Well. Turns out that there are road points, and road points.
In a match the could have easily gone very, very badly for the Portland Thorns the club nicked a late goal to salvage a point at Swope Soccer Village Sunday evening. But to me the draw feels more like a loss, since Thorns FC played eleven-on-ten for damn near the entire second half and could do no better than equalize.
The 2016 NWSL season kicked off with some “first evers”; the first ever loss for the Seattle Reign at their Memorial Stadium venue.
And the first ever regular season goal for the expansion Orlando Pride, in the 12th minute Steph Catley free kick strike against Portland in the Thorns’ home opener.
But that was the last first ever at the old Civic Saturday night. The Pride didn’t get their first ever regular season win, and Thorns FC didn’t suffer their first ever home opener loss with the 2-1 comeback victory.
I wondered which Franch we’d see, didn’t I? The one that tore up the NWSL for Western New York in 2013, the one that was out of the league in 2014, or the one that shuttled in and out of the starting job in the Topserien for Avaldsnes in 2015?
Good, bad, or indifferent?
Based on last Saturday it looks like we got the Franch of last season, and that’s not an especially good thing.
Well, the preseason Thorns played the out-of-season Oregon State Beavers last night and came away with three goals and a “win” for whatever that was worth.
Yes, I’m a hater; these college sides are useless as a test of team readiness and serve only to show that the professional women’s game in the U.S. has advanced far beyond the college game, as anyone familiar with the limited schedules and training programs of even the best and biggest NCAA programs knows already.
The only real value was getting a look at the non-roster players and the subs, so my notes are focused on those players, with some minor exceptions.
The Portland Thorns dropped their first preseason match of 2016 to Seattle 0-2 this afternoon.
The match was about what you’d expect of three weeks before the beginning of the season; a rough and generally unformed piece of work from which it is difficult to either generalize or predict. Instead, I made some notes during the match and will provide them for discussion.
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.
Perhaps the single bright spot in Thorns FC’s dark year was the endearing season of goalkeeper Michelle Betos. Pulled into the starting position to fill in for the former FIFA Player of the Year, Michelle played bravely and was, of course, one of the “stories of the year” with her late-game headed equalizer against FCKC.
She was, and is, a spark, and (from all appearances) a great teammate, and genuinely good person. Her reaction to being named the Rose City Riveters “Player of the Year” was an complete and utter delight.
Now, to add to her I-love-me wall, she is the NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year for 2015.
I’m terribly late in posting about Thorns FC’s 2-1 win over the visiting Red Stars last Sunday night. Long with the brace, Betos with a couple of good saves (and a bizarre concession on a Mautz shoss…) and a solid half hour from our newest Thorn, Lianne Sanderson…and if you’re a fan you know what the high points were. Third win in a row pushing PTFC up into a virtual tie with FCKC for the final playoff spot.
And speaking of KC, the Thorns play at Swope tomorrow, so there’s no more time for me to review the match in detail. Instead, let me breeze through a positively Six-degree-esque rundown of some of my observations before we settle in to watch the away match…