At least we have eachother on these tough nights.
At least we have each other on these tough nights. Photo courtesy of Portland Thorns FC

The Portland Thorns earned a 1-1 draw against New Jersey's Sky Blue FC on Saturday night at Providence Park. It was certainly not the result I thought Portland would end up with, but you know what they say: ONE POINT IS BETTER THAN NOTHING! With this result, the Thorns are bumped down to the number two spot in the standings, with 27 points and Sky Blue FC is holding strong in the number nine spot, with nine somewhat pathetic little points. MOST OF US HAVE MORE FINGERS THAN SKY BLUE HAS POINTS.

Sorry, that was kinda mean. I shouldn’t promote that sort of behavior. But how does a team like the Thorns—a team that's leading the league with goals—finish a home match against the worst team in the league with a draw? In the words of Chopsticks III—HOW CAN BE?


The Thorns were playing with a lousy combination: Four national team players were on a World Cup victory tour, and Sky Blue FC had nothing to lose, plus there was some dangerously awful officiating. SO STINKING BAD. Still, there was no shortage of hustle from the Thorns on Saturday night, and forward Midge Purce had a handful of chances and near goals throughout the evening.

Only eight minutes into the game, Purce nearly slammed one in! She blasted down the field and slid past one defender while the other defender tripped over her own feet. Then Midge managed to get a solid touch on the ball, but the ball hit the post and ricocheted out of bounds. DAMN YOU, POST! I NEVER LIKED THAT POST!

It was in the 30th minute when the referee switched on an industrial fan and took a big dump into the wind. Purce was in the box jockeying for position to head a ball fed by Thorn’s defender, Elizabeth Ball. And wouldn’t you know, just as the ball began to meet Purce’s head, Purce hits the ground. SURE—maybe she just decided to rest. OR MAYBE Midge Purce forgot how to jump. But, I dunno, MAYBE IT HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE SHAKY SKY BLUE FC DEFENDER.

BUT WAIT! It seems as if the referee has found a higher setting for the fan! Moments after that atrocity, Haley Raso scooted a perfect pass up to Purce who was already in full stride toward the goal. Once she was in the box and pulled her leg back for a strike, she was tripped by a Sky Blue defender. THE STADIUM ERUPTS WHILE THE REF DOES NOTHING. No call, no whistle, no card, no penalty kick. NOTHING.


It was infuriating. Folks were losing their minds. If there was a car in the stadium it surely would have been flipped and set on fire. NOBODY PUTS BABY IN A CORNER, and by “Baby,” I mean "Midge Purce," and by “In a corner," I mean "on ground when she’s about to strike the ball and score a goal."

Shortly thereafter, it would seem the ref reconsidered his lack of action and awarded the Thorns a penalty kick after Haley Raso was shoved while driving the ball toward the goal from the corner. It was definitely not the call we thought the Thorns would get, but hell, we will take it.

And with that, Thorns forward Christine Sinclair hammered her seventh goal of the season and put the Thorns on top 1-0 before the half.


The second half brought more of the same. Both teams had moments of brilliance and moments of disarray. The Thorns drove hard and dominated a lot of the second half, but they were caught asleep in front of the goal in the 69th minute and Sky Blue evened the score out. CRAP ON A CRACKER I THOUGHT WE HAD THIS ONE IN THE BAG!


After that, I didn’t think it was possible, but things really started to escalate as far as dangerous plays and crappy calls. Thorns defender Meghan Klingenberg was taken down by Sky Blue FC’s Amandine Pierre-Louis. She was served a yellow card, and after a few minutes, Kling was up and running again. THAT WAS A DUMB CHOICE. Almost as dumb of a choice as someone naming a team “Sky Blue.” I guess “Green Grass” was already taken.

But the coup de grace was in the 85th minute, when Purce, yet again, was driving for the goal with the ball and was taken down in the box. Taken down with a slide tackle FROM BEHIND. Seriously though, it’s seldom to see a tackle from behind BECAUSE IT’S SUPER DANGEROUS and almost always results in a red card. Unless you are the referee in this game, because he saw nothing wrong with it.

The referee owes Midge Purce an apology and a PK.
The referee owes Midge Purce an apology and a PK. Photo courtesy of Portland Thorns FC

At this point, I'd pulled all of my hair out and the woman sitting behind me hadn't stopped booing for some time. Hopefully she stopped for air at some point. I was worried. The Thorns had nearly gotten several goals. That dang post got in the way of a shoulda-been goal from Simone Charley, and Tyler Lussi did a fancy back kick thingy that sent the ball just wide of the frame. I kept waiting for the pendulum of fortune to swing in our favor!


A tiny bit of justice was served in extra time when Pierre-Louis was rushing the goal and tackled Thorns defender Gabby Seiler from behind. Pierre-Louis was given a yellow card, and you know what happens when someone earns two yellow cards? RED CARD CITY! YOU ARE OUTTA HERE!


Once the match wrapped up, many stayed behind to heckle, curse, and glare at the officials as they slinked off the field. This game was so frustrating to watch. I can only imagine how it must have felt to be on the field. To put all that work into something and get such poor cooperation from the universe. It could have been worse... I guess. No one was hurt, and the Thorns earned one point. Plus, over 19,000 folks came out to experience the mayhem. And good for Sky Blue! I don’t agree with their reckless play, but that tiny team with a goalkeeping coach as the interim head coach has got to catch a break sometimes... I guess.

The Thorns play again in Tacoma on Wed Aug 7 against the Reign FC. The next Thorns home game is Sun Aug 11 against the NC Courage. You can get your tickets here and follow me on Twitter @erinjeanius . GO THORNS and BE NICE.

Captian Sinclair has done it again!
Captian Sinclair has done it again! Photo courtesy of Portland Thorns FC