Portland melted under Orlando's heat. They started the game off strong, but Orlando just outplayed them.
Gotta say, I’m becoming less and less a fan of this level of league parity- I don’t particularly want a league where the top six teams are all so flawed that no one can separate and they all just end up within 3 points of each other. It’s just bad soccer masquerading as competitive parity, and it almost dilutes the value of winning the shield.
On the Thorns side? The perfect storm of bad tactics, horrible individual errors, and Florida humidity. Outside of “Norris, please do the slightest bit of tactical introspection,” I don’t have much to say other than I’d like to see Reyes start over Kuikka (and that after much thought, I will be buying a Sam Coffey jersey as my first since my 2018 Horan)
Oh, and sell the damn team, Paulson.
As Aiden noted in the match thread, this thing where the Thorns can't find an outlet from the backline and have to resort to 1) passing into coverage or 2) a long ball that almost always gets lost, and the ball is turned right back has been something we've seen for a loooooong time (shit, even Parsons' squads did it to the point where in my writeups I came up with the nickname "dink-dink-boot" for it so's not to have to describe it every time...)
And what's weird is that as individual players there's been a lot of talent in our midfields; yeah, Sinc this season...but you'd think that given the skills that the Thorns midfield and forwards would automatically move to space to give their backs an outlet.
But they don't...and I have a hard time believing that's an individual player decision; that's got to be coaching - "Stay pushed up, your backs will find you".
But as often as not they can't, and when the squad can't scramble back, well...se saw it yesterday.
This doesn't seem like PhD level coaching. Is there some sort of Power of Positive Soccer Thinking that keeps the coaching staff trying this despite the fairly obvious downside?
LOL this is absolutely dreadful:
On reading the starting XI I was relieved it was on CBSSN and I had other things to do with the two hours. Coach virtually mailed this one in, even if he of course "had his reasons." I remain embaffled.
No Patri or Mapi Leon, but this is still a damn good roster. Didn’t think Bon Mati was going to be there, and wasn’t fully sure about Alexia.
I had a sinking feeling when the roster came out, and sure enough my fears were borne out. No Menges? No Sauerbrunn? Sinclair starting in all that heat and humidity? We were listless from the start and it only got worse from there. Add bad defending and little ability to bring the ball out of the back and you get this result.
Dunno if I’d describe the Thorns turning the ball over as “uncharacteristic”. Turnovers have featured prominently lately, even in the win at Lumen. Turnovers were a huge problem in San Diego and Houston, and tonight. It’s becoming a feature, not a bug.
End of First Half Power Rankings: The "It's Not You, It's Me" Edition
"In (the NWSL), whichever side may call itself the victor, there are no winners, but all are losers."
-- apologies to Neville Chamberlain
1. San Diego
3. OL Reign