Morgan, Thorns, reclaim 2nd with win in Boston

Meg Linehan July 21, 2013 60

Alex Morgan takes on defender Kia McNeill as Thorns FC defeat Breakers 2-1 (Photo copyright Linehan Photography for Equalizer Soccer)

SOMERVILLE, Mass. — Alex Morgan scored the equalizer and assisted on the late game-winning goal to lift Portland Thorns FC to a 2-1 win over the Boston Breakers, re-establishing their second place standing and putting Boston’s playoff hopes in serious jeopardy.

The NWSL has been a league of streaks, and both teams entered the game riding one of their own.  Thorns FC were able to stop a four-game winless skid and end the Breakers’ four-game unbeaten streak without a loss in front of 2,978 fans at Dilboy Stadium, the second-largest crowd ever at the venue.

The Breakers struck first, with Lianne Sanderson beating Karina LeBlanc in the 13th minute.  Cat Whitehill sent a long free kick up the field and Kyah Simon found herself able to bounce it to Sanderson, who had space and time to launch one between a diving LeBlanc and the right post.

Sanderson is always candid with media after the game, and admitted that “it was one of the weirdest games of the season for me.”  She said she never felt frustrated, but, as always, her individual contributions always come second to the team’s.  “Me scoring a goal today, I don’t really care because we lost.  It doesn’t mean anything if we don’t win.”

Five minutes later, Thorns FC had back-to-back chances that were both close calls.  First, Christine Sinclair tried to chip Breakers keeper Ashley Phillips, but her attempt hit the crossbar.  On the rebound, Alex Morgan and Cat Whitehill both went up for the ball.  Morgan won the header, but sent it just over the bar, and was shaken up on the play from contact with Whitehill.

In the 23rd minute, Nikki Marshall sent a long ball up to Morgan, who collected it, drew Phillips out of the net, then easily dodged her for a wide open shot on goal.  For Morgan, it was her first goal since June 6th against FC Kansas City and her sixth of the season.

“It’s been a long time since we got the result we wanted,” said Morgan after the game.  “Everything came together today.  We realized that we really needed this game in order to potentially get first place at the end of this league.  And so we’re happy with the result we got, and hopefully we can come back with a little more confidence moving forward.”

Both sides struggled with possession at times, with the Breakers generally having the upper hand for the first 30 minutes of the game.  Once the 30-minute mark passed, Thorns FC changed the tempo of the game and slowed it down, one that hurt a Breakers attack based on speed in Leroux and O’Reilly.

“That’s one thing we’ve been working on in practice, is slowing the game down and speeding it up, and controlling the tempo,” Thorns coach Cindy Cone said.

Lianne Sanderson celebrates her 2nd goal of the season, beating Karina LeBlanc of Thorns FC. (Photo copyright Linehan Photography for The Equalizer.)

The Breakers had two more chances in the 30th and 32nd minutes, but Sydney Leroux sent her shot just wide to LeBlanc’s left.  Heather O’Reilly had a beautiful strike from distance that had just too much on it, and flew a couple of inches over the woodwork.

In the second half, LeBlanc came up with another epic stop on a close-range shot from Leroux, getting both hands on the chest-high shot and pushing it out of bounds for a corner kick.

Portland controlled the pace of the rest of the second half as well, and benefited a couple of times from poor Breakers giveaways.  Kia McNeill and Whitehill generally did well to double-team Morgan, but Jazmyne Avant struggled to keep up with her former teammate when she used the left wing to advance into the attacking third.  Simon struggled for most of the game on both sides of the ball, despite coming up with the assist on Sanderson’s goal.

“Tonight, to be completely honest, we were making a lot of dumb mistakes,” said Breakers captain Cat Whitehill.  “I just think we beat ourselves a little bit in this game, and obviously you have to give a lot of credit to Portland.  They’re a great team, with a great backline, but I think in this game particularly, we really hurt ourselves more than anything.”

Portland once again looked far more purposeful and solid in the midfield with the addition of Tobin Heath, and she was key in the go-ahead goal in the 86th minute for Thorns FC.  Heath linked up with Morgan at the edge of the penalty box, where Morgan found Meleana Shim making the overlapping run into the box and threaded a pass through the Breakers defense.  Shim’s shot hit the very left corner of the net, and may have ended the playoff hopes of the Breakers, who are now 7 pts. out of fourth place.

Parlow Cone was quick to praise the efforts of Heath, Long and Shim after the game.

“I think our midfield’s been doing great on both sides of the ball.  We’re doing a much better job of keeping the ball, especially on the point of attack, and just having a little bit more patience on the attack.  And then defensively, they’re playing both sides of the ball and tracking back quickly.”

Portland returns home vs. the Chicago Red Stars on July 28 before facing league-leaders Sky Blue FC on July 31. The Breakers depart on a two-game road trip with stops at FC Kansas City on Wednesday and the Washington Spirit on July 27.

Notes & Quotes

  • Sydney Leroux spent most of the week in Los Angeles after attending the ESPY awards.  When asked if her absence from team practices had any impact on the starting line-up, Cole said: “I mean, you could say the same thing about Alex [Morgan].  They have one on their side, we have one on our side.  At this level, you put the best players on the field.  We were hoping we’d get a goal or two from Syd, that didn’t happen tonight.  She’s a pro, and she did what she needed to do to be effective.  I don’t think that played any big role in the game-plan or anything.”
  • Breakers Captain Cat Whitehill is looking at the stacked August schedule as a positive after tonight’s defeat.  “The timing of [the loss] is really bad.  We definitely have to go on a run.  Fortunately, we’re playing people ahead of us, so we can win those games and that’s good for us.  Two with Kansas City, two with Western New York, another one with [Thorns FC].  So we have to look at the positives there and in some way, we can control a little bit of our destiny.”
  • O’Reilly was calm after the match, if a bit subdued.  For her, it isn’t time to hit the panic button yet.  “I just think looking at games in the past, we’ve had games where we’ve completely outplayed Portland, we beat them at their place, and outplayed the Flash and beat them at their place.  We’ve had some really good results against Sky Blue.  This is a very competitive league.  We know that we can do it, we know that we can win these games, so history will hopefully give us confidence.  There’s still time.  We’re not worried, we’re going to take one game at a time and just worry about getting three points when we can.”
  • When asked about a shot that went off the crossbar late in the game, Alex Morgan started laughing.  “Oh, you know, I need to keep my shots a little lower.  That’s a little bit of an issue I’ve been having the last couple of weeks.  My pace is there, the accuracy is coming.”

Portland Thorns FC (9-4-3, 30pts) at Boston Breakers (5-6-5, 20pts)

Goals by Half            1          2          F
POR                             1          1          2
BOS                             1          0          1

Scoring Summary
BOS: Sanderson (Simon), 13
POR: Morgan (Marshall), 24
POR: Shim (Morgan), 86

Misconduct Summary
POR: Heath (Caution), 84

Lineups

POR: LeBlanc; Dougherty, Williamson, Buehler, Marshall; Heath, Long, Shim, Foxhoven (70′ Weimer), Sinclair (C), Morgan

BOS: Phillips; King, McNeill, Whitehill (C), Avant, Nogueira (77′ Schoepfer), Lohman, Sanderson, O’Reilly, Simon, Leroux

Referee: Robert Sibiga
Assistant Referees: Cory Richardson, Russ Wolf
Fourth Official: Mounir Idmalak

  • SoccerBuff

    LOL. What’s up with the web link for this post? thorns defeat boston 3-0? :)

    WARNING ALL NWSL FANS: Paying $6 for the Boston Feed IS TOTALLY NOT WORTH IT!!! The camera angle is constantly changing and makes you nauseous. PLUS THERE’S NO HD!!!?? Also you can’t PAUSE the game then pick up where you left off, it goes right back to LIVE FEED! I know Boston probably profited the most from this game as PTFC fans were definitely paying to watch it, but we just got played. At least the thorns did just that to the breakers.

    The Portland Thorns then FC Kansas City are the best internet feeds by a mile.

    • dt

      Yea my friend said the exact same thing about the stream.

    • snishy

      As a Portland fan with not a lot of money to spare, I just decided to wait a day or two until Boston posts it on their YouTube channel. Knowing the score beforehand dampens the excitement a little for when I watch the match, but it’s the best I can do I guess. I just don’t understand why only Boston is charging. Either the league as a whole doesn’t charge for streams or they have a season long package deal for all teams. As you’ve said, many who have viewed their home games say the quality is average. What about the Seattle stream? It’s up there quality-wise don’t you think?

      • SoccerBuff

        Ya Seattle’s pretty good, just HATE watching the empty side of the stands in their broadcast even when it’s probably the best view and the UW coach is pretty good with her comments.

        • snishy

          Agreed. I also get a little annoyed when the commentators are drowned out by an entire marching band or that one Reign chant that gets drawn out way too long. A way to control the audio perhaps in future games?

        • Sedna90377

          Quit your whining! It’s only $4.99! Unless you are living off welfare check, you can afford it. Since there is no NWSL team near me, I’m happy to chip in few bucks to support the Breakers and NWSL.

          • pakacuda

            Well to whine a little more, actually it’s $6.38. I wonder why they don’t just advertise it as $0.99, then tack on $5.38 in “fees” later.

          • SoccerBuff

            it’s just like any sucky quality product that’s NOT WORTH IT. That’s my point.

            Like a like a yelp review on any restaurant, I can talk about the Breakers FEED.

            The price I paid then to see the product shows it was NOT WORTH IT.

            There’s a difference between whining and giving a proper review of a customer’s experience. This is EXACTLY what NWSL teams need to hear…..what is driving people away and driving them to the game.

            I paid the money to see Sinc and Morgan play (what drew me to the game)….now that i’ve seen the quality of the product Breakers are giving (what drew me away), the next game in Boston, I will NOT PAY FOR……..

            If It was the quality of a Seattle/Portland/FCKC production, the $6+ bucks is more justifiable and I would have NO issue with it, PLUS I would say sure I’d pay it again.

            The Breakers Organization Needs To Hear From Their Customers and if they don’t give the customers what they want, they will LOSE THEM

            #HaventWeLearnedAnything?

          • Christy

            It was awful no doubt! not worth it was right. Though I enjoyed seeing Morgan have success, something we have missed for ages!

          • Steglitz49

            Why is there not a decent ladies’ team near you? Soccer is a huge participation sport for girls and young ladies in USA. The numbers are huge even comparing with Germany and massive compared to countries like Sweden and Norway, not to forget Iceland.

            It is early days yet, but the size and shape of USA with its deep player-pool has to be addressed at some point. Granted that an NCAA college probably can make up for the lack of a local team, but a country with 315m inhabitants can’t rely on having 8 (or 12) teams. There is a screw lose here.

          • Ubu-Roi

            Perhaps ‘beta’ and ‘startup’ come to mind. anyone who still cringes at the memory of Kobi Bryant helicoptering in to greet Marta and the multi emir like money dumped on WPS might think market research and testing to be a good thing, especially since the stakes this time are so high. as interest in college football birthed the NFL so college soccer might fuel the NWSL. the US is a sports mad country. unlike Europe it is not ‘either or’, but ‘both, and, and.’

          • Steglitz49

            Europe’s headache is that they do not have the wonderful NCAA system that the eponymous bear set up. The teddy is dear to children the world over, but only USA got the NCAA (and built the Panama canal). Europe has no choice.

            UEFA recently got its first woman member of its executive committee, a Norwegian lady. She has stated that UEFA is committed to developing club football for ladies so that girls can play the sport. When one considers that UEFA spends ca 1% of its money on its ladies’ section, it is a small step for soccer portrayed as a giant leap for womankind.

            Local solutions to local challenegs — though some market research might not come amiss.

          • Lorehead

            I have no idea how you came up with the delightful phrase “the eponymous bear.”

          • Steglitz49

            To be honest, I don’t know how. On the other hand, there is nothing new under the sun, so the expression was probably invented by Alexander Hamilton, or Mark Twain?

            Teddies of the world: unite! This night, Danish bears are hugged in joy while French bears are doused in tears. Do they have teddies in France?

          • Lorehead

            I think they call them camisoles.

          • Christy

            It’s a big country Steg, closest team to where I live is about a 16 hour drive give or take and thats the Spirit. Once teams and locations were announced I did what I am guessing many other ppl did in my situation (far away from any NWSL team) I chose a team to support based on my favorite player to follow, hence my Portland loyalties. Hopefully as the league grows teams will be spread out and give more fans an oppertunity to go to a game and support the league. Until then we fans will do what we can :)

          • sedna90377

            I live in Atlanta. Nearest NWSL team is Washington Spirits. 8+ hours driving.

      • kernel_thai

        Knowing the score doesnt bother me. I re-watch old games all the time and knowing the result doesnt detract from a good game. Similarly, a surprise result doesnt improve a bad game.

    • pakacuda

      I have to agree about the stream, not worth it. I know I can’t complain too much about the free streams but since I paid for this one I think I get to rant. They’ve had plenty of broadcasts to get things right and they’re still making fundamental, easily avoidable mistakes. RANT ON:

      The multiple cameras should be a great thing, but it actually made things worse. Protip: Side cameras (field level cameras) should be “personality cameras,” used to zoom in on faces only during throw-ins, corner kicks, etc. Unless you are an expert producer, they should not be used during the run of play, and especially not during an attack near the goal. As soon as the play starts, SWITCH BACK TO THE MAIN CAMERA!!!

      They barely got the first goal by Sanderson, instead mainly getting closeups of Cat Whitehill. Like Soccerbuff says, constantly switching between field level cameras during play was nauseating and annoying. I’ve seen similar mistakes on other broadcasts but those are free so I won’t whine as much.

      Also, man that announcer sounded bored as heck. There were long periods of silence where I think he was checking his email. Another protip: When the video resolution is low and you can’t identify players, the announcer should be treating it like a radio broadcast and diligently calling out names.

      Also, I agree the lack of pause control and terrible resolution are pretty bad for a paid broadcast. Plus there were audio problems at times that should have been ironed out by now. And on a paid broadcast I would hope they could mix in a little crowd sound, but no.

      OK rant over.

      • SoccerBuff

        What makes it more insulting, a lot of these MEN calling these women’s game. Honestly don’t know these players and these female counter parts aren’t as knowledgeable as I would like. The UW Coach and Lori Walker are really the only ones I’ve seen that are good since they are intrenched with the women’s game and have seen probably 80% of these players grow up since the u15 level

        • Steglitz49

          Why so few women expert commentators?

          (For the men’s Euro-12, Swedish TV included ladies like Lotta Schelin and Caroline Seger. OK, for most of the matches on main TV Sweden rely on Glenn Strömberg but he is very good, informs himself about the players, and popular.)

  • kernel_thai

    Well Id love to make a constructive comment but I generally dont get to watch the Boston home games until they get posted two or three days later. The typing on the story seemed very neat tho and the spelling seemed correct.

  • dt

    Portland’s next game is at home against Chicago actually.

  • Joyce

    Not sure what long did to deserve the praise. Tobin and Shim definitely did work. Portland is getting some rhythm back now that there seem so to be a bit more organization in the mid-field thanks to Heath. And kudos to Alex for mentioning her during her interview. CPC is luckly to get this line up. Any other team she coach would have been at the bottom of the barrel by now. And yes, stream sucked big time but got to watch the Thorns, so…

  • Elaine

    Yes, I paid my $6.38 to watch this game, even though I was out and about and could only catch bits and pieces of it on my phone. Gotta say, today’s Boston team did not look like the team that was at Jeld-Wen. They didn’t play with purpose and intensity that was in the first meeting against the Thorns. When Sanderson scored in the 13th minute, as a Thorns fan, my thoughts were, uh oh here we go again. But when Alex came through in the 24th minute, I was like, ok we got this one. LeBlanc came up big again with the saves, can’t say enough about her this season so far. Shim comes through again with a great shot, low and with power, and a fantastic assist from Alex. Since the arrival of Tobin, I gotta say this Thorns team is looking like nothing of the former. Hope it continues.

    Just want to mention there were a few scary moments with Alex going down hard a few times, most notably the head to head clash with Cat. But like others have mentioned, she is one tough player, although she doesn’t look it. The stream was decent enough, along with the commentary, but not the best. My only gripe was since I paid for the stream, I feel like I should be able to watch it again after it was aired live. That’s what they do over at UStream. Now I have to wait like everyone else for them to upload it to YouTube.

    • Christy

      Was the difference Boston not playing with purpose or Portland playing with purpose and more talent and organization. It’s hard to play your game when the other team is making you play theirs. I don’t think Boston was playing down I think Portland was playing up, remember Boston is all offense, and struggling D, that was their issue in the early stages of the season, Most of these teams if they didn’t add pieces changed very little from opening day, they are who they are and injuries and additional signings are what have really changed the landscape of the league this season.

    • NYRick

      Elaine, I didn’t see the game, but what happened on the head to head clash with Alex? I hate to see or hear of that stuff, it’s really dangerous and scary. I think that as the women’s game continues to progress and get more and more athletic and physical, especially with athletic players like Alex, that area of the game (head injuries and the potential for them) needs to be closely monitored.

      I know Steg is big on the ACL thing in the sport of course, but head injuries have far greater consequences for anyone, even after their playing days are over.

      • Elaine

        The head to head happened on a set play. Unfortunately the camera man did not catch the actual point of collision and I just saw Alex on the ground for an awfully long time. Even the commentators were panicking about Alex’s condition. The trainer came out and she left the game a little while, but she came right back. There was another incident where Alex was left flattened out on the field and when she came back up, she was sort of limping and favoring one leg. This was late in the game, and again couldn’t actually see what had happened because the camera missed it. But I tell you, I’m amazed that Alex can get up and walk away from both of those close calls. She’s either very lucky or just very, very strong.

        • NYRick

          Wow, the head clash sounds awful. She is very lucky for sure. But I wonder if players are checked out well after the game too, not just in the heat of battle where they always want to continue to play. Especially a competitor like Alex. I swear sometimes I watch her play and think she is made of titanium.

          The real symptoms of concussions often occur as much as 12 hours or a day later sometimes. Some symptoms include “it feels like a phone is literally ringing in my head,” and of course general lightheadedness and nausea. Athletes often describe it simply as, “just something doesn’t feel right in my head.”

          Last year, NY Giants all-pro guard Chris Snee suffered a pretty bad concussion during a game. After the game, he became terrified when his wife and kids visited him in the lockerroom (Snee is the son-in-law of NY Giants head coach Tom Coughlin). He said he couldn’t recognize who his son was or his name for a few minutes. When I read that, I got sick to my stomach. He’s a really good guy and lives in the town I live in NJ. Fortunately, his symptoms were just short term.

          Morale of the story. Head injuries, especially head to head banging with no protection is nothing to sneeze at. Even the next day, a player should be thoroughly checked.

          • Lorehead

            Yes, the league really needs to take head injuries more seriously. There was one to Abby Wambaugh earlier in the season that it badly mishandled.

  • NYRick

    The headline for this article should be, “Shim Late Winner Reclaims 2nd for Thorns.”

    We know why the headline is what it is, but you’re not being very fair to Shim who scored the winning goal in the 86th minute. And yes I know that AM had a goal and an assist on the winning goal, but if Shim had the first goal and an assist on the winner there is no way the headline would have be reversed. Let’s just be fair. This league isn’t all just about Alex, Abby and Sinc. When the non-big name players shine let’s give them their due too. Just saying.

    • TsovLoj

      This. Shim has definitely earned it.

    • Steglitz49

      Boston must beat KC now. A draw will not be enough, unless KC totally collapse for the remaining matches. KC-Boston on Wednesday is the game.

      Chicago is in a (slightly) better position than Boston but have Portland in Portland on Sunday, when SBFC are playing KC incidentally.

      One has to worry about this intense schedule for a ladies league. It may make the lasses fit and probably weeds out the weak from the strong. Nevertheless, I have not heard of so many ACL-tears in the NWSL. How many have there been? In short, fit and strong seems to be a good thing.

    • pakacuda

      Haha I noticed that in the broadcast too. Assist makers are usually de-emphasized compared to goal scorers (a very bad thing in my opinion), but in this case the announcer didn’t even mention Shim at one point when he was summarizing at the end. Then again the announcer was having all sorts of trouble identifying players, even mistaking an injured Foxhoven for Alex Morgan at one point.

    • Christy

      The commentator didn’t even know who any of the players were or the coaches name (no loss there) he constantly paused when a ball went out and would say “the ball went out off , a white jersey” way to do your homework bro! Shim deserves to be recongnized, I mean Shim is a nice player she’s not particularlly special, that said, she wil benifit greatly from Tobin and Alex as she mentioned herself they pull the defenders and she can walk right in for the score.
      From a journalistic perspective, you want ppl to read the article, casual fan isn’t going to stop and read about Shim and her goal. But Morgan is a different story, and it’s not like Alex wasn’t a huge factor in the game, had she had a lackluster performance yet carried the article then I culd see a bigger complaint would be warranted. Fact is she contributed in both the goals which lead to the victory. Should shim get a better mention having scored the go ahead? Of course, even if you just said Morgan, Shim score as Thorns reclaim 2nd place… it would have been a nice title giving her her due, but such is life and such is media life.

    • kernel_thai

      To be fair, headlines arent designed to be informative. Their purpose, traditionally is to get u to read the article. If u throw the name Alex Morgan on top of it u can get people to read the recipe for making dog food. The headline in the Portland Tribune was “86th minute Shim goal sends Thorns to 2-1 win” whereas Oregonlive.com went with “Portland 2-Boston 1: Morgan, Thorns snap out of it”. So there r many ways to cook a goose.

      • NYRick

        I work in design and advertising (started my career as a copywriter) so I completely understand the psychology and rationale of headlines, and in case of professional sports, dropping big names. I also know that “key words” like “Morgan” play well for pickup for SEO reasons on the internet. I’m just wondering if The Equalizer is advised to include big names in their headings even in borderline situations like this one for that reason.

  • pakacuda

    Ashley Phillips sure made a lot of risky forays off her line, and got burned by Morgan on one of them. Yes Morgan might have scored anyway but a defender was closing in- I think she was making pretty questionable choices.

    The Portland midfield was vastly improved from the last game against Boston. In that game Sanderson seemed so confident and dominant and O’Reilly was constantly running free; Portland figured out how to close that down. Was it because of Heath, or starting Foxhoven? Not too sure, the low stream resolution was making it hard to track players. But Heath is certainly a positive influence and from what I could tell was very active on offense and defense. Definitely felt like Portland was getting way more corner kicks (total was 11 to 6).

    • SoccerBuff

      Phillips came out A LOT and honestly was 95% off her line since she did on Sinc and Morgan both

    • kernel_thai

      The new book on Morgan, at least in the NWSL seems to be play ur GK high to cut down the pass behind the CBs. It’s live by the sword, so on… As Morgan is faster than any GK, u take the risk that she gets a roll in instead of being forced to take a more pacey, lower percentage shot.

      • pakacuda

        Might want to ask the New Zealand goalie what she thinks about that strategy :)

  • Lorehead

    Great game. There’s a lot of parity in this league, but the Thorns at this point control their own destiny, with six games remaining, including games against everyone else (but Boston) in the playoff picture. It’s a good position to be in as the new line-up is starting to click. The next three games, at home against Chicago, Sky Blue and Kansas City, are going to be crucial for clinching a spot in the playoffs and a high seed.

    I’d look for the Flash to move up the table: their remaining games are against Washington, Boston, Seattle, Portland, then Boston again, and all but the next Boston game are home games. The other teams competing for playoff position have a much tougher remaining schedule.

    • Boston Red

      Actually, Portland is back in Boston on August 7th.

      • Lorehead

        You’re quite correct.

        • kernel_thai

          It’s Washington that they r done with.

          • Lorehead

            But I believe that, with a ceiling of 25 points and WNY already having 27, they’re mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. That’s probably to the advantage of Sky Blue, who play them twice.

  • heremerawr

    The only thing that really makes me mad about the Breakers stream is that they have no replay. I paid for the first stream after the fact, thinking I would be able to watch it on demand… nope. Made me seriously angry, because I can’t always watch the games when they air, and then I have to wait several days, by that time the results are spoiled, and a lot of the fun is vastly reduced. But eh, whatever.

    On another note, good on Morgan for breaking duck. Also, Shim has been playing very well as of late, I’m with Rick, her name deserves to be in the headline just as much as AM’s.

  • Christy

    To start I can not spell check this because of the computer I am using it’s just a pain so apologies for poor spelling, now…What can I say constructively?

    The feed was awful, I would say one of the worst by far and we had to pay for that crap! How does a team justify charging for a poor feed, the quality would have been just as good with the handycam barrowed from sky blue and the camera work just as sea sickening. The commentators had no clue who the opposing team was and coudn’t even say “Cone” instead they called her, what was it “Calm” haha really…

    When I pay for a product that I could otherwise get for free and in better quality somewhere else on a different day then a change needs to be made. Boston had a terrible feed for not just 1 fee but 2, poorly prepared commentators, and garbage video quality, they also have the smallest venue in the league. they even removed some portable bleachers that I understand had been present at previous games, seats they would have easily filled,. I don’t think the Breakers as an organization have taken the success of this league seriously and they seem to be the only team that has taken that position. What a shame!

    This league needs to create a governing body that dictates things such as how the games are aired their quality as well as whether or not to charge. I think charging is a mistake, as most other sports teams do not charge for their streams unless they use certain Ustream type or PPV systems such as what we had for Algarve but you aren’t going to get that in this league and you shouldn’t.

    It’s easy to say charge us for quality streams and we will pay but the fact is that isn’t true for 90% of the fans be it due to lack of availabiltiy of funds or just not a strong enough interest to put money out to watch, which hurts the leagues growth. Every stream view goes to projections of television contracts and to motivate investors who can see a way to increase viewership. If you alienate the casual fan this league will fold up faster than a venus fly trap on a meal. Sports teams as I have said in the past thrive on bandwagon and casual fans, not the hard cores. We may not like it but its pure fact, find any sports team and I would say your hard core fans make up less than 10% of your fan base, and when I say hard core I mean the face make up wearing, car painting, daily clothes wearing, season ticket holding hard core fan.

    Now about the game, it was one of the better games I’ve seen from Portland, you can see Tobin integrating well and with the existing relationship between her and Morgan it is really apparent as she becomes more involved in the games remaining this season, The connection that the 2 players have on the field is fantastic and it will bring in more success as the rest of the team begins to catch up to their chem. Tobin has been instrumental from the first minute she took the field in the 2 games she’s played so far, you can feel the tension Alex was oozing starting to resolve and she is playing more confident and determined last 2 games, I look for this to only get better in game 3 of the Morgan and Heath show, now all we need to do is acclimate Sinc, she is struggling and looked out of sorts last game, her and heath have not found a nitch yet and I almost feel like she is struggling to find her place at the moment, she is used to having to be a one man show and now that isn’t needed so she should be more free to be productive, however she seems reluctant to do so. She couldn’t decide whether to play up or down and this indecision had Alex tracking back pushing Sinc up top, was this by design? I don’t think so because by then Alex had scored a goal and had a few shots in side the box already while Sinc’s opportunities came and went as she woudl hold the ball too long and think too hard about what to do. (I am blaming the Thorns landscape here but I noticed the same thing in the USA/Canada game). It could be just a down time for her as all FWD’s do have them but her impact has been minimal this season and with Tobin coming in ,where she should start to perform she seems to be standing idle. Game 3 is going to be interesting, if Sinc get’s her groove back this team will cruise into the playoffs if not the work load will fall to Alex/Tobin and who ever else wants to step up (ie Shim)
    The D came up big, they had it right from the go this time, Buel marked Syd inside the 18 and they played close down defense and made the safe plays when they didn’t have numbers back. A few times they passed back and forth a little too close inside the 18 for me but they managed to not make any costly mistakes so I suppose I can’t complain about it.
    Mid field much improved as I mentioned, Long, was quiet, very, didn’t hear her name much and maybe that is what she is being praised for, quick distribution of the ball is what you want from this #10 and that is what she did, she stole the ball from their midfield which is something she does very well and she made clean passes at a much higher percentage than in past games. The less you call her name the faster and more accurate her distribution. She was improved and that my friends is the calming affect of the Heath experience. (i say that but Tobs 2 games 2 yellow cards haha easy tiger)

    • Silver Frost

      Wow Christy, are you getting paid by the column inch? :) What did you think of Tiff Weimer?

      • Christy

        Haha noo, :) She’s interesting and pretty much as advertised thus far, coming into this league she was known to be an active player, high energy and good with possession , she was also known as a poor finisher and thus far this is exactly who she has been. I think that is why we saw Foxy get the go and Weimer coming off the bench, Foxhoven given a super sub title I think was a bit premature, she is a nice player who is a genuine threat in front of goal but primarily she brings aggressiveness over finesse, Weimer is high energy player who likes to play all over, Foxhoven is a physical player who will challenge hard for balls and give more attacking depth.

        No one is afraid of Tiff inside the 18 and that hurts the offensive side. Bringing her in late brings her energy in when things are winding down, she could change the pace and play balls thru or even squeak in a shot, (course that would require them to be either on frame or with some juice behind them.) Personally I like her, I think she provides a service out of the mid field, but I want the ball at someone else s feet for the shots on goal.

    • Elaine

      Great analysis of the game Christy. So right about Tobin being on the squad and her presence in the midfield just does wonders to Alex and maybe even Long now. Shim to me has also been critical to what the Thorns have accomplished in these last two games. She seems to always be in the right place and the right time. And her scoring goals and putting them in the back of the net is not a small thing. If Weimer can also put her shots away, the thorns would have 4 goal scoring threats. Also what is your feel about starting Foxhoven and not Weimer for this game? Like I said I only caught bits and pieces of the game but I didn’t see/hear Foxhoven’s name mentioned a lot in the game. Did starting her say more about how Cone feels about the play of Weimer or about giving Foxhoven a chance to start for once?

      • dt

        I thought Cone started Foxhoven because she had an impact in the 2nd half of their last matchup between the two.

        • Elaine

          Not sure about that. I thought Foxhoven didn’t look so great when she subbed in the last game. But they didn’t win against the Flash with Wiemer starting. In this game they won with Foxhoven starting and Wiemer as the sub. Is Cone considering using Wiemer now as a super sub? Who knows?

        • Elaine

          Sorry I didn’t read your post accurately. In regards to the last match up against the Breakers, yes Foxhoven did sub in for a defensive player (Marshall) in the 67th minute to give them a bit more offense since they were down 0-2 at that time. However Wiemer was in for a full 90 mins and no Tobin.

        • kernel_thai

          I kinda thought Cone also went 4-3-3 because she worried it would be a high scoring game. Personally I prefer them playing 4-4-2 but it was nice seeing Foxhoven get a start and Cone make a coaching move.

      • Christy

        Thank you Elaine, Some of my comments above pertain to you as well! :) Shim and Foxhoven are utility players, they are both Nice but not special and both bring a different dimension to the club, both should benefit from the Alex and Tobin connection , as Shim said herself they will pull the defense (usually to the left as they are both left footed) which leaves either Foxy or Shim making that overlapping run unmarked, all she has to do is finish as Shim did on Sunday.

        As I mentioned above, Weimer is a poor finisher and not as aggressive as Foxy she will also play her position where Weimer is a bit of a wanderer and the only player when you are trying to establish an organized midfield presence at this point that you want wandering is Tobin who will rotate with Alex, if you notice over the last 2 games, Tobin plays what ever side Alex is on, so with this we need another player who can step into the gap that Tobin has vacated be it left, right, or center, it has to flow. Weimer gets into the game and she is all over, while she is effective at possession she can add a sense of chaos in the center with her energy level. I think her not starting was both an exchange of aggressiveness for Foxhoven and a period of observation for Weimer. (Here see how the team flows when ppl follow directions) When she came in I felt the energy but I didn’t get sense of Chaos she can bring so maybe this little lesson was helpful for her.
        I have said it before, Long needed stability and she wasn’t getting it, some players stabilize some players need to be stabilized, Carli is a player who needs stabilizing that’s where playing her with organizers like Boxxy and Chen (yes I said Chen not Holiday) keep her managed in most cases.

        Long is the same way, Tobin is going to tell her where she is going to be and the movements she will make and then make sure Long knows where she needs to be in turn. She has looked much better with Tobin moving around her, faster and more focused which is what PT needed from her. Lets see how game 3 goes with Tobin working out of the center, 2 games is a bit premature to say too many good things just yet. Realistically, this team just played 2 of the toughest teams in the league right now, Boston was on a huge upswing with play off hopes on the line and WNY is running ppl over in most cases, when they play Chicago at home this weekend it should be a multi goal win if this team plays the way it has last 2 weeks. “IF”

        On a super high note NO WASHINGTON! Life’s good! :)

  • Guess42

    Does anyone when Boston’s stream goes up? I couldn’t watch the game yesterday and thankfully, I didn’t spend the $5 b/c apparently you can’t watch it on demand. First time missing a game and they actually break their no win streak. Figures…

  • snishy

    So for anyone wondering, Boston uploaded the game on their channel “BostonBreakerstv”. Watching the pregame and one of the commentators-Scott- announced Portland’s coach as coach Crane. Had to laugh at that.

    • Lorehead

      No, the joke is that they charged money.

  • kernel_thai

    Finally saw it…observations.
    1. Cone didnt have her hat on the time I saw her.
    2. Interesting that she went 4-3-3 but I thought it forced Heath to wide. Prefer Weimer on the wing and Heath more interior.
    3. As I didnt have any complaints with the picture I guess the video is better quality than the stream. Sound was too low tho.
    4. I thought Leroux had an off game. I also thought they did a good job keeping Sanderson at bay (maybe Long gets the credit)
    5. Shim play was great soccer. Heath got Morgan the ball at her feet. Morgan one touched it on. Shim made the perfect run to free herself.
    6. Not really sure why people r down on Sinclair. I thought she was solid. She is making good runs and Heath looks for her as much as Morgan. Morgan hasnt figured out Sincs tendencies yet tho. In almost every game Morgan throws up a shot only to look up after and find Sinclair alone on the keeper. When Morgan figures her out, she make lots of goals for her partner. Sinclair seems a bit reserved whereas Wambach has the type of personality where she’d tell Morgan exactly where she needed the ball.
    7. LeBlanc made a great play on the Leroux shot. It was right at her but Leroux was so close and just crushed it so it could have gone right thru LeBlanc’s hands. If Portland somehow wins the league, LeBlanc should be their MVP.