It was a special night on Providence Park where the last Cascadia Rivalry of the year took place. Morgan Weaver stole the show and said: "This is Portland, this is our home."
Fantastic win, great crowd, excellent response to whatever last week was.
- Rocky wotm for me, Weaver and Coffey a close second. She has these games sometimes where she’s impossible to dispossess and it makes the midfield flow so much better. Trucking Fishlock the cherry on top.
- Becky’s presence makes a world of difference, mostly because of her ability to play accurate, well-weighted balls into the midfield.
- Some credit to Norris for the narrow 4-2-3-1. Lets Dunn roam centrally, protected the fullbacks against the cross, and got his best players on the field. Hope that stays with Smith replacing Sinc, who was virtually invisible.
- Still seeing a lot of Hubly slander. Too many people adjusted their expectation for her from “solid but would prefer she was third choice” to “top level CB” after last season. She is what she is, and what she is not is Becky Sauerbrunn (maybe a top 10 CB ever) or even Emily Menges (arguably one of the top ten CBs the NWSL has seen). Norris asks *a lot* out of his CBs on the ball because of how high he pushes the fullbacks. They have to be able to see the field and distribute accurately and under pressure. It’s just not Hubly’s game, and it’s why the best pairing is always going to the one we saw tonight. That’s not a knock on on Hubly.
- It’s time we had a talk about the Reign and Harvey: Huitema out wide? No pace? Kling and Kuikka got to play on easy mode because there was no pace threat whatsoever. Big picture, they have no young talent. It’s Lavelle, Olo, and a bunch of olds! Future is not bright imo.
Lastly, a formal apology to Morgan Weaver for ever even *thinking* I might rather have Ashley Sanchez. Absolute star, and she’s completely risen to the occasion with Soph out. Ice cold celebration in front of the visiting section too: This whole clip is immediately a Thorns hall-of-famer: https://x.com/NWSL/status/1703250389733171316?s=20
Best part of the match was Weaver's celebration taunting the Seattle away section! Total legend!
Here’s a Reyes extension; they’ve clearly seen enough. Hopefully more to follow on the contract front.
As Morgan Weaver turns into a Portland soccer icon in front of our eyes, does anyone remember what it took to get the second pick that was used on her?
(I do. It was 70K and the 15th and 16th picks. An absolutely hilarious, ridiculous fleece of a trade.)
Watching the replay and halfway through it's Thorns and Thorns with the nod to Bix for at least two goals stopped. Loving the 3-way connection among Kuikka, Dunn and Sugita. Hina also pantses Pino by doing Hina things. Bliss.
Kling's comment before the game and following it up with a win is goosebumps status. These are the moments that make being a sports fan worth it! RCTID
Lots of results went our way this weekend: SD lost, allowing us to leapfrog them to the top. NC lost, giving us a 2-point cushion. Of course Reign lost, which is always good. The only troubling result was Gotham's win, since they're only two points back and who knows how good they are now.
Thoughts on the game:
- We dominated in the first half. I was SO happy we scored two goals then because with how hard we were playing, there's no way we could keep it up for 90 minutes. For a while it looked like it might be one of those games where we dominate but can't put a goal away, but then Rocky-to-Sugita happened (with help from Huitema) and then Morgan Weaver happened.
- Sure enough, the second half was a very different story. Reign was on the front foot, but the Thorns put on a very good defensive display and kept the clean sheet. I kinda enjoyed how well we frustrated Reign in this half.
- We gave up some heart-stopping moments in the game though, most prominently Latsko's complete whiff on a cross at the back post and Bixby's dive to her right to save Rapinoe's shot by the post.
- Overall though we gave Reign far more heart-stopping moments than they gave us. I wouldn't be surprised if the xG score is something like 3 - 1 or even 3 - 0.5.
- Coffey, Weaver, Sugita, Rodríguez, Kuikka, Dunn, and Menges all had terrific games. Weaver and Coffey WOTM for me.
- Weaver's goal was right past Rapinoe, fulfilling Kling's pre-game wish to give Rapinoe a proper send-off by kicking her ass.
- I really really hope the intensity of this game doesn't mean we come out limp next game, against San Diego. Hopefully the 2-week gap will help forestall any mental relaxation, as will the fact that SD is breathing down our neck in the table.
Match report: https://rivetingpdx.com/2023/09/18/thorns-fc-rachaels-sister/
I mean......kinda speaks for itself! AND, look how dangerous Weaver is when she gets on the ball. Menges so positive on ball too back at RCB with Becky next to her.
With this weekend's results done we know what needs to be done. We have 2 home games. If we can win both against the 2nd and 3rd place teams the shield is ours and can have a great vacation in LA. Courage can only get 37 and Gotham/Wave with a loss will only be able to get to 36, Reign can only get to 36, and the Thorns will be on 38.
If we can scoop up a win and a draw a first round bye isn't guaranteed, but is very likely and leave the shield up for another final game of the year loss of first place like we did last year.
If we cannot get at least 4 of the next 6 points then the shield and first round byes are very much out of our hands. I hope everyone comes back healthy and not overworked during this international break.
Summary of key moments credits Sincy with the pass to Hina but it was Rocky.
Recent Run of Form Rankings:
Form and (points) from 6 most previous matches. Look at who's hot and who's not over the past approx. 1/3rd of the season:
Pride (In the Name of Love): 4-0-2 (12)
ACFCNFT: 3-3-0 (12)
Champipple: 3-1-2 (10)
KCFUBAR: 3-1-2 (10)
No Stars: 3-1-2 (10)
Gotham's Dark Night: 2-3-1 (9)
Loovull: 2-3-1 (9)
Thorns: 2-1-3 (7)
Courgettes: 1-2-3 (5)
DoorDash: 1-2-3 (5)
PSWST: 1-1-4 (4)
DC Kang: 0-3-3 (3)
With Alex Morgan leaving the game with an injury…anyone else pondering a Morgan Weaver call up to replace her for this int’l window? If not, what other forwards in the league might fill that spot…? Not trying to be a homer but it has to be her, methinks. Currently tied for 3rd with Debinha in the golden boot race! Thankfully Hatch and Kerolin didn’t bag any this weekend , so Soph’s lead remains intact with 11.
Ok, how good is Gotham now that they have Esther González? I'm suddenly a lot more worried about them as real competition for us. They managed to put together a pretty good record before she arrived, though they always seemed a bit lucky to be where they are. Is she as good as she looked today?
Pride scored their fastest goal in club history and currently lead 2-0. Hope they stay in front. Nice to have some breathing room in the table. BTW our number two forward might look a little different next time you see her.