Thorns FC: Why You Can’t Get No Heat Maps Here

I wanted to post this just because I thought you readers might be interested in seeing behind the scenes of the glamorous soccer-blogging lifestyle.  It’s not just hanging out with the players in trendy nightclubs or hob-nobbing with the wealthy owners.

Sometimes it’s all about the boring, dry stats, baby.  Stuff like this:

That’s from the OPTA stats on the Timber’s match against San Jose back in early June.

OPTA has tons of this sort of great stuff; heat maps, player actions, average team position…while I won’t pretend that “stats tell the story” it helps to get a big picture of a team or a player’s actions, successful or otherwise, to get some sort of sense beyond just your feeling “Gee, seems like Kat Reynolds is getting beat a lot” or “Is Chara pushing up more in the second half, or an I just seeing him more there than when he drops deep?”

As you know, I’ve been using Richard Hamje’s “plus-minus” ratings this season to try and give you a sense of what the Thorns are doing on the pitch.

Actually, I keep more notes that I give you here; the basic numerical PMRs are just the Clif’s Notes version, the digested form, if you will.

(I have no idea whether you care about how I do this, but I’ve come this far so bear with me for a moment and I’ll tell you what goes into these little bunches of numbers.

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Thorns FC: Bend It Like Tobin!

In his comment on the preceding post John Whitehead noted (re: the new NWSL broadcast deal with Lifetime): “Of course, if it turns out she (Nancy Dubuc, president and CEO of Lifetime) just wanted a sports-themed reality melodrama, not so good for the league.”

Which got me thinking; what a hell of a sports film (or Lifetime series) the Thorns’ 2013 season would make.   Good for the league?  How about GREAT for everybody!  Below the fold, consider the storylines we lived that season!

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Thorns FC: Yellow Press, or, “Some Mid-week Thorns Media Linkage”

I wanted to take a midweek moment to tip my hat to one of Portland’s newsweeklies.IMG_20160831_150503

This week’s issue of Willamette Week is stuffed full of Thorns goodies; a long piece on the relationship between the team and the fans, interviews with the returning Zika Death Squad, and a terrific profile of Nadia Nadim, our Heroine of Herat.

I will quibble briefly with the graf from the long piece that insists that the fans’ love for the team “…has grown stronger, even when the team’s performance has gotten weaker.”

ExCUSE me???

Weaker?  WEAKER?

Ummm…are we talking about the same Thorns FC here?  The one with the Magic Number of 7?  The one currently sitting solidly in second place in the league, still holding the pass to a home semfinal?  The one holding the head-to-head wins tiebreaker over Washington, Western New York, and Chicago?

Weaker.  Humph!

Ahem.  Excuse me.  Sorry.  Kinda lost it there for a moment.

Anyway, I confess to having a certain prejudice against the Willy Week; normally they hardly ever write about soccer.  But this week?  It’s a WW Thornstravaganza!  So, yay, Willy Week!

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A plea for player songs

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.

The Riveters signature red smoke to celebrate Portland’s goal.

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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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