Things didn't turn out as Portland expected - but Weaver's goal gave them the three points in the Challenge Cup
- Vasconcelos: I have no idea where her burst came from after looking so utterly useless in preseason, but she had the ACFC RB on skates the whole first half. Really happy for her.
- Moultrie: I just love watching her play- It’s so rare for a 17 year old to step into a midfield and immediately exert control over it, but she’s rapidly becoming undroppable in my eyes. She’s a perfectly functioning metronome with outstanding technical ability.
-Reyes: Struggled a bit in the first half, excellent in the second. Tireless runner with developing skill on the ball. Think we might have Kling’s heir.
- Weaver: Beat the damn breaks off Spencer time after time after time after she came on. Looked like a completely different tier of athlete. Pretty cool goal too.
- Nally/Provenzano: Impossibly slow. Cannot and should not be on the field together ever again. Directly responsible for the equalizer. No more please!
- The ref: Two out of the three times she got hit with the ball were because she wasn’t paying attention and had her back turned. Both times stopped great counter attack opportunities. Also missed the last corner go off of Soph, but I ain’t complaining!
Special mention to Porter, who was really steady in midfield, and Izzy who played a great ball into Vasconcelos, but missed two golden opportunities.
(that is all)
Early bedtime east coaster here. Saw this in my inbox this AM and before I could delete it, I saw what I thought was the spoiling "Things didn't turn out as Portland expected". Watching the replay, I was on the edge of my seat the last 3 mins of stoppage time, expecting an equalizer. Y'all trying to give me a heart attack? 🤣
I'm glad they won because I think these secondary contests are important for the Thorns to win if they can. Over the years they've won games due to their reputation. Sometimes because the other team gorks it or they remember who they are. Winning breeds winning.
Thoughts in no particular order:
Glad the players are still in the hunt for the Big Payday (other than that I’d be fine if the club went out in the group stage…)
Holy shit is ACFC bad; even against a heavily rotated Thorns they had nothing going forward except Thompson and were a mess in back.
That said, there’s something off in the Thorns (players and Norris) - tactics? headspace? both? - when playing from a lead. There’s no way in hell that should have needed a slug of starters to make 93rd minute magic. Forced to chase against that monster attack should have opened space the Thorns could exploit. Up 2-nil could have ended 5-nil but should at least have STAYED 2-nil. If this outfit could figure that out they’ll steamroll to another star.
Part of that is discipline - way too many people overcommitted and got skinned when they just needed to manage the match. Poor Nally is really struggling with that; she’s just not a clever player.
I thought Reyes looked good all evening, and D’Aquila was sharp for an hour (couple of late attempts she’ll want back, tho).
So…now the real thing looms; Seattle away. Let’s thump those wenches and get on the bus.
Well Thornando, I think you saw why some of the backend of the roster doesn't play much.
I thought tonight was invaluable. The Thorns played the same way as they do in a regular season game, and you could see clearly the issues that causes lesser center backs in Nally and Provenzano. I think it causes the first choice centre backs issues too, but it was glaring. Thompson wins a PK after burning both of them!
Norris talked about managing transitions, and the biggest thing, I think, is changing the balance to 4/6 or 5/5, rather than what it is right now, which is 3/7. So if that means sitting a full back deeper or dragging a midfielder next to the #6, so be it. Otherwise, transitions will keep killing the Thorns.
Also some good news from Ryan Clarke earlier: "Becky Sauerbrunn (foot) trained in full today. Mike Norris said the Thorns are hopeful that she’ll be available for limited minutes on Saturday at OL Reign."
Amandine Henry has signed a three year contract with Angel City. I don't like the idea of seeing her in an opposing shirt no matter the circumstances.
So, that Equalizer story about the Thorns recent run of form, called "Slump or Anomaly," with a picture of Menges.
Seems like Moultrie was the designated free kick/corner taker for the Thornes. Thoughts on how she did, besides the obvious assist?
Henderson did the Challenge Cup heavy lifting to show xG graphs for the match: Izzy's # is top among all players and barely behind the entire ACFC squad.
I was thinking about expansion protection last night (as one does), and was wondering how Janine Beckie would be treated with it. She's not even a starter, even if she was fit. But, I can't see KK spending all of that money for her to not protect her (also, I can't see her doing that to her friend.) But, who's spot does she take? A rhetorical question...I haven't worked it out on paper yet, so I have no idea who'd be on the bubble.
They could protect 9 in the last double expansion. Those players: Bella Bixby, Crystal Dunn, Lindsey Horan, Natalia Kuikka, Emily Menges, Olivia Moultrie, Raquel Rodriguez, Sophia Smith, and Morgan Weaver.
I honestly don't think Bella should get one of those protected spots, same with Menges. Worth mentioning that Coffey, Hubly, and the rest of the olds (we have several) were not protected. Very curious about Dunn, because she's a free agent next year, I believe. If she gives any indication she wants to go elsewhere, I think we'll see that in whether she's protected or not. In a recent podcast episode with her on, she's said she'd totally go back to Chelsea, if they'd have her. So, I don't think she's tethered to Portland, unfortunately. Horan, well, we gotta hear confirmation at some point soon from our FO, since her loan was up "through June."
If it's 9 again, who do you protect? Mine: Smith, Weaver, Coffey, Sugita, Moultrie, Kuikka, Dunn, Horan (if we have to? But losing her rights for nothing would be BS and bad FO work), Reyes. That's of course, if Dunn commits to staying. If she doesn't? Or if Horan is out? I'd choose between Rocky (29), Hubly (28), and Izzy (21). There's no way I can fit Beckie in there. I'm inclined to say Izzy because of her age and her ceiling seems high. I'd surely bet Bay FC would have their eyes on her...a former Bronco is an owner and would nab her in a second. But, I can't see us not protecting Hubly, or Rocky. Whew, gonna be a rough one....
A random side note that I thought was interesting....we've heard a lot of noise recently about her staying in France, but, only a few days AFTER all of that noise (6 days ago), the Thorns posted a couple pictures of her on their instagram wishing her a happy birthday. "Celebrating you on your special day! Happy birthday to The Great Horan" I think if there was a full transfer of her rights being negotiated, they wouldn't have put out this post to their social media. But, who knows?
Anyone have any idea what's going on with Natalie Beckman?
Just looked at all of the starting XI's, and Beckman hasn't been listed in the subs list for ANY of the games this year, CC or league, unlike other mostly unused players like Betfort or Provenzano.
Phuoc, do you have any info?
YUCKKK WHAT IS THIS DETROIT TIGERS-ASS LOGO?
Colors suck too. Boo.
Someone please correct me: Did Alyssa Thompson throw a punch at Porter (or maybe weaver?)