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In the Reign/Courage match, Alana Cook took a blatant, though not dirty, DOGSO just outside the 18 to deny Kerolin an uncontested shot on goal. Cook obviously "took one for the team." NC failed to convert on the ensuing direct kick, and Reign held on for the draw. So, end justifies the means. Or does it? Cook, of course, has to sit out the next match. What do folks think about cynical DOGSOs?

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Oct 2, 2023·edited Oct 2, 2023

Current NWSL Standings: (pending outcomes of OLR/NC and LA/ORL):

1 SD 33

2 POR 32

3 NJY 30

4 NC 29

5 WAS 29

6 OLR 28

7 HOU 26

8 ORL 25

9 LA 25

10 LOU 24

11 CHI 24

12 KC 22

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Sheridan is all-time NWSL leader in PKs stopped. Campbell is 2nd.

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Oct 2, 2023·edited Oct 2, 2023

Wild end to the Gotham-Houston game. 10 minutes stoppage. Gotham scored right at beginning of stoppage, but ruled offside. Then a soft penalty called on Houston. Nighswonger took it and missed it. Then Iffy blows a sitter in the 100th minute.

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Houston up 1-0 at the half over Gotham.

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Relevant: "OTD 2022 – OL Reign take advantage of Portland draw to win NWSL Shield on season's final day, 3-0 over Orlando. Over 10,000 see goals from Megan Rapinoe, Jordyn Huitema and Bethany Balcer in first 31 minutes. Caps 6-0-1 run down the stretch to nip Thorns."

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Whoops: https://twitter.com/arielle_dror/status/1708570744568029204/photo/1

The pass maps for both teams are lol: https://twitter.com/arielle_dror/status/1708570746916573375

SD only utilizing their wings (and still, meh), and yet, Mike still needed to push our fullbacks super high. Targeting Kling, specifically, and yet...Our midfield also is a hot mess.

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founding

I am not inclined to stick this result on the players. It was a close match, SD scored two fluke-ish goals and the bounces didn't go our way. Last year, we beat them with two worldies - these are evenly matched teams.

I AM inclined to pin the blame on the tactical decisions. First, starting Sugita, who had just spent 10 days on airplanes, over Moultrie simply makes no sense. When Moultrie did finally get on the pitch, she immediately showed why she should have been there at the start. How plain can it be? Moultrie is a 90' player for every game, like Coffey and Bixby. Write her in with a Sharpie, Mike.

Second, the substitutions were late and uncreative. The quality of our play dropped off instantly as Reyes and Hubly pumped short passes straight into touch and Vasconselos struggled to control most of the balls that came her way. Those subs weren't going to win this match. Instead, go to three in the back, pulling Kuikka for Sinclair. Put Moultrie in for Sugita (not Dunn). No further subs needed - we came off two weeks rest, it was a cool evening, we have a full week at home ahead, nobody was on a yellow.

Third, the tactics were repetitive, boring, easily defended. And they never changed, even when their futility was obvious. Abby Dahlkemper was facing Morgan Weaver, who has at least two steps on her if not four. It's obvious to pump long balls for Weaver to chase while Betfort and Dunn hustle to the box. So how many times did we do that? Zero. How often were we looking to try it but it didn't come off? Zero. How many minutes did Norris & Co. apparently spend thinking of ways to counter SD's setup? Zero.

We may yet back into the Shield. We may have not-won a must-win but still make the Final (ala 2022). We might even get a fourth star. None of which will change the need for major changes in 2024. The thin bench, watery gameplans, and week-to-week inconsistency is not the stuff of dynasty.

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I watched Sinc during warmups last night. She wasn't even warming up. She was standing next to the line of mids and forwards taking shots on goal, wearing her warmup top and perching her foot atop a ball. She had the distinct expression of someone who was taking it all in, banking memories, and processing. I think what we saw of her last night was about what we'll see of her against Gotham and if we get a home playoff match, especially if/when Sophia returns.

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Lost in the fog of all our whinging over last night's loss, KC fell back to the bottom of the table. Still not dead, but will be if Reign win and NC win or draw today. So that's something we can all feel good about!

Meanwhile, Chicago are still alive and looking frisky after going 3-2-1 in their last 6 matches. They're just 3 points out of the playoffs despite that -16 GD.

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From the preview comments:

"What worries me are 1) without Smith it’s gonna be tough to break down a Girma-led SD backline, while 2) letting the Wave hang around a scoreless match risks a defensive derp and shipping a crap goal; hopefully ‘Brunn will put some steel into our backline to prevent that, but it doesn’t take Pele’ to make a deflection or a defensive error and suddenly we’re down a goal.

We’ll see. But I’ll be really happy to see a couple of early Thorns goals."

Well...shit

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Moultrie’s uncle is going HAM on twitter, posting things himself, replying to everyone who posts about Liv, about her not starting and only being subbed in. It’s the uncle, but I think they’re a close knit family from what I’ve seen in the past. The Moultrie family sounds frustrated, for sure.

Some of his words:

“In the span of 7 days the Portland Thorns extended Olivia Moultrie’s contract (no brainer) and promptly proved their incompetence by sitting her on the bench for 65 mins.”

And

“Why do the Thorns insist on wasting her on the bench for 65 minutes?! No one know.”

And

“The Thorns are ridiculous for not starting and playing Liv 90 mins every flipping game. Sure I’m her uncle, accuse me of bias; they are wasting her! Every meaningful statistic favors her over the women she competes for minutes with. Honestly just a huge joke“

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This very easily could and should have been a scoreless draw. Two costly defensive breakdowns in the 1st half.

There were some good individual performances, if nothing amounting to balls in the net. Weaver, Sugita, Coffey, Moultrie, and Dunn in particular. Betfort did some nice things too.

I was impressed by SD tonight. I've never seen another team dominate us with possession in our back third like SD during the 2nd half. They were disciplined, they are deep, and they are peaking at the right time.

It would be nice to win the Shield, but in truth it doesn't matter if we finish 1st or 2nd. To win the Championship, most likely we will have to beat SD in SD. I just don't want us to slip to 3rd (or even lower).

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I’m gonna be so bummed if I get covid for watching that garbage…

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I like Bella as a person but I am so done with her as a goalkeeeper.

And tbh…I might be done with Nadine too. Compare Sheridan with Bixby: able to keep the ball, easily find her teammates with a variety of passes. The example of a modern goalkeeper. Not a single thorns keeper dating back to Franch has ever been better than mediocre at distributing.

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Hats off to SD. They had our number.

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Can this guy say Sugita without sounding like he's doing dub-over on a 70's kung fu movie?

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Why, oh why, can’t this squad string two good games together? Seems eminently do-able. We just can’t. Do. It.

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So much self inflicted pain this season

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Lmao po

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We can't get the ball out of the wrong end. And please get the drums more rhythmic.

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Set piece suckage

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Norris IMMEDIATELY moves Weaver into a front two. Probs too little too late my dude!

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Even making Soph yawn.

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Slow and sloppy, woof Thorns

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founding

I am ready to move on from Bixby.

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Kling’s gotta come out at half

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Bizarre tactical to shift your only goal scorer out wide. You can’t set your team up like Hannah Betfort is Sophia Smith against this SD team.

There’s been a number of things wrong, but I have no idea why he changed it up after last week.

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I am sick of watching us throw the ball in and losing it.

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Oct 1, 2023·edited Oct 1, 2023

/headdesk

This is going to be one of those nights, isn't it?

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Watching the shield slip away again.

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Oh, Crystal...can't head that right at Sheridan.

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We're not sharp tonight. The passes aren't connecting and SD is taking advantage.

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Disappointing concession in that it began with one of our typically crappy throw-ins that immediately conceded possession. This team has never been good at throw-ins for some reason.

Also, so far lots of possession with very little danger resulting. Predictable balls into the box, easily read and dealt with...

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4-2-3-1 early, Betfort alone up top with hina and weaver out wide

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San Diego didn't bring a traveling fan base with them. A bit of a trip but was hoping for something after LA did.

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Betfort for Sinc tells me that we are planning on pressing hard

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https://x.com/ThornsFC/status/1708294605702381857?s=20

Wow! Hina starts on short rest and Betfort over Sinc.

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