keeper make the save."

Notes:

  • Thorns FC extended their home regular-season unbeaten streak to eight games (5-0-3).
  • Portland recorded its fourth shutout of the season, which is tied for second in the NWSL.
  • Thorns FC have registered a clean sheet in consecutive home matches.
  • Portland has earned a clean sheet in three of its last four matches, conceding just one goal during that span.
  • Thorns FC recorded their third consecutive shutout against Royals FC.
  • Portland is unbeaten in four meetings against Utah with a record of 2-0-2.
  • Klingenberg finished the match with five chances created, which was more than Utah created as a team in the match.
  • Hubly made her 2019 Providence Park debut in the match.
  • Madison Pogarch appeared in her first career match at Providence Park.
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