Tobin Heath, Thorns FC vs Spirit, 08.17.19
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Quotes & Notes | Portland Thorns FC 3, Washington Spirit 1 | Aug. 17, 2019

NWSL POST-GAME QUOTES
Portland Thorns FC vs. Washington Spirit
Aug. 17, 2019 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Final: Portland Thorns FC 3, Washington Spirit 1

Portland Thorns FC Quotes

Portland Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons

General thoughts on the match…
“It’s important to get that result. The games are becoming thick and fast and we have the three games in eight days and then a short turnaround, three training sessions before this one. Good that we haven’t traveled, you look at where we’re at right now. We can appreciate the hard work we did traveling to the East Coast and getting some points early and then getting through the World Cup period and being at home tonight was important after the schedule that we’ve had and after this game we all knew that we get a little bit of a rest. We can have two days off, players can have two days. It’s been a long time especially for the World Cup players and then we get a full training week ahead of a big one next week, so important one tonight; professional performance by the team. Really liked the first half because of the way that we defended, we were very compact, we minimized opportunities for them to get into our final third and minimized opportunities for them. Second half, I think the game got a little bit more stretched and they did well, credit to them, what they had on the ball, turned it into some looks in the final third. Third goal was obviously crucial. I know the big thing for us was when we got those chances early we took them because we obviously wanted to be in that position. We’ve created those in other games. So great, great important win and now we get time to reflect, learn, grow, improve as this schedule continues to be playoff games every single week, it feels like at the moment.”

On the importance of the team’s early first goal…
“I think we’ve done well scoring goals in the first half. I think we’re a team that wants to come out on the front foot and score early and often and I think that second goal changed the game in the sense of now we’re really happy to sit, compact, wait for opportunities and we got them. If that second goal hadn’t come, we obviously needed to be a bit more aggressive in moving without the ball. So that second goal was crucial and I think getting into halftime there was obviously a few chances to get the third before the half, puts us in a strong position to be able to manage the second half.”

On the importance of finding a pair of goals off corner kicks…
“What [Thorns FC assistant coach] Rich Gunney does with our set-piece development, our set-piece preparation has been, is always very strong. We’ve wanted a couple more goals. I feel that we deserved a couple more goals. With that organization and the break hasn’t come, it’s great to get them but it’s as important defensively is what we’ve done a tremendous job recently on the defensive side. And you still look, Lindsey [Horan] was offside a couple times on Tobin’s [Heath] free kicks. We almost got another look on a different free kick so we’re strong, it’s great. We said in the team meeting when Rich was presenting set pieces...we’ve always felt at our club, when we get a set piece, we can score and it’s time to put the ball in the back of the net and make sure that feeling is there, not just for us but for the opposition. Well done to Rich and everyone for getting that stuff right today, it was great.”

On the team’s effectiveness pressing the opposition high up the field…
“It’s nice to be able to have that space because we’ve got some players with fantastic pace and great movement and we’re so aggressive with our defending sometimes that when we win it, we’re already high up the pitch. To be able to have that from a different spot and have that space to break into, I thought we did a really good job, there was moments in that last 15-20 [minutes] where we were pressing nice on our own. People were releasing and going out on their own and then they were taking that possession into areas where behind that player, which obviously was never planned, that was just fatigue but also a strong mentality. People were fatigued and still trying to do the right thing but doing it on their own. So, for a majority of the game, it was great to see that compact defending and aggressive pressure when we wanted it when we needed it, and there were a few great counters and we showed clips of us against Carolina when we won the ball, before this game. Some of the great combinations that were showed were being dangerous, eliminating players, getting on the pitch fast with quality, creating good chances and we got to see the team take that into tonight.”

Portland Thorns
 FC midfielder Hayley Raso
Thoughts on the game...
“It feels good. It’s great to play at home, to come out and get a win and to score a goal tops it off.”

On pressing the opponent high up the field...
“Pressing high forces mistakes, forces errors in the backline. So I think it’s a real strength of ours when we do that.”

On scoring early in the game…
“I think it just gets us ahead and gets us a little more confident. Scoring early, also gets the other team down a little bit. So I think for us, it was good to go out there, get that early goal and then just keep building from that.”

On the team’s chemistry and playing cohesively tonight…
“Training together week in week out, playing and like I said earlier, building confidence. I think it’s important, but our forward line and we also have people coming off the bench, such versatility. So I think we’re playing very good football at the moment.”

Portland Thorns FC goalkeeper Adrianna Franch  

On picking up three points today...

“Three points are massive. On top of that, it’s what we’re doing on the field. The progress that we’ve made just within our games, that’s what’s important now because we’re getting the points, but we’re also making progress. That’s what it's going to take for us to be peaking at the right moment.”

On getting all the players from the World Cup back in the squad...

“It’s just like you said, getting those players back together. The team back together as a whole, you know? The players who have stepped in, we’re at the top of the table because of them and everybody plays a role. But, as we continue to go through this, now we have everybody back and it’s going to be hopefully more consistent. That’s what helps us build towards the end.”

On scoring early in the game...

“In the game of soccer you can score in the first five minutes and then things change around. So the fact that we put more in the back of the net was crucial because you can be up one goal and then all of a sudden down 2-1. So yeah, definitely a crucial goal at the beginning, but the continuation is what mattered.”

 

Notes:

  • Thorns FC extended their home unbeaten streak to five matches, with a record of 4-0-1.
  • Saturday’s match featured a crowd of 20,895 – marking the club’s third match this season with an attendance of 20,000 or more fans.
  • Portland has scored 19 goals in the first half of matches this season, which ranks as the most in the league. Five of those goals have come in the opening 15 minutes.
  • Thorns FC have scored 36 goals this season. Portland has scored 35 or more goals in four consecutive seasons.
  • Hayley Raso tallied her fourth goal of the season. All four of her goals have come at Providence Park.
  • With her goal, Raso now has 12 career goals for Portland, which ranks as the sixth-most in Thorns FC history.
  • Emily Sonnett scored her second goal of the season. She is now the seventh player to tally multiple goals this season for Portland.
  • Seven players have scored two or more goals for Portland this season, which is tied for the most goal-scorers with multiple goals in a single season in club history.
  • Christine Sinclair tallied her eighth goal of the season, which is tied for the second-most in the NWSL.
  • With her eighth goal, it marks the third time in seven seasons Sinclair has scored at least eight goals in a campaign.
  • Thorns FC improved to 10-3-5 all-time against Washington. Portland’s 10 wins against the Spirit are tied for the most wins against a single opponent.
  • Thorns FC are unbeaten in nine matches (6-0-3) against Washington at Providence Park.
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