Morgan upgraded, could make ’14 debut Saturday

Jeff Kassouf May 23, 2014 73

The target date — read ‘at latest’ — for Portland Thorns FC to get Alex Morgan back on the field has been June 7 at home against the Western New York Flash, as reported earlier this week.

But there was always a chance that the U.S. forward, who hasn’t played in a competitive match since Nov. 10, 2013, due to a sprained left ankle that turned into a stress reaction, would be back earlier. It looks like that might just happen on Saturday, when the Thorns host Sky Blue FC.

Morgan was initially listed as “out” in the official NWSL injury report that was distributed just before 5 p.m. ET on Friday. At 9:36 p.m. ET, Morgan was upgraded to “questionable,” and Thorns owner Merritt Paulson soon tagged the word “probable” to that, saying he is looking forward to Morgan returning to the field:

  • Bohratom

    I’m a huge NY Flash fan with Carli Lloyd being from Jersey but if one player can dominate Women’s Soccer it is Alex. Not only does she have tremendous speed and athletic ability but she is the the BEST passing foward in Women’s Professional Soccer. The USWNT has not been the same without her (aka Algarve Cup) as her replacements (Leroux, Rodriquez and Press) all think about just scoring and not passing the ball. I for one have been looking forward to Alex returning for months now so I’m so glad it’s finally coming to fruition. Look forward to Alex also returning to the starting Lineup with Abby on the USWNT as they are the best tandem forward pair in the World as they both make each other better.

    • Guess42

      In 2012 they were…I don’t think they are the best tandem anymore and that is more due to Abby’s drop in form, sorry that comes with age and playing as hard as she has in her career. But, I am really looking forward to the return as well. Watching the USWNT and even the Thorns hasn’t been the same. Glad to see she’ll most likely make her 2014 debut at home in front of the fans. Hopefully, she won’t be subbed in until late in the game like 75-80th minute.

      • Steglitz49

        The WC-15 tandem could be Alex and Lindsey.

      • Bohratom

        I just do not see anyone else today that is as good in the air as Abby is for the USWNT. What made Abby and Alex complement one another was their ability to read off one another with Alex using her speed/passing and Abby her height and strategic prowess. I notice some think Abby is past her prime but had Alex not been injured I think many would be singing a different tune on the results of the USWNT of late. Just as many think Donovan, being left off the US Men’s US Team was an injustice, I think the same could be said of Abby as Veteran leadership is often the decider in the World Cup.

        • newsouth

          Popp isn’t that bad at all and as she gets older she’ll get better. Wamach wasn’t good just out the box. it took years. if she was, they’d have a WC by now instead of the broke down version of her milking the NT for one.

          • guest

            Wambachio is ready to milk this cow dry.

        • Guess42

          Would Abby look better with Alex up top with her again? Of course she would, but she is not the same player. Abby still has her aerial threat, which is very important, and she can make nice lay off passes, but her feet in every other regard are not the same. Have you watched her play for WNY? She has no power in her shot, no speed, no finesse. She should have had a goal for them against Por last week and if this was a few years ago, she probably would have scored it. It’s also evident in her penalty shots (remember last year against LeBlanc?) I don’t think she should be completely left off the US team, but she should have reduced minutes. There’s no way she can be consistently effective against the top tier teams. Rookies in the NWSL can shut her down, what do you think Germany or Sweden’s back line will do? I don’t why she or anyone thinks she can be as effective as a Morgan and Press pairing. If she truly wants to win the WC, then she will have to admit to herself, while she may still be a great player as she said last week, that she is not the player she was. It’s not her doing, it comes with the aging of the body and it happens in every sport. Craig Bellamy at age 34 just retired because his body couldn’t take it anymore (source http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/27529117).

          • Bohratom

            You want to replace Abby with a forward like Christian Press who does one thing in game, receive pass and shoot on goal. I’ve watched Carli Lloyd and others pass to her numerous times in which they are open for a return shot on goal and all Press does is fire on goal. She has no situational awareness during the game as her head is down every time she has the ball. We need forwards to do more then just have blinders on playing the game. I agree that Abby’s ability had degraded since 2012 but I also feel the other forwards are all one dimensional.

          • NYRick

            Wow. Press one dimensional, no situational awareness? LOL. And then you top that with Syd at least adding better frontline passing?? The next pass Syd makes for a goal may be her first. Watch her with the ball at her feet running from the side on a long ball. She never, absolutely never looks up and surveys the pitch. Not too much CP hating going on here.

        • Stay Pressed
      • newsouth

        if ellis starts sydney, then wambach will start with her in the 433. why do people think they are working on the formation? they’ve been a 442 squad since day one. germany caterers to the stars of the future while the usa caterers to sponsor contracts. Go Germany!

        • Steglitz49

          Horan. Think Horan.

      • Silver Frost

        It would make sense to sub Morgan in at about 80 minutes. If it is a close game, it will be fun to watch her light it up.

    • luke

      Question is: what Alex Morgan we will see?
      Does she still have her speed?
      Won’t she be blocked mentally?

      She’s young, but it was looooong time off the pitch.

    • guest

      You want ABIGAIL starting with ALEX? What have you been smoking?

      • guest

        Clearly they were stuck in the past, same as Wambach.

    • newsouth

      The Legend continues.

      • guest

        shut it old man

    • Stay Pressed

      Wait…. you’re a Flash fan cause Carlos is from Jersey?
      One would think you’d be a Sky Blue fan, since 2 of their allocations are from Jersey, and… well… so is the team itself.
      Odd.

  • Lala

    Yay.

  • guest

    Hallelujah

  • David K Anderson

    Alex tomorrow. Vero, Stephanie, and (probably) Rachel on the 7th. Tobin not too long after. Decent chance to go back to second in the table tomorrow, five back of the Reign, despite all those missing starters. Things are looking good here in the Rose City…

    • Steglitz49

      I expect Tobin to come back home for the NT matches against France in mid-June, so expect to see her in a Portland jersey in about a month.

  • Steglitz49

    The “14″ in the headline presumably refers to July 14th?

    • Guest

      … 2014

      • Steglitz49

        “You can’t be serious!?!” springs to mind.

  • Guest

    Yes. Just in time.

  • Pressured

    It’s probably going to be as a sub, not a starter. Need to keep expectations in check.

  • Elaine

    Just a little something for Thorns fans awaiting the return of Morgan. Whether she can regain her form remains to be seen, but let’s hope she does. Much credit to the YouTube poster.

    http://youtu.be/ynMxUUGrxRY

    • Silver Frost

      The massive top tier golazo on Barnie is my favorite.

      • GT

        Nice goals but nothing special.

        • guestbetter guest

          If that makes you feel better

          • GT

            Its in the eye of the beholder I guess.To someone with low football standards these goals might look spectacular.

          • Silver Frost

            Please define these exquisite football standards.

        • Don B.

          It’s just goals with the Thorns. It isn’t highlights or a ‘best of’ collection. On a couple of them, you could probably have said “lousy defending, but nothing special”.

    • Lorehead

      Thanks for posting. By the way, if you actually count, that’s eight goals, as many as Christine Sinclair but in many fewer minutes. I bring this up only because some people here have invented a story that she had fewer.

    • Steglitz49

      Sinclair’s pass for the first goal was a dream and one of the other ones was also a perfect through pass (did not recognize the player though).

      The third goal was a goal-keeping error, as were a couple of the others. The fourth goal Alex scored because she can shoot with her right foot as well as left (as can Marta for example). The fifth was a howling defensive error.

      But, all credit to Alex for tucking them away, safe and sound.

  • morSOC

    Meanwhile in leagues like the NFL owners get fined for inaccurate or misleading injury reports. From out to probable is a bit of a miracle cure in that time span. Then again no oddsmakers are involved so no one will get hurt.

    • Steglitz49

      Quite a lot of betting goes on on ladies’ soccer in Europe and Japan. I am told it is because it is honest, so the odds are easier to assess. Indeed, odds are not infrequently quoted over the loudspeakers during games!

      • TsovLoj

        4chan’s /sp/ bets on the women’s game all the time. I think that’s more sports gambling addiction than general interest in women’s soccer, though.

  • VaFan51

    I hope this is not a sleazy device to prod attendance.

    But what I REALLY hope is that this is not the result of the hyper-competitive Alex lobbying to play before her body really is ready.

    • Steglitz49

      More likely her handlers want to remind people about her existence.

      It may even have been a strike against attention on the Champions League final. As it seems, it has served its purpose and now is the time to batten down the hatches.

      • guest

        ALEX MORGAN is not bigger than the CL.The CL has players who are more talented and skillful than ALEX MORGAN.She wasn’t the best player in the NWSL last year.

        • Guestlol

          Yet FIFA voters disagree..
          LOL.. calm down ..

          • guest

            I think deep down you know that often FIFA voters don’t know what they are doing,LOL.

        • Guest

          And what does the CL have to do with Morgan? She doesn’t even play in europe…eurosnob thinking only people who play in Europe have talent.

          • Steglitz49

            Adidas makes the kit for both teams in the ladies’ Champions League final. Maybe Nike wanted to bring focus back on them?

          • guest

            STFU.

          • Guest

            Good comeback.

      • newsouth

        i don’t understand this post. are you saying, people in germany are concerned with morgan’s return to portland vs VW winning?

        • Steglitz49

          With three Americans playing for Tyresö, all potential NT fodder, it seems that Americans interested in women’s soccer paid quite some attention this year, possibly more than last year when it was Pinoe in the final.

          What the handlers would have done had Tyresö won and one of the US players scored the all important goal is an interesting speculation but now we won’t know.

          • newsouth

            are you saying, morgan would have carried tyreso to victory instead of marta?

          • guestimate

            There were instances where she couldn’t even carry the THORNS to victory over FCKC.

          • Steglitz49

            Marta? Mazda?

          • Don B.

            I think he’s talking about the Americans who actually play for the team?

          • Steglitz49

            One wonders if Ali Krieger had played in the final, Tyresö might have won? Any speculators on that throw-away comment?

          • Steglitz49

            No.

  • VaFan51

    Just being honest: I miss the hell out of watching Alex Morgan play.
    I have been in various stadiums when she has made a run with or onto a ball, and the crowd reaction is like nothing else I have ever heard at any soccer match. I hope to see her in form again soon, running like the wind is at her back.

  • Steglatz

    Only 47 comments on an ALEX declared good to go thread in 2 days, hmmmmmm!

    • Steglitz49

      No-one has managed to work certain other American player(s) into the cycle. No-one can object to seeing Alex playing again. They might worry that she is coming back too soon and taking a needless risk.

      I was hoping Alex would get married this summer so we could all discuss her wedding dress ad nauseam. Who will she ask to design it, do you think?

  • Jigsawwill
    • Steglitz49

      Thank you. Camille once played for LASol, which must have been instructive given the strength of their squad.

    • newsouth

      I still think they are mental midgets and wither away once Delie is eliminated, esp in big games, but we will see. They have a new coach, formation and are more skilled club than the USA. But something tells me Direct Ball FC will muscle them off the field again.

  • Lorehead

    The Thorns were terrible tonight. Was it something in the water?

    • Silver Frost

      What happened to Brooks?

      Shim has proved she needs a trade. This is the third game she’s blown an open look. I didn’t see the one tonight as the Thorns TV crew decided not to show live action on that quick set piece. And no replay of it.

      Moros can’t pass to save her life.

      McD is a gunner with no instinct for passing.

      Sinc is old and worn out.

      When you get out-hussled by a 38 yr old mother of two (Rampone), there is something wrong with your fitness. Maybe Thorns can manage a win this week against last place Boston.

      Thorns are back to their old ways getting tight in front of the home crowd.

    • AshleyZ

      Holy crap yeah they were. How can you lose to Sky Blue, one of the worst teams in the league, how?! I lost count of how many turnovers there were. Refs were of course worthless but this one was the fault of two things: McDonald – by far her worst game of the season, she was terrible from minute 1, and Riley, with his awful subbing decisions and timing. Effing duh, put Alex on! Why was she there if you weren’t going to use her, and everybody else wasn’t gettin it done! Glad I didn’t waste my time going to this game……

      • Pia Knows Best

        I think a lot of ticket holders will vote with their feet in the next home games. By next year, after Thorns again fail to win home advantage in the playoffs, if they can even get there, attendance will be down to around 5,000 a game. Knowing they usually choke at home, why bother?

        • Steglitz49

          They won the NWSL, didn’t they? What more can the fans ask? Ask in Madrid.
          OK. Tobin won the NWSL for them, Noy Joysey girl, not Oregonite, that she is. Well done the lass from Paris.

        • Lorehead

          Nah. That’s June 7, the first chance to see all the new players. They didn’t choke against FCKC or WNY at home, and Seattle was a great game that the fans don’t regret going to. A loss in the 90th minute is not the same as a choke. It’ll take more than one bad game to ruin all their goodwill.

          On the other hand, Paulson goosing ticket sales by promising them Morgan, when Riley said afterward that he had no intention of playing her, might annoy people.

        • Paul Atkinson

          That’s adorable. You think Portland is full of fair-weather fans. Seriously, if that were true there would be no such thing as the Timbers Army. It’s not like the Timbers are some kind of juggernaut, but there’s never been an unsold ticket in the MLS era despite a less-than-stellar record on the pitch.

          I don’t see any reason to believe our NWSL support is any different.

      • newsouth

        i was thinking the morgan sub too but saw rampone on the pitch. how many games has rampone stopped her since she has the speed advantage? it would have been a bump to get the wesens in an uproar but i think the score stays the same. two defensive minded coaches but one has the better defenders.

    • bertiedav

      LOL

  • Pressured

    “Blahahaha Psych!” – Merritt Paulson