Third defeat in a row…for only the second time in the Thorns three-season history.
First loss to Washington, and the second straight on the road. First Thorns goal scored in three matches, going back to the May 9 2-2 home draw with…the Washington Spirit.
What the hell is happening to the 2015 Thorns, and how does it stop?
Y’ever have one of those days? You leave the house having patted your pockets and checked the dresser and looked everywhere to make sure you didn’t forget anything and halfway to work realize your cell phone is on the charger by the microwave? You drive slowly and carefully through your neighborhood stopping at every uncontrolled intersection and a block from your house get t-boned by some moron speeding HUA through the stop sign? Pour over your tax return endlessly to be hit with a thousand-dollar penalty? Walk slowly across the room only to trip on something too small to see?
Then you probably know what the Thorns and Coach Riley feel like today.
The Thorns played 90+ minutes of what would normally have been outstanding soccer – match-winning soccer – against the visiting Houston Dash. Everything I’ve complained about the last two matches? Fixed, by and large. Solid defending – no real derps or individual gaffes. Terrific attack – when you outshoot your opponent 18-4, put 11 of those shots on goal, earn 11 corners to three, you’re gonna paste those poor wenches all over the Park, right?
Gee…it seems like just last week we were here talking about the second part of the three-part NWSL season, and I seem to recall I said something like…something…hmmm…what was that again? Oh, yes. This.
“If the Portland defense can avoid the mental vacations that shipped four goals in Chicago and against Washington and the Long-Shim Axis can keep producing this should be three points on the road.”
And what were we talking about? Oh, yeah. This.
The away match at Boston this past weekend? The one Thorns FC lost because the defense that had kept Boston out of the goal for 92+ minutes had a horrendous Moment of Utter Defensive Derpitude in the 93rd and gifted Kristie Mewis a soft goal?
In the previous post I mentioned that we’re now entering into the “second” part of the three-part 2015 NWSL season, the part where all the allocated players are raptured to Canada and the league continues with those Left Behind and a band of plucky amateurs called up to fill in the ranks. This middle phase of the campaign looks to be an exciting but dangerous time, when reconfigured teams and the odd gap-filled schedule might produce anything from confused disasters to unexpected benefits. Whatever the effects, certainly the prospects are worth discussing. So…lets!
First; which teams are likely to get hurt the worst by the World Cup Interregnum?
I can’t think of an image that does better work defining last Saturday’s 2-2 home draw with the Washington Spirit than this one; Allie Long lying on the Portland turf with her head in her hands, wondering how in hell she gets stoned by Spirit ‘keeper Kelsie Wys on a ludicrously poor spot-kick off a ridiculously soft PK at 66’ that might have gifted all three points for the then-league-leaders.
The entire match was as easily as frustrating as Long’s easily-saved spot kick. Needing a win to stay top of the table, how could Portland find a way to get no better than a single point, at home, against a team that has proven to be highly beatable?
I’m going to be contrary.
I’m going to disagree with what seems to be the mass of opinion on Thorns FC’s 2-2 away draw to the Chicago Red Stars. I’m sorry, but I don’t think the team “earned” the away point. I didn’t see any “heroics”.
Yes, we’re undefeated. Yes, we nicked the away point. That’s fine. And while I liked that the team showed fight and clawed two back after gifting Christen Press two goals within eight minutes – the 2013 and 2014 Thorns showed a distressing tendency to panic and fall apart when hit hard early – giving away those goals in the first place suggests that the team wasn’t well prepared and wasn’t mentally focused when they ran out in Chicago.
The Thorns’ second home match presented an intriguing contrast to the first.
Instead of the woeful Breakers the visitors were the Western New York Flash, a club that up until opening weekend was a virtual unknown and since then appeared likely to be a hot mess after its deconstruction by Seattle in Seattle. The Thorns, too, were difficult for me to assess confidently, given that their domination of the slough of despond that is Boston was like trying to judge a boxer after watching her bludgeon a small child for her lunch money. Add to that the return of both teams’ internationals, and a nagging injury to Alex Morgan, and the view going in to Providence Park yesterday was unclear at best.
Could the Thorns imitate Seattle and lay another beating on a disorganized, rebuilding Flash? Or would a week of practice and familiarization make Aaran Lines’ squad tougher to defeat and possibly even a danger to ruin the homestand?
I’m sure C.I. will be along soon with the depressing Six Degrees from the utter shitshow the Timbers put on today, so before you get all hung-down and depressed by his dire tale I thought I’d quickly post up a cheery little report of the Thorn’s lovely 4-1 beatdown of the visiting Boston Breakers.