So far we’ve looked at Thorns FC at forward and midfield, and what we’ve seen has looked good. But while scoring and passing and cute juggling tricks are all fun to watch, and, yes, you often hear it said that “if you don’t score you can’t win”…
…but the other side of that aphorism is that if you don’t concede you can’t lose, and many championship teams win championships through tough defending and outstanding goalkeeping.
Last week we looked at Thorns FC’s striking corps. This week we take a look at what we have in the center of the pitch, and speculate on what might happen in the off- and upcoming season.
On the morning of November 7 Thorns FC has a total of seven midfielders under contract. The real question in my mind would be “which of these midfielders do what?”, so let’s look at them grouped into their roles.
It’s been a rough year on a lot of fronts. The soccer was sometimes okay, but sometimes not okay, and both the Timbers and the Thorns fell short of the results we wanted from them.
For me, it went beyond the on-field stuff. After over a year of writing less and less, and editing more and more, and becoming increasingly disconnected from what made it all fun for me in the first place, I found myself adrift.
This is the first of a series of posts wherein I want to talk, and think, about the 2017 Thorns and, to do that, examine the 2016 Thorns. And I want to begin by looking at the first line of attack; the forwards.
Thorns FC has four forwards rostered as of November 1: Christine Sinclair, Nadia Nadim, Hayley Raso, and Mallory Weber
Last Sunday afternoon Thorns FC won the NWSL Shield for the first time in their short history.
A convincing 1-3 away win over the Joisey Goils of Sky Blue – combined with a 3-1 Chicago demolition of the Washington Spirit – brought the only piece of NWSL silverware Thorns FC had not yet won home to Portland.
But, since this is Portland and, thus, incapable of doing things the easy way, first the visitors had to hand a gift goal to the home side.
But before we go on…let’s set the scene for Sunday.
As noted above, Chicago had whipped Washington the day before, leaving the Spirit a single point above Portland on the league table, so – with the win here in July giving Portland the tiebreaker – a draw or a win in Jersey would bring the Shield to Portland.
On the other hand…
Western New York’s beatdown of the lowly Breakers meant that a win in Jersey would also bring the Flash here this coming weekend for the semifinal. That seemed…less than suboptimal, to me, anyway.
Tanking the Sky Blue match seemed inconceivable. And yet…the notion of playing Chicago rather than Rochester in the semifinal seemed like such a…nicer option. So when I dropped into Bazi Bierbrasserie on the sunny Sunday afternoon I was honestly torn.
In the words of MayaTye over at Stumptown Footy…gee, that really worked well, didn’t it..?
The good news is that the Thorns will be getting all of their internationals back except for Christine Sinclair (who plays for bronze this coming Friday). The…well, I won’t pretend that it’s “bad news”. For me, anyway.
And you know what that is.
Last Friday, after two straight losses and a bye weekend coming on, things looked pretty grim for Thorns FC.
Still top of table…but even with the Washington Spirit (who had two games in hand) on points and just a point ahead of the Western New York Flash (who had a game in hand). The bye-weekend looked like a potential disaster, and a tumble from first to third and out of contention for a home semifinal. I won’t kid you; I opened the NWSL website Sunday morning with a heavy heart.