In stone-cold stunning fashion, the Portland Thorns defeated the North Carolina Courage 1-0 on Saturday at Providence Park. KARATE KICK BALL CHANGE!
Over 16 thousand fans came out to watch the Thorns POP, BLOCK, ROCK, and STOPthe number one ranked team in the league. How did they do it?
Was it magic? Sorry, Severus Snape, your potions are no good here. SLYTHERIN ACCESS DENIED!
Was there Tomfoolery involved?
No, Mark Twain, there was no tomfoolery involved. BT-DUBS no one has used the term “tomfoolery” since you wrote Huckleberry Finn. SO HOW ABOUT YOU DO LIKE ELSA, AND LET IT GO?
Do the Thorns owe this win to sheer luck?
YES… Just kidding, NO.
What about Sugar and spice and everything nice? Did that have something to do with it?
MAYBE... IF SUGAR EQUALS GRITTY TOUGHNESS ON THE BALL
AND SPICE EQUALS SOLID DEFENSIVE DEFLECTIVE ACTION
AND EVERYTHING NICE EQUALS PATIENT PASSING ACCURACY, HOME FIELD PRIDE, AND RELENTLESS MIDFIELD DEXTERITY.
This win felt like more than just a run-of-the-mill victory. This match felt like a definitive statement from the Thorns. In the words of the half dead man in Monty Python’s Holy Grail, the Thorns slyly shouted, “Not dead yet!”
Sure—we aren’t in the same position for the playoffs as we were last year at this time.
Sure—the Thorns have suffered a bevy of injuries that have kept some of our star players off the pitch.
AND SURE—having Nadim, Brynjarsdóttir, and Henry out of touch and playing in the 2017 Women's Euros IS NOT HELPING OUR ODDS.
These consistent variations never bode well for creating and maintaining the connections and harmony needed to be a championship team. But something happened on Saturday. This rag tag group of second stringer, new recruits, and mainstay national talent mixed well together on the field. LIKE A TOM COLLINS OR MORE POPULAR COCKTAIL REFERENCE. And while it wasn’t a Crosby, Stills, and Nash brand of harmony perfection, the Thorns give and take on the field was melodic music to our ears! CLASSIC ROCK KICK!
A BEAUTIFUL DAY AND A BEAUTIFUL GAME
Guys, there is literally no better place to watch Women’s Pro Soccer IN THE FREAKING WORLD. And that is not just my sun-drenched Chardonnay with three ice cubes opinion IT’S A CERTIFIED FACT! This was the 100th regular season home match for the Thorns and the Rose City Riveters were out in full force. SO MANY FLAGS! The folks sitting near me were mostly interested in the game, but also found time to exchange some great BBQ strategies and chat about their children’s allergies/sleep schedule. TALK ABOUT RIVETING! FOCUS UP, MOM!
Franch had some TREMENDOUS SAVES throughout this match. She, Sonnett, and Menges repeatedly denied the chances that The Courage created for themselves. In the 16th minute, Franch played a long ball up to midfield that, after three quick passes, found its way to the quick and nimble feet of Haley Raso. She raced the ball just past the 18 but North Carolina defender, Abby Erceg, tactfully tackled the ball from under her. In the words of Michelle Tanner from the hit 90's program,
Full House—HOW RUDE!
The Thorns continued to take a tough stance with the Courage. The match was filled with tactical footwork, strategic ball placemen,t and energizing runs. There were only two yellow cards dealt—both in the second half. The first was to North Carolina’s Taylor Smith in the 58’ and the other to Portland’s Raso in the 62’. I SAID SMITH YOU GUYS, NOT TAYLOR SWIFT, GET A HOLD OF YOURSELVES.
SHAKE IT OFF
Just after the ref bestowed that yellow onto Raso, Meghan Klingenberg crossed a beautiful ball into the center of the box to find Raso’s head. The Thorns were up by one and the sweet sulfuric smell of blood smoke filled our nostrils. BLOOD NEVER SMELLED SO GOOD.
After the match Thorns coach Mark Parsons had this to say about Haley Raso's versatility, “Other teams have started to shut her down, or try to and we’ve had to recreate her role and we had to adapt today, big time. We thought the last two weeks were a little bit predictable. We have different forwards and wingers than we thought we would have at this stage in the season and Raso has surprised everyone."
The rest of the game was won by Thorn’s top notch defense. Franch logged her seventh clean sheet and, to top it off, I can honestly say that this game was a very well officiated—IN MY HUMBLE HAWAIIAN TROPIC SPF 6 SOAKED OPINION. There was minimal flopping by both teams and while everyone played with tenacity, the match was not controlled the ref or the fouls.
Coming up next weekend the Thorns are back in Providence Park to play the Washington Spirit. The Spirit are currently ranked dead last in the standings but, if you have been paying attention at all, THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES! The Thorns are currently seated in the number four spot with 22 points—just above the Seattle Reign with 21 points and just below Sky Blue FC with 23 points. Hope you can make it out to the park for another blissful summer time evening of soccer! Get your tickets here and follow me on twitter @erinjeanius!