So far this season Thorns FC and Sky Blue FC have played four halves of soccer. The aggregate score is 3-3. But there are halves, and there are halves, and, unfortunately for PTFC the Joisey Goils have had the better of three of the four.
Almost two weeks ago Thorns FC nicked an away win at Sky Blue by hanging on through a brutally ugly second half on strength of A.D. Franch going into Insane Keeper Brute Mode and the inability of SBFC to find the location of the big rectangular frame with the net thingie inside it.
Last Saturday it was Portland’s turn to lose track of that goal thingie, and Sky Blue’s turn to deal out the punishment.
With some help from the Man in Black.
When last seen by the Portland Thorns, referee Marco Vega was lolling about the pitch letting the Western New York Flash get away with what, had they done it at a MAX station instead of inside Providence Park, would have been aggravated assault and battery.
He showed the same disinterest in punishing brutal play in his stroll about the Rutgers pitch in New Jersey this past weekend (why the hell was Kayla Mills still on the pitch after her pithecanthropicene tackle on Horan in the 53rd minute, Marco..?) and it was only the luck of the soccer gods that prevented a hockey game from breaking out.
The good news is that the Thorns both survived, and got all three points on the road.
The bad news is…well, let’s talk about the good news first.
Last week I predicted that Saturday’s home game against the Boston Breakers was likely to come down to which head coach had best learned the lessons offered by the 2-2 draw in Boston and had best planned for the rematch.
Then between 7:00 and 7:05pm Pacific Daylight Time Amandine Henry created two goals and whatever Matt Beard had learned and planned went completely to hell.
The saying goes that there are draws that feel like losses and there are draws that feel like wins.
The 2-2 draw in Boston this past Friday felt very much like a win to me.
The limitations of my current work finally caught up with me.
I’m stuck out in the hinterlands of rural upstate New York working 14-hours-plus a day on a big dam reconstruction job and housed in a rental house in the little town of Middleburgh. And last Thursday the cable company finally caught up with me and turned off the cable and internet.
It’s a long story. Suffice to say it took me until yesterday and today to view Thorns FC’s scoreless draw in Kansas City. Before then I’d heard more than a little about the match, so actually viewing (most of) it surprised me.
Last Saturday Thorns FC managed to steal two points from the Seattle Reign on a late Allie Long header and a Jess Fishlock own goal.
The match was a game of two halves, with one common theme. Ugly. Ugly fouling, ugly play, ugly tempers…it was just ugly all over.
After the dispiriting loss in North Carolina and still struggling with injuries to some of the most critical pieces of the team – Heath, Klingenberg, Reynolds…) Thorns FC needed a result last Saturday against the visiting Chicago Red Stars.
Thanks to a fortuitous penalty and some ferocious goalkeeping from A.D. Franch Portland nicked all three points to move up into a second-place tie with Boston.
The result was good. The means to get to it…well, let’s talk about that after the jump.
23. Generic term to give grief
Scouse saying: Down the banks, doing my head in, wrecking my head.
Usage: ‘This beaut was doing my head in so I gave him down the banks, like.’
Paul Riley is becoming Thorns FC’s kryptonite, and his North Carolina Courage used his plan on PTFC like a bucket of the green stuff Saturday. It worked, knocking our club down to 1-1-0 (tied with FCKC for third on the table) with a 1-nil away loss that was a complete team-and-coach effort…on both sides.