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.
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
I’m stepping on C.I.’s toes a bit here, but before this weekend’s critical match in Our House in the Middle of B.C. I wanted to post a brief note about the Wednesday night 1-1 home draw to Saprissa C.D. that knocked the Timbers out of the CONCACAF Champion’s League.
I can’t add much to William Conwell’s report at the Stumptown link above. Yes, it was a brutal hackfest. We think we have it bad here in MLS (as C.I. noted about the Colorado match this past weekend…) until we have to play under the indifferent gaze of CCL officials. This was a whole order of magnitude rougher.
It took the Western New York Flash three tries to figure out how to defeat Thorns FC this season.
Unfortunately, the third try was the one that counted the most.
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.
We’re less than a week away from the final matches of the 2016 NWSL season, and then Thorns FC is going to host a semifinal.
Ahhhh. I love the sound of those words, don’t you; “host a semifinal”. We’ve been waiting and hoping for this for four years. But…
...who could we see here come October 2nd?
The game’s not until Sunday, so c’mon…let’s speculate! (Updated 9/24 with the result of the WNY-Boston match)