The Joisey Goils are probably already on their way west while the Thorns’ US players are heading east. Tomorrow we’ll see what happens when our Left Behind Girls in Red get stuck into a Sky Blue that has been looking much more dangerous in the past several weeks than they did back in April.
But that’s not that I wanted to talk about right now. I want to talk about the noise from the North End.
The Riveters signature red smoke to celebrate Portland’s goal.
Remember how last weekend I said that the Thorns’ 2016 “undefeated” run wasn’t entirely convincing, seeing as how the team had only looked really overpowering in one match, the home win over Washington back in May?
Okay, well THAT bullstuff’s over with.
In the space of four days Thorns FC took six points off two games. First they seized the then-league-leading Red Stars by the throat and beat them handily 2-nil to go top of table and announce that, halfway though the season, they are going to come at the rest of the league. Then they traveled to the fever-swamp of Orlando’s “Citrus Bowl” and overcame the heat, humidity, hostile crowd, and a 67′ Jasmyne Spencer goal to win 2-1.
From the typically-shaky Western New York Flash video feed it looked like Thorns FC’s 2-nil road win was witnessed by a handful of random strangers.
I don’t “like” the Flash (probably a hangover from the time when Abby “This is me and this over here is my ginormous ego” Wambach was the face of the Rochester Rhinoettes) but they’ve been a power in women’s soccer a long time. Drawing barely over 2,000 for a match between two of the league leaders? That’s kind of…lonely.
That was the final whistle in Chicago;
The Thorns came out pressing hard and pressuring the Red Stars’ midfield and backline and were rewarded with a ridiculous gift of a goal in the 24th minute. Under some fairly mild pressure Chicago’s Sam Johnson blooped a lazy backpass with Christine Sinclair running hard in on Naeher. Naeher panicked much like Labbe’ panicked when Nadim closed her down and with much the same result; Naeher’s frantic clear just bounced off the Birthday Girl and into the net.
Crap goal #1, one-nil Portland. But…
I always hate it when the person telling you this asks: “Which one do you want first?”
I’ll give you the good news: that’s Amandine Henry there on the left and that’s her U.S. visa in her hand.
That’s right; out long-awaited defensive midfielder is arriving in Portland most quick smart.
To clear a roster spot for Henry Kendall Johnson has been moved to the DL; she’s listed as “not medically cleared” on the 6/10 list. That clears up who’s going to get shifted to make room.
(Selfishly – since for all that I hammered on her pretty hard here last week – I was fairly sure that if the Front Office decided to waive someone (or trade someone for draft picks/international slots) that Mana Shim would pick the black marble. I’m glad she didn’t. But, still…c’mon, Mana. We need to see some Marta from you, girlfriend.)
My next question is; how are the Thorns going to look this coming Friday?
While we’re on hold for the international break, here’s some USWNT pump-up music to occupy you.
Oh, and here’s a picture of Mana Shim gardening.
While we enjoy the sight and sounds, let’s talk about the Thorns’ season to date and peek ahead at the next couple of months.
In his match report on Thorns FC’s home draw with the Seattle Reign, the Greek sportswriter Thuycidides said: “Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.”
Okay, no. That’s about war, and this is soccer; this is much, much more important than that.
This past Sunday the Thorns, weakened by the loss of their US National Team players, proved ol’ Thucy’s point and suffered a barren draw against a “stronger” Seattle side that by rights should have come away with three points. The Reign outplayed the Thorns, looked by far the more organized and dangerous side – no surprise, given the makeshift nature of the Portland XI – but suffered their own weakness; finishing. They had the match for the taking…and couldn’t take it.
It was a dark and stormy Saturday night. But above Providence Park the sun came out for ninety minutes and all the clouds that had loured upon our house were in the deep bosom of the ocean buried…
…largely because Christine Sinclair returned to the starting lineup.