The Portland Thorns faced the North Carolina Courage away and remained unbeaten with another 3-3 thriller.
I understand that Sinclair has been a big part of this team's history, but the Thorns need to realize that she's no longer one of their best eleven.
Lmao hahahaha Smith’s running laps around everyone and hasn’t even particularly good lately.
(Also, check out the passing numbers- Quality still needs to improve, but she is passing a lot more. I think Dunn has really helped)
Way-Too-Early-Power-Rankings: Trail of Tiers Edition
Tier I: Tiers in Heaven
(1) Puget Sound WoSo Team
Tier II: Lonely Tierdrops
Tier III: Tiers for Fears
Tier IV: Tiers of a Clown
There was some debate in the match thread whether the Thorns issues are structural or whether it's mostly a Sinc issue. I could write a book on the how a real 8 would impact the way Norris wants his 4-3-3 to play, but it really just comes down to:
1. Sinc can't defend like a real 8 mainly because she doesn't have the stamina or speed to cover, but also because she's *been a striker her whole career.* She doesn't want to defend, and she doesn't have the ability to be an effective 8 even if she did. She, and Dunn, to a lesser extent, leave Sam completely isolated, which accentuates Sam's weaknesses and hides her strengths. Playing without a functional 8 also makes it impossible to play out through the midfield, leading to some of the bad giveaways we've seen from Coffey and the defenders.
2. She can't press. Norris wants to press. If one member of your press can't press, the press not only doesn't work, it leaves giant gaps behind it.
3. Her lack of ability to play and connect in the attacking spaces (strengths of Rocky and Moultrie) forces Kling high, leaving gaps in behind. In both of the last two games, Sam and the two FBs have looked much more comfortable doing their jobs with Moultrie on and Sinc off.
But most importantly? Moultrie is really fucking good. Not just "good for 17 good," either. Sometimes, it's just a matter of playing your best players in the right positions. (Rocky- Also good!). Cmon now!
Yeah, I'd try Hogan over Bixby for a few games and they definitely miss Becky, but the root of the most easily identifiable issues is Sinc. If the Sinc minutes are direction from Karina --I can't imagine Norris is dumb enough to fail to see the issue-- the new owner should fire her immediately. Thank god they won a title last year, cause I don't think I could take the mere possibility having had this talented a team and having nothing to show for it.
Anyway- End of rant. Liv's goal was dirty and the second goal is up there with the best Thorns goals I've ever seen. Love this team, just tired of the club legend refusing to walk off into the sunset.
Not to re-start the Sinc conversation again, but Kassouf and Cascone come about as close as I’ve hear national media (though I think Watkins also tweeted about it on Saturday) come to implying that Moultrie should be starting over Sinc on the Equalizer pod.
Build the momentum baby!
Late to the party here, but since I was able to attend this game in person, I thought I'd add some thoughts.
(1) Kerolin is very good and ridiculously fast. You think she's fast and then she just goes turbo mode. Smith and Weaver seemed slow in comparison.
(2) All of the subs needed to happen earlier. People were visibly tired and slower to get back on the Pickett goal.
(3) I think there might have been a plan for Rocky to come on with Moultrie? I thought she was warming up with Liv (it was the far side from my seat, so hard to see but I thought it was her), but then she didn't go on. So maybe it was just a warm-up buddy, but given the previous sub patterns, it might have been a late scratch.
(4) Menges is rusty on decision-making and positioning. Understandable since she hasn't played regularly since 2021, but really needs to be sorted out soon.
(5) Carolina's CBs were marking Smith heavily. Lots of small fouls off the ball. If other teams are going to play that way, Smith needs to pass quicker and our other forwards needs to be there. But Weaver is the only one who can keep up, though Dunn is close.
(6) Liv's goal was beautiful and absolutely shocked the stadium.
I've watched Sinclair since her freshman year at UP and she is my all-time favorite player in any sport. She has it all and is of value to any side. But her ability to turn on a dime and deliver devastating balls to others charging the goal or to fake one way, turn the other, and shoot hard and accurately is gone. Again and again I see her a step late going after 50:50 balls when she once would have been a step ahead. Her mind is amazing but her body has slowed.
Any chance Thorns pick up Ashley Lawrence? She's going somewhere soon. Chelsea? Tall order perhaps but this is Portlanada afterall. Sure would help defensively.
Lynn Williams with another goal, assisted by Sinead!
Wonder if maybe KC would like to re-do that Williams-to-Gotham trade, not just how they handled the communication?
Random fact from the weekend that I was baffled about: Attendance at Cary was about 7k. Gotta be a record for there lol. At Lumen? 6k! What a poor showing from Seattle on a Saturday night. I can't see how that keeps the lights on. Sure doesn't help their argument for a sale.
A defensive issue that has bugged me for years came up again on NC's third goal. Look again at Menges isolated on the left against Wingate, and look at the amount of open space behind her. There's no Thorn backing up Menges and defending that space. When Menges gets beaten, which is going to happen to *every* defender once in a while, Wingate has a free run up to very close to goal. One of the several free midfielders needs to drop into that space to back up Menges.
Teams that are good defensively don't let these big spaces open up so close to goal. We need to be one of those teams.
I'll wait on my Way-Too-Early Tiers-Based Power Rankings until tomorrow, but I'll say for now that I think Portland is moving to Tier 2 .
I'll disagree on the backline; they've had issues since KC. Possibly before, but Orlando was just too poor to expose that.
KC - Kuikka +11/-14, Hubly +11/-10, 'Brunn +10/-3, Kling +9/-8
HOU - Reyes (45') +3/-6, Kuikka (45') +7/-3, Hubly +6/-7, 'Brunn +9/-3, Kling +9/-14
It's not Sauerbrunn - who's been solid with just occasional brainfarts like passing directly to Tiffany Salmon 20 yards from goal - being there or not (and Menges, despite her run of recent form, has commanded defenses that did better than this one) it's 1) the backline as a unit, 2) Bixby making technical errors that have to shake her backline's confidence, and 3) the midfield, which has Sam Coffey, Dunn who's 90% attack, and Sinc, who's reverting to 2022 practice-cone-mobility levels.
If it WAS just "let's get Sauerbrunn healthy" it'd be easy-peasy. I think it's more complex and more difficult than that. Moultrie or Rodriguez has to start over Sinclair. Bixby has to either tighten up her shot group or sit for Hogan. And I'm not sure whether Norris has the moxie to do any of that.
Here’s one thing I see as part of the problem with moving Sinc to the bench; she’s not visibly bad enough.
Re-viewed thru her sub off her plus-minus net is positive. Not much; +9/-4...and included cute little bits like her part in the second Dunn goal.
That's enough - plus her couple of good opening month outings, plus nepotism - so I can see that it’s gonna be hard for someone on the coaching staff to make a case that Captain Canada, GOAT, should sit in favor of a high school kid.
I think the numbers are wrong, frankly; I think what’s missing is that Sinc doesn’t get MORE negatives because she can no longer get to where she’s involved in play. It’s the low overall times she gets a touch, not how well she does with it, that’s a problem.
But I’m not sure that’s going to make enough difference to move her off the pitch, unfortunately.
OT: Who the F*** Is Tony Parker? (and does he still want to be a WoSo owner even after OL Groupe sells OL Feminin and Puget Sound WoSo Team?)
Parker, affectionately known as the Former Mr Eva Longoria, owns a 7.5% stake in Puget Sound WoSo Team (aka OL Reign).
Park is also the President and majority owner of ASVEL Basket, which is located in Lyon and is the most successful club in the history of the French Pro A League.
Parker played for ASVEL in 2011 and became ASVEL President in 2014. His brother, TJ Parker, is ASVEL's coach.
In June 2019, OL purchased a 25% stake in the ASVEL men's basketball team, plus a 10% stake in the ASVEL women's team, in a deal worth around €3.7 million.
Then, in December 2019, OL Groupe purchased 89.5% of Reign FC, while Parker purchased 7.5% of the club.
Here's more on the OL Groupe plans to sell OL, and what that might mean for Puget Sound WoSo Team if not also Parker.
Seems good for the Thorns: