Midge Purce, Thorns FC vs. Washington Spirit, 10.12.19
Craig Mitchelldyer & Sam Ortega/Portland Thorns FC

Quotes & Notes | Portland Thorns FC 0, Washington Spirit 0 | Oct. 12, 2019

NWSL POST-GAME QUOTES
Portland Thorns FC vs. Washington Spirit
Oct. 12, 2019 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Final: Portland Thorns FC 0, Washington Spirit 0


Portland Thorns FC Quotes

Portland Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons
General thoughts on the match…
“Absolutely loved the performance. If we look at the last game against Washington, a very well-coached team and a lot of young talent, we won 3-1. We probably only gave up that look that they scored from long range. We didn’t create many chances in that game. We didn’t dominate the game in the areas we wanted to, but we managed the game and won 3-1. Tonight was an absolute complete performance, we just lacked, at times, the urgency to get into the box. Then when the chances started to fall at the beginning of the second half, we had some fantastic looks and didn’t put it away. Near the end, we had another three or four really great looks and we have to score. So in a way, the perfect performance because we gain lots of confidence. We really did well on both sides of the ball and we know that we need to work on scoring goals. Getting in the box and scoring goals, because that was the only piece missing from a perfect night here at Providence Park.”

On if he’s concerned about a lack of goals toward the end of the season…
“I would say in previous years we’ve been on a roll. The ball is flying in and we go into playoffs and we have this confidence that things will just happen. I’m going to make the most of the situation we’re in and look to squeeze everything else out of it we can. We’re going in knowing that we haven’t put the ball in the net for a while and enough for the quality that we have and the chances we created tonight and the dominance we had in the central and final thirds. So it’s going to be on our minds. It’s going to be on our minds to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to get in those areas and put the ball in the back of the net. Now look at the games against Chicago. 10 goals scored in the three games and they scored a lot against us when we played there. So this game, this matchup, has so much talent. Two very good teams. Two teams that compete and have different ways of how each other can play. I think we’re set up for a fantastic game. My guess is there’s going to be goals because every time we play them there are goals, so hopefully we add that to our performance.”

On breaking out of a scoring rut…
“Probably the biggest challenge to manage that. Regardless of tonight, win, tie, lose, if we continue to talk about the last four, five games or the 17, 18, 19 before that, it matters where we are right now. What I love about this and I spoke about it in the week… We take inspiration from the first year this club was founded which has many incredible, special memories of previous coaches and players. In 2013, the Thorns rolled into two stadiums to get it done and the two players that scored on the day of the championship in Western New York are still here. Two originals. So we’re going to take inspiration from 2013 and it’s not been the end of the regular season, but we get to write our history in this next game in Chicago, next week starting there. We’re going to turn that page, regardless of what happened tonight, we turn the page and we look to drive on with a chip on our shoulder with something to prove from a different angle than the last few years.”

On the changes he made to the team for tonight’s match…
“I’d say it’s been the most challenging return of players. Japan, Australia, Europe. Four, five of them trained once this week. That was yesterday. With [Christine Sinclair] and the Americans, they arrived earlier in the week so we were very hopeful that we could get them prepared and keep them healthy. Obviously a semifinal next week, so it’s tough how you manage wanting to win this game for these fans that it’s our last time to play in front of them, but also manage people. There’s a few people that just weren’t ready and at the same time, Andressinha has been outstanding the last two weeks and took advantage of this opportunity. I thought she played exceptional tonight. Emily Ogle has been tremendous, specifically the last two months and haven’t been able to get her on the pitch and give her the chance. We went to sub her in against Seattle and then [Hayley] Raso had to come off. So it wasn’t necessarily availability. Players really earned starting spots through performance in training and it got to the point where even Wednesday and Thursday, we made some changes and put people in that has consistently been extremely positive. I think they proved that they deserved that opportunity and it was exciting to see them play and make us better. We were a very good team tonight. If we could pick a performance and say ‘That’s what Thorns look like’ we’d love to pick this one and then build and add some goals. It’ll be interesting next week because we have different looks in regards to tactics. We’ve got different looks in regards to how we attack and defend in our locker. We feel comfortable in those various tactical models. We’ve got a lot of players really desperate to play and a lot of great options. I think it puts us in a good spot and we’ve been used to change all year. We almost feel comfortable to us at this point going into these last two games.”

On managing fatigue heading into the semifinal against Chicago…
“If it was a regular-season game I’d probably look into that, but it’s not. It’s playoffs. Both teams have a lot of experienced players and big mentality players. I thought tonight we found our big-team mentality because we lacked it in a way at Utah. We lacked it away at Seattle in what I felt were swing games for us in how we finished the regular season. We didn’t turn up to the occasion. Tonight we ticked an important box, but with the fatigue and the mental, the emotional, the physical… listen, never underestimate the stress that loads of individuals across this whole league are on. We’re the only league in the world, as far as I’m aware, maybe Japan and a few others, that players return and within days they’re in full training and playing games. Don’t underestimate the stress people are on. I’ll tell you, it’s more mental and emotional because physical, they’re outstanding athletes and the best athletes in many sports across the globe. Just like, I’m sure, other teams, we’ve got players that need a break and there’s two challenges with my group. One, they need a break, there’s no time because we’re Thorns and we got high standards. We’ve got trophies to fight for. Two, we’ve got such great mentality players, I try to give them a break... I’m going to try and give them a break tomorrow and they don’t let me. I’m sure like tomorrow, I’m going to try and give them a day off, they’re going to fight me and probably come in. So it’s tough because we get on that grind. At the same, when things are rolling and things are going well, it’s easier to ride that momentum. We faced a load of adversity and we’ve had so many little things go against us that we can’t control, then we have loads of things we can control, just haven’t been good enough in this final stage. Felt like tonight we turned the page. Felt like, with results across the league and our performance tonight, it was refreshing to see our group play with the mentality and the quality we played with.”

Portland Thorns FC defender Emily Menges
On the team’s performance...
“I think that was the exact performance we needed. It would have been great to put some goals away, but we needed a full team performance, a full defensive performance, a full team offensive performance and I think that’s what we gave. We’ve been lacking something and it was hard to pinpoint it and I think that was our first in a while, at least a 90 minute performance.”

On playing Chicago in the playoffs having an influence today’s performance ... 
“We found out and it was brought to the whole team’s attention, but no. I mean we knew that we needed to gain some momentum. We didn’t want to just sit back and not play hard. We needed to make sure that this was going to be our first step into the next two games.”

On the team’s performance heading into the playoffs...
“I think tonight changed all of that. I think tonight is the performance we needed to kind of throw us into the playoffs.”

On the fatigue level of the players influencing tonight’s performance…
“All of our players want to be here, want to win, like everyone’s here for the right reasons. It’s not just sorry, we’re going to finish out this season now, people are here and when they’re here, they’re focused.” 

Portland Thorns FC forward Midge Purce  
On being named Supporters’ Player of the Year…
“I didn’t expect it. I also didn’t know it was today. It felt really good and I always feel very appreciative of them, so it was really nice to feel so appreciated by them. So yeah, it was awesome. ”

On the team’s performance...
“It hurts. I think all week we practiced, we really wanted a win. I think we needed a win and you know going into the playoffs with the same mindset. It’s disheartening, but it’s not a blow to the ego and we’ll keep going.” 

On being shutout in the last few games…
“No, I’m not concerned. We’ve been shutout, but that's fine. I think soccer and scoring is kind of like this with teams and individuals. I think it’s really natural for teams to go like this and I think if we pop off at the right time it doesn’t really matter.”

On whether or not the team should change their tactics heading into the playoffs…
“That’s a tactic I would ask Mark, it’s not my place to say. I think of course when you’re not putting the ball in the back of the net something needs to give, whether it’s us focusing on our finishing or tactics, but I don’t know.” 

Notes:

  • The match featured the second-largest crowd (24,521) in Thorns FC history.
  • In 12 home matches this season, Portland set a new NWSL record for total (241,181) and average attendance (20,098).
  • Thorns FC had five games with attendance of more than 20,000 fans in 2019.
  • Portland finished the regular season with 11 wins, marking the sixth time in seven seasons the club has earned 10 or more wins. Additionally, Thorns FC have posted 11 or more wins in four consecutive seasons.
  • Thorns FC recorded their eighth clean sheet of the season, including their sixth at Providence Park in 2019. The team’s eight shutouts overall rank as the second-most in a single season.
  • Portland extended its unbeaten streak at home against Washington to 10 games (6-0-4).
  • Emily Ogle made her first professional start in the match, logging 64 minutes.
  • Midge Purce was named Supporters’ Player of the Year.
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