Thorns FC: The Miracle of Herat

It was probably a very cold day in January of 1988 when Nadia Nadim was born in the Afghan city of Herat, in the middle of a vicious war that had been going on for eight years.

Herat 1988

That she and her family escaped after her father’s murder is something of a miracle.  That from that beginning she grew strong and quick in Denmark to become a professional soccer player is also something of a miracle.  Her journey to Portland, to the Thorns, might well be a miracle as well, though perhaps a shadowed miracle, one full of struggle and not without heartache.

Then, this past Saturday night, the young woman from Herat worked another, very different, very public sort of miracle.

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Thorns FC: Hangin’ in there…

Last Friday, after two straight losses and a bye weekend coming on, things looked pretty grim for Thorns FC.Hang in there

Still top of table…but even with the Washington Spirit (who had two games in hand) on points and just a point ahead of the Western New York Flash (who had a game in hand).  The bye-weekend looked like a potential disaster, and a tumble from first to third and out of contention for a home semifinal.  I won’t kid you; I opened the NWSL website Sunday morning with a heavy heart.

But…

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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: Convincing

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?

Sinc scores 6-22-16

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.

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Thorns FC: Sometimes Boring is Fine

That was the final whistle in Chicago;

Handshake

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…

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