Thorns FC: Shaping Up…and Down

We still don’t know when the first Thorns match of the 2016 NWSL season will be played.

I could wish otherwise, but that’s not exactly surprising.  The league, even now that it has survived longer than any previous women’s league, remains an often strangely unfinished piece of work.  Information on things like rules and schedules can be difficult to find if extant at all.  Sometimes I have a mental picture of someone’s niece finishing up her shift at Copyman before running home to put on her Communications Director hat and get the latest press release on the wire.

What we do know is, at least to a point, what the 2016 Thorns will look like when that match is played.

Horan

But…only to a point.

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Thorns FC: Dodgy Keeper? Adrianna Franch and the Avaldsnes Vortex

I’m kidding.Franch 2013

At least…in 2013 Adrianna Franch was anything BUT a dodgy keeper.  She led the Western New York Flash to the title match, led the league in saves with 98 and tied for third with KK in keeping 7 clean sheets.

However, she lost all of 2014 to a bad ACL tear, and then signed with Avaldsnes IL of the Norwegian Topserien in 2015.

Now she is the newest Portland Thorns player and challenging Michelle Betos for the starting ‘keeper slot.

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Thorns FC: Leavin’ on a jet plane…

After an October full of trades, November started out with a simple pick; Lianne Sanderson was chosen by the new Orlando Pride as their seventh pick of the expansion draft.  So another player trudges across the PDX carpet, this time on her way out.

Bridal carpet

That carpet has seen the feet of quite a few Thorns – ex-Thorns and new Thorns – players lately.  Morgan and Kyle out.  Klingenberg in (as of today when Orlando picked her and shipped her here).  Farrelly and Zerboni out.  Dagný (Brynjarsdóttir, Iceland and formerly Bayern Munich) in.

Are we done yet?

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Thorns FC: Illuminati Confirmed

To the surprise and shock of exactly no one Thorns FC confirmed the appointment of Mark Parsons to the Thorns’ 2016 head coaching position today.confirmed

But…the interesting part of this, for me, anyway, is what Gavin didn’t say: that Parsons will become the de-facto GM of the Thorns.  To me the critical part of Gavin’s exact words were: “His coaching philosophy, skill set and personality are a very good fit for the organization and we are excited to see what he can do with the considerable resources he will have…”

You’ll note in particular that his positives are “coaching philosophy, skill set, and personality” – NOT his acumen in scouting, drafting, or signing players.  Note what we’re not excited about seeing; Parsons trading or scouting or signing or otherwise adding, deleting, or moving these “resources”.  Instead what we’re doing is “excited about seeing what he can do with (them)…”

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Only-Some-Thorns FC: (and the NWSL Championship Match)

Like about 14,000 other people I went to my home ground to see two strangers fight over a piece of butt-ugly kitsch.  I had no idea what sort of attire was appropriate for watching two teams I don’t particularly like, so it’s fortunate that someone else thought of this.  It’s a roll of Kansas-City-blue paper towel with “Blue For A Day” spray-painted on one side and this on the other:

Disposable

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Thorns FC: Silly, pending

The Portland Thorns organization held a press conference today to inform the Thorns’ supporters and Portland at large that “…coach Paul Riley is out of contract and it is unclear whether he will be back next season.”

RileyWhich I could have told you when the final whistle blew in Rochester last Friday.  Sheesh.

The Thorns’ silly season is upon us, but the silly is on hold, apparently until sometime next month.  Until then the question of #RileyOut versus #RileyBackIn is unresolved.

I’ve gone back and forth on this for a long time and I have finally come down on the #RileyOut side.  Bear with me while I explain.

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