Press keys Red Stars rally in 2-2 draw at Portland

Dan Lauletta July 4, 2014 273

Christen Press’ first two NWSL goals cancelled out an outstanding first half for the Portland Thorns, who settled for a 2-2 home draw against the Chicago Red Stars.  The result leaves both sides on 21 points (6-6-3 for both) with the Red Stars leading the Thorns for the coveted 4th position on goal difference.  The Flash, on 20 points, can leap them both with a win on Saturday.

“Urgency, before the game, there was a lot of urgency in the group,” Thorns coach Paul Riley said. “I don’t think that’s a problem for us. There is urgency, but we’re running out of games. Obviously the desperation point comes when the points go off the table. We’ve let a really great position go at 2-0 to get three points at home. Now you’ve got the difficult part of going to Chicago twice in the next three games, which isn’t an easy place to go, on a field that’s the size of this room. It’s not going to be easy. But you just have to finish games.”

The Thorns celebrated the holiday match by welcoming back Tobin Heath, last seen in a Thorns kit scoring on a majestic free kick on her way to MVP honors in the 2013 final.  Heath returned to an immediate place in the first XI, an honor not bestowed upon Christine Sinclair, reduced to the bench in the 1st half in favor of Jess McDonald.

After 24 minutes, much of which was played with the Thorns attacking, McDonald made the move seem like the right one.  Allie Long sent a corner kick into the box that looked like it was intended for Rachel Van Hollebeke.  When Van Hollebeke fell down, McDonald was there to curve the loose ball inside the left post for her team best 9th goal on the season.

The Thorns doubled up off another corner kick in the 39th minute.  Long was not allowed to take it, instead being sent to the sideline for better bandaging of a cut that had drawn blood.  Veronica Boquete took a short corner and worked a give-and-go with Sinead Farrelly.  From there Boquete threaded a precision cross to Sarah Huffman who was able to evade Red Stars defenders in the area and finish her first NWSL goal.

Sinclair entered the match after halftime but it was the Red Stars who made the impression over the final 45.  Still they trailed 2-0 with 15 minutes to go.  That was when several Red Stars got quick touches off a throw-in and Emily Van Egmond hit a one-touch ball over the top that put Press through by splitting Huffman and Nikki Marshall.  Nadine Angerer came out to challenge but Press took a goal-scorers touch to avoid the Thorns keeper and scored past the recovering defenders from a difficult angle.

Press’ equalizer was the sort of goal that cannot be defended.  The Red Stars built up the left side and Van Egmond’s ball into the box was cleared out by the Thorns.  It went to Press, who took a touch forward, then found a seam between two onrushing Thorns and cracked a shot into the upper 90.  The beautiful strike leveled the match and sent both teams off to finish their holidays with a single point.

“I’m proud of the team’s resilience to fight to come back in this game,” Press said. “From what I’ve seen and felt, that’s what being a Red Star is all about.”

The comeback marked the second time the Red Stars have erased a two-goal deficit inside 15 minutes to earn a draw in Portland.  Last July 28, goals by Alyssa Mautz (75th) and Julianne Sitch (86th) led the rally in a 3-3 draw.

The Red Stars and Thorns will meet again Wednesday night in Chicago.

  • guest
    • Paulson

      Don’t worry, our star players are coming back soon.

    • Lance Scallop

      An absolutely beautiful goal!

      • Sydonia

        Does it look like Allie Long was being a bit lazy in not trying to tackle?

        • Guest

          That’s what happens when you have Long at DM. She loses her mark in midfield then fails to track back quickly enough.

          • Elaine

            Long was marking Calupny today, in which she did a good job. The Thorns failed to mark Press when Chicago made the adjustment and moved her to central forward.

          • Miguel Najdorf

            Maybe Menges at CB and Van Hollebecke at DM?

          • JL

            Menges and VH at CB, Marshall to LB where she was last year, and Brooks to DM.

          • Lorehead

            Morgan – Sinclair (McDonald)

            Heath – Long – Boquete

            Brooks (Moros)

            Catley – Van – Menges – Marshall (Huffman)
            Hollebeke

            Angerer

        • Flammenwurfer

          Allie could have been fatigued and just didn’t bother. it happens.

    • newsouth

      actually, she was watching her feet again. i’m surprise she didn’t get underneath and shank it. just saying something i’ve noticed a couple of games, esp during her dry spell. that’s a form issue which didn’t happen at FCG. she needs to go back to her striking coach in the off-season and not do the repetitive stuff at beast mode.

      • justsayin

        Maybe she was waiting for the ball to settle?

        • newsouth

          just sayin (no pun) she needs to find her target than strike. usually head up after the strike turns into a shank. maybe it’s just me.

      • Steglitz49

        Her coach in Gbg was one of the great strikers of his generation. Christen could always ask him to come to Chicago.

        • newsouth

          i don’t know about him but she’s more of a target striker, flicks at end of her shot something like casey lyod vs a power shot like kelly smith or carli lloyd. the problem is, her head comes up after the shot is off, so there isn’t always follow through. hence, her flicks go sailing off. her saving grace is her light touch, so if she touches it right the ball loops down instead of going into the 15th row. i can say from playing football for years it needs to be fixed. she’s like montana throwing a touch pass in traffic vs elway throwing a battle. when the touch is off, her whole shooting game is off, which pretty explains her funk. you just have to keep an eye on her foot at the end of all her shots. the ending flick never changes.

          • Steglitz49

            The obvious person to go and see in the US is Juergen Klinsmann. I am sure USSoceer could fix up for Christen to have some private tuition from him in her native California.

    • Ashley

      I wish someone had a picture of the players on the bench, specifically Alex Morgan after that second goal

  • Lindsay

    Could not stop thinking about how this exact same thing happened last year after Press’s first goal. Someone said spot on as soon as Alex comes out Chicago will tie not that those 2 things are/were dependent on each other

    • Sydonia

      Old Angerer is not too good at those top shelf saves. Third one this year.

      Press showed up today big time. And Thorns again failed to close it out, leaving gaping holes in the center for Press and others to threaten.

      • Guest

        This isn’t a surprise too anyone who’s watched her before the NWSL or Euro 2013. Even during her time in Australia she got beat by the same type of shots.

        • Miguel Najdorf

          Maybe, but nobody gets to that shot ever.

          • romel dias

            I second that! Its was just a top strike!!

      • romel dias

        Its not about Angerer..if it was Morgan or Since making those shots..you’d be wetting yourselves!

      • none

        which woso gk is good at top shelf saves. i’m not sure any of them could have saved that shot.

    • Rdalford

      Portland (and other NWSL teams) should know by now that Chicago plays all 90+ minutes and is able to come back or win late in the game. re subs impact. When Chicago took out Hoy they also moved Press more central where Press is more effective – and she scored two. Alex being out reduced Portland’s ability to respond.

      • BCAD

        Portland has got to find a way to respond without Morgan. I know Morgan attracts the defense which frees up more players but there has to more than that

        • Rdalford

          agree

        • Elaine

          You would think that Sinclair would be the more but that hasn’t been the case.

          • Lorehead

            The midfield and forwards seemed out of synch, too. Big improvement from the previous game, where the passes went nowhere.

          • Elaine

            This was what I posted at rose city soccer press but I’ll repost here to get some feedback.

            Does anybody not like the way that Riley is running the offensive strategy? Too crowded in the final third of the field, too susceptible to the counter by the defensive line so high up the field, too easy for the opposition to chip one over on Angerer since she is sometimes so far up from the box, too congested for Alex Morgan to get into any significant runs and is a waste of her talent. Since her return, I have not seen a single ball that finds her on a run. Even the two goals the Thorns scored today were off scrambles in a crowded box. Riley needs to figure out how to get Morgan into space where she is most effective. She does the most damage when the defense is stretched out, rather than staying compact and defend.

          • Lorehead

            The high defensive line with a sweeper keeper and wingbacks is a viable strategy in theory, but except for that one game where Washington had a late defensive collapse, it just has not been scoring enough goals to work. (Neither of our goals today were in the run of play.)

            That said, it does seem to be producing a decent number of opportunities that the Thorns are just not putting away. And the passes were reaching the forwards slightly early or late today, not missing them completely.

          • Elaine

            They haven’t gotten down the spacing needed to play this type of strategy. Forwards running into midfielders, defensive backs running into midfielders is not how it should look. Opportunities are there yes, but they are not clean ones.

          • Lorehead

            No, definitely not how it should look.

          • kernel_thai

            I would prefer to play Morgan on the left and either McDonald or Sinclair in the target spot. Morgan seems more comfortable over there from her NT play and it makes it harder to triple team her if she isnt right in front of the goal.

          • newsouth

            actually, morgan as a lone-striker for the NT would be worth trying but as i’ve said you need a shooter behind her. when she is doubled/tripled, she will kick back, and press is a shift to the left or right and quick trigger if she is ON. teams won’t let press venture to the top of the box. she makes central defenders move forward which opens lanes for morgan to slash. the trick is you need to two correct mid-fielders, who pass first, shoot second, flanking press. the difference from france is, if you stop delie, france’s over hyped mid-field doesn’t have a trigger woman behind delie similar to press, so it’s easy to take delie out of a game. but again, press can’t be going through her cold spells either.

          • kernel_thai

            I think taking a two goal lead into the final 15 it’s kind of hard to pin the loss on the offense and Im not saying it’s a good offense. If I wanted to question Riley, it would be the strategy of pressing for a third goal instead of keeping more players behind the ball and better defending the two goal lead late in the match.

          • Elaine

            This is it right here for the Thorns. Sinclair for Farrelly as another poster stated. A forward for a midfielder. Up 2-0. 3 forwards and 3 midfielders. He gambled on getting a 3rd goal instead of playing keep away in the midfield and it backfired. Chicago gained better possession and was able to push forward. Then realizing his mistake, he took out Morgan and put in Moros, and ended up how it was the the first half, a 4-4-2. But you have no Morgan who can occupy the defense, hence Chicago was able to further push forward for the 2 goals. Dames made his adjustment well after the half. He had 3 forwards in the lineup at that point, Bywaters, Tanc, and playing Press at center forward. Chicago pushed for the goals while the Thorns didn’t adjust to that defensively.

          • Lorehead

            Back from watching the Timbers, and I think you’re spot on. Sinclair didn’t intimidate Chicago into staying back, although two goals down at 75′, they would have had to chase the game anyway.

          • romel dias

            This just needs well oiled coordination and focus! The one team that plays it successfully enough is the German MNT

          • Lorehead

            You were saying?

            So, you were a fan of the German MNT and the Seattle Reign. Any other favorites, before I call my bookie?

        • Osol

          Agree as well. Morgan cannot be end all be all for this team which I think is what happened last year as well. And for some reason I find myself not rooting for Portland no matter who they play. Its not like I even dislike Portland and I love Alex Morgan. Does anyone else feel this way?

          • Elaine

            It’s the coaching, isn’t it.

          • Osol

            I’m not even sure if its Riley and the coaching. They just erkkk me for some reason and I also like what I have seen for Catley and Vero. Maybe by the end of the season I will figure it out

          • guest

            I love individual players on the thorns. I just can’t stand them as a team.

          • Osol

            Maybe that’s it, I like them individually just not together

          • Lorehead

            I get it if it feels as if the Thorns have all the advantages. They do in some ways, although they came by them honestly.

          • fanfrom1995

            I feel the same way about Portland; really like many of the players, but not the organization. Also trying to figure it out. They received the best allocations (Morgan, Heath, Sinc) and won the ships last year. Now this year, they released/traded many of the players that helped them win (LeBlanc, Williamson), and that seems less than loyal. I know this is sports, but it bothers me.

            So now ..new world class internationals (Vero, Angerer). I guess it seems unfair when NJ and Boston struggle, but again, this is sports. Also, I love the fact that Portlandians support woso, but some of the rose city riveters bug me.

            Anyway, Sky Blue is my team, but they are not going anywhere this season, so I have become a fan of Seattle and Kansas. I would love either of them to win the championship. Hey for that matter, would love Press and Chicago to win it all. Dames finally figured out where to position her in second half.

          • Osol

            SBFC is my team as well. I love them so much. Hate that they don’t have the amount as quality players as Porltand but they still give 100% (most of the time…not denying they don’t have questionable moments). While portland I feel thinks they can win on talent alone which obviously is not working

          • kernel_thai

            It more the philosophy than the coaching. Riley seems to believe the only way u win is score a team into submission but there r more than one ways to win. As others have mentioned, up two in the second half the move was Brooks at DM, let Chicago chase the game and try and get the 3rd goal on a counter.

  • Guest

    So basically the only thing i got from that game is that press should never play on the wing for the NT ever again.

    • Pia Knows Best

      Ellis having Press as a withdrawn forward (last game against France) is weird, IMHO.

    • kernel_thai

      Press ends up in the middle no matter where u play her…the key is play her. For example in the last game against France Press had two really good chances, both in the 2nd half when Press was lined up as the right forward. The first was on that beautiful spin move and cross by Holiday that almost found Press’ head on left side of the goal mouth. The second was the ball that Press crushed from the top of the box that hit the left post. The only important thing is that she gets back on the right to defend.

  • Lance Scallop

    After a season and a half, everybody knows Chicago never gives up. But with a player like Press (when being used properly) is on board now as well? Look out.

  • Cameron

    Christen Press is finesse it’s in her bones, it’s in her blood watch out cuz she is just getting started.

  • Silver Frost

    Another flaccid second half effort by Thorns. Sinc once again proves why she needs a rest: I counted four head-down giveaways by Sinc. Poor offense when Sinc is playing. They just don’t click.

    Nobody on Thorns was really horrible today, and Huffman played a great game, as did Catley. But McD proved that even with 9 goals a forward can be a liability. She just can’t set up other players to score, and needs work on headers.

    Morgan’s play is simply bizarre lately. She was gassed at 60 minutes. Maybe the double teaming wore her out.

    Full credit to CHI. They never gave up. And Thorns took their foot off the gas in the 2nd half. And still 13,000 fans show up to see this farce.

    • JL

      Word is Riley is still running 2 trainings a day. The team looked spent in the last 20 minutes, which means he’s pushing them too hard on the practice field and not leaving enough energy for actual matches.

      • Miguel Najdorf

        It would be interesting to chart their goals scored per 15 minutes…

      • mockmook

        I was blaming Riley for heavy training draining the Thorns (and it may be).

        But, I read an old article where Riley said he would use two-a-days until the season started. I doubt he changed his mind.

        Still, why are the Thorns looking so gassed? Riley needs to answer for that.

    • Synch

      “Sinc was a little tired,” Riley said. “With six games in the next (three) weeks, there’s a lot of games coming up.”http://www.oregonlive.com/portland-thorns/2014/07/portland_thorns_blow_two-goal.html#incart_river

  • Elaine

    Riley vs Chicago 2-0, sat Morgan. Cone vs Chicago 3-1, sat Morgan. Both resulted in a tie. What gives?

    Do these coaches even watch any of Morgan’s past games? Why sit your speedy forward who occupies so much attention from the defense? Why sit a player who thrives on pressure and has the ability to play the counter when the opposition is pushing to score?

    Good adjustment at the half for Chicago to play Press higher up where she thrives. Two goals. Not bad. The second was a beauty.

    • Harry Truman

      Morgan was worn out from being double teamed. She was ineffective, so Riley subbed her out for Moros, who had the game of her life. She created several opportunities.

      • Elaine

        You just said it. She was double teamed. She will occupy the defense and allow others space. Without that presence, the defense has it easy to cover McDonald and whoever else.

        • ForeverLOST108

          Except Morgan looked tired. After some giveaway she had her hands on her knees, bent over. Morgan lets her emotions go on the field and usually she isn’t the type of player that likes to get subbed out – she didn’t seem to have an issue with it today.

          • Elaine

            Don’t confuse Morgan’s frustration with being tired. Hope they will ask Morgan if she was really tired or not.
            I just think the way Riley is playing the offense, there just isn’t any room for Morgan to operate. She needs space and balls to run onto.

          • Lorehead

            Still, it was bizarre. At one point between 60′ and 70′, she actually received the ball while bending over to take a breather.

          • Guest

            If she isn’t tired she needs to not act tired. The coaching staff aren’t mind readers. Everyone watching the game thought she was tired. She’s coming off an injury and bad things can happen when you play tired. If she is up to play 90s she needs to act like it. That sub shouldn’t have been the fatal flaw. They have plenty of good players to finish a game out when they are 2-0.

          • Lorehead

            Indeed, she publicly blamed Riley after her first game for playing her for 90′ when she was gassed at 70′. Today, he pulled her at 70′.

          • Elaine

            The replay is up. I disagree with everyone that Morgan was tired or acting it. At the 64min, she raced back to the midfield to strip the ball away from Bywaters. At the 65min, she made a run upfield. At the 67min, she made a bad pass and was frustrated with herself, not tired in my opinion. Riley probably wanted to sub a forward at that point in the game for a midfielder. SInce Sinc just came on at the half and McDonald scored in the game, Riley decided to sub out Morgan.

          • Lorehead

            Whether she was physically tired or just mentally out-of-focus, pulling her was probably the right decision.

          • Elaine

            Yes, at the other site, it was suggested Riley pulled Morgan out to save her legs for the game on Wednesday. Just too bad the Thorns could not hold on to the lead, with or without Morgan.

          • Lorehead

            Is Morgan that involved in the defense, really, the way Leroux is for Seattle?

          • Elaine

            I see her in the midfield a lot more in this game. But probably not as much as Sydney does in Seattle. At times today she was almost playing the role Sinc has been playing for the Thorns.

          • Guest

            Your agenda against Morgan is old and dumb you should be complaining about the lackluster play from your favorite Sinclair instead of you know a player who actually is busting their ass for the team or why Riley keeps clogging up the box with a forward who has little to no soccer IQ and I don’t care how many she poaches she needs to be a late sub period. Just ridiculous. And Morgan helped out the Midfield and defense more than Sinclair or McDonald did in this game so STHU

          • Lorehead

            What a bizarre reaction. Since you’re reading a great deal into what I said that I don’t even agree with, please leave me alone.

          • newsouth

            morgan isn’t superwoman, was tired. the ball hit the back of her heels because she phased out the game for a couple of minutes because of fatigue.

  • kernel_thai

    Press and Morgan. Press seems most dangerous from a stand still where she can freeze the defender move equally well in either direction and get a shot off thru the smallest crack. Morgan is better on the move. Running onto a long pass or a thru ball and dodging effortlessly thru traffic. Think how hard they would be to stop if paired together at the top of an attack. This was a pointed statement.

    • ForeverLOST108

      Not to mention Press can score nearly as well with both feet, as shown today. You need that skill on the field.

    • NYRick

      Press and Morgan. Nuff said. When will they ever realize?

      • nwslfan

        June 2014? weren’t they paired for France?

        • TH

          They weren’t necessarily paired since it was a 4-3-3 that turned into a 4-5-1 for most of the game. And Press was in the midfield most of the time.

          • nwslfan

            “paired” or not, France #1 Press and Morgan played 40+” together on the field. France #2 – Press and Morgan played 45+” together on the field.

          • TH

            But I mean they weren’t directly paired up top together in a 4-4-2. They were separated most of the game and couldn’t correctly play and flow together like they would in a 4-4-2 or if the team was in a 4-5-1 with Press directly beneath Morgan.

    • newsouth

      unfortunately, it ain’t happening because it would take almost every game going to the world cup to make this work. press gets to hang on the wings and compete with heath for most dispossessions per game instead of jumping playing behind morgan. how hard can it be to just sit her at the top of the box and teach her to pass first than shot if no lanes are open. she’s doing it from the wings, based on the france friendlies, lol. .

      • Elaine

        Have some faith. Anyhow, Ellis was at the KC vs Portland game last week and she was most impressed with the way KC plays. She may even try the 4-5-1 setup like Vlatko runs for the US’s next friendly, who knows? Arod as the lone forward anyone?

        • guest

          Here’s the link to the article regarding how Ellis was impressed with FCKC’s style of play.

          http://www.kansascity.com/sports/mls/fc-kansas-city/article660665.html

        • newsouth

          and this is what i mean. if they went with a 451 then place press directly behind morgan. it’s almost a double layered attack but as i’ve said that center spot goes to wambach or holiday, just based on what i’ve seen. press gets tossed on the wings. for 70 mins of the portland game couldn’t figure who was the worst on the field, press (oops, i couldn’t even find her for most of the game) or heath. it’s beyond poor coaching to make her a winger. too slow and she has to watch her feet to maintain possession which might work against a soft french press but will get overwhelmed against germany, again, or japan. .

        • Steglitz49

          Do you mean 4-5-1 or 3-5-2?

          In reality it is 4-4-2 with flexibility for the captain to rearrange the chess-pieces on the field as the game develops.

          • Elaine

            I thought KC runs a 4-5-1.

          • nwslfan

            IMO,4-2-3-1 specifically

          • wosofan

            It is a 4-2-3-1. And Mathias is underrated, with the amount of work she does on both ends. Tymrak is improving but doesn’t play defense like Mathias.

        • KCFan

          Here’s KC’s lineup last week against Portland:
          Barnhart,
          Robinson, Sauerbrunn, Phillips, Kallman;
          Buczkowski, Richmond,
          Mathias, Holiday, Tymrak;
          Rodriguez

          Looks like a 4-5-1.

          • Steglitz49

            4-2-3-1 — at least the way you have typed it.

  • time will tell

    Fire up the bandwagon. The greatest US forward of all time finally did her job against a bunch of mentally messed players.

    • NYRick

      As much as I’m sure it kills you, you have to admit that the first was a clinical finish, and the second was just pure class.

      • time will tell

        Did I dismiss the quality of the shots? Think you missed the point, but you did rise to the bait like a trained seal!

        • NYRick

          Oh stop. Just having some fun with you. She still has a lot to prove and a long way to go, but I’ll say it forever…Alex and CP. It’s impossible to miss.

          • time will tell

            Now you get it

    • Justin C

      Your just a hater who knows nothing about the game and can’t appreciate a player who is exceptional because of pure skill, soccer iq, and prowess… The fact that she is strikingly beautiful and quite intelligent is a bonus… Her succeeding just chaps your ass doesn’t it?? I don’t understand:/ :/ I’m a big fan of Christen Press and have been since I watched her at nationals back in my youth club days, but whenever I see Syd or Alex succeed I am genuinely happy for them regardless if they aren’t my favorite. Maybe that’s just the footballer in me and realizing that this game takes WORK and whenever I experience or witness triumph I appreciate it.

      • time will tell

        Man I should catch this many when I fish.

      • guest

        Well said. :)

      • Guest

        Press fans are so thin skinned. They get easily riled up.

        • Steglitz49

          Verily and forsooth.

  • RollingBeatles

    While it would have been nice to have a playoff game in front of a large crowd in Portland, it likely won’t happen again, and they’d probably be better off on the road anyway…if they even make it. Maybe they can open the other stands in Seattle and hit 10,000 in the playoffs.

    • guest

      At this point it wouldn’t be completely unsurprising if Portland don’t make the playoffs.

      • Steglitz49

        Both Portland and Chicago can pass DC. Had DC won instead of drawn, DC would be safer but not fully safe.

    • Steglitz49

      In 2012 the German FA took a risk and staged the ladies Champions League final in the Olympic stadium in Munich. They were rewarded with a sell-out crowd. More than 50,000 came. Next season’s ladies Champions League final will played in the Berlin Olympic stadium, which seats 74,000. Let’s hope that that will be a sell-out too.

      If Portland feel confident of 20,000 at the NWSL final, why not play it in Portland? If Seattle believe 38,000 why not play it there?

      • Lorehead

        Because that would make the order of the top four finishers irrelevant?

        • Steglitz49

          In the NFL the final is played on neutral ground. It is one single game.

          I understand the principle of an American playoff. The difference is that in the NHL, NBA and MLB the final is played over many (7) games.

          In France, their ladies cup final is played at the ground of the previous season’s winner. If the winner is in the final again, it is played at the losing finalist. In Sweden they use some complex formula to determine who hosts the final. In England the ladies FA cup is played at a neutral ground.

          There are many ways to skin a cat.

          • Lorehead

            The NFL has a completely different system, with fewer games, an unbalanced schedule, more playoff rounds, wild-card spots, and bye weeks for the conference champions. The UEFA CL does the same thing, but there the fact that domestic-league records don’t matter past the group-stage seeding is intentional. Both can count on a large number of fans booking their trips in advance.

            Besides, that rule was made when the league was afraid it would end up playing in Green Bay every other year.

          • Steglitz49

            The challenge to US women’s pro-soccer is that the men are breathing down their necks.

            In the next men’s world cup, the US men could well do better than this year — which meant getting out of the group of death and playing a commendable last-16 match, a jolly good show by any account. I don’t know if Klinsmann will stay on as head coach, but he is a major name in soccer, so the men have already pulled a trump there.

            I do not understand your comment about the ladies Champions League.

          • Lorehead

            I mean that both the men’s and women’s CL have a final on predetermined, usually neutral ground.

          • Steglitz49

            So. The NWSL can follow suit.

            It is not different from the men’s FA cup final always being played at Wembley or the men’s German cup in Berlin (even before 1989) and their ladies playing in Cologne these days instead as a curtain raiser for the men.

          • Lorehead

            It’s not a completely unworkable idea: there are a lot of colleges around the country that could host the final at the stadium their women’s soccer team uses. The league seems to be hoping for a sold-out MLS stadium one of these years.

      • RollingBeatles

        I do think it would be interesting if they just hosted the final in Portland regardless of who plays. Doubt they would do it though. The Seattle stadium holds 14,000 all together…so they would be a nice place for the final anyway. They could probably even add temporary seats if they had to behind the goals. We’ll see.

  • Miguel Najdorf

    Riley did say in the preview that thie entire focus would be scoring the first goal. Mission accomplished.

    It looks like Sinclair for Farrelly and Press to CF was the story of this match.

    • romel dias

      Hopefully by the end of regular season his goal is to win matches

  • NYRick

    Quick match thoughts:
    1. Dames is the worst tactician in the sport. He finally figured out that Press is a CF and should be the focal point of his team.
    2. Quon can’t defend. Seriously bad.
    3. Catley is a player. How do such good players like this magically fall to Portland when a team like SB, Boston or Houston could so use her more.
    4. Vero just fun to watch.
    5. Never sub out Alex. Game changed the moment that happened.
    6. How is Hoy your lone striker when you have CP on your team, and worse you even position CP in the midfield in the first half? How can you possibly coach that bad and still keep your job?
    7. Happy for Press. She stepped in a big spot. Hopefully it’s a sign of good things for her.
    8. Press and Morgan with Press directly behind Alex. It’s what it’s all about for the NT. People who refuse to see it are just haters for whatever reason. Syd and Abby are supporting roles, not starters.
    9. Riley looks like everyone’s HS biology teacher. You know he does.

    • Calci0

      8. It wouldn’t be like me to just let your slight slide ;-) I’ll put my “Agree to Disagree” stamp here! Morgan, Leroux, Press, and Wambach are all starters,

      • guest

        Wambach is not starting material anymore.

        • Calci0

          I’d say depending on the team….. It’s about creating mismatches, and taking advantage of your opponents weaknesses, and Wambach can exploit those. But my main point was just what you posted above; the starting fwd pool is not just the pair NYRick pushes for. Heck in the short time I saw Hagen play, she impressed me with her foot work, and you can’t teach her size!

      • NYRick

        Yes they are all starters, but if I can only pick two to start I’m going with AM and CP. We can respectfully disagree on that. Abby is an icon but she no longer be taking minutes from these three, and Syd is just not as good a player as AM and CP in my opinion. We can respectfully disagree on that too. Just think the skill sets of AM and CP would match perfectly with chemistry and minutes for the NT, with Syd being more of the super sub and spot starter.

        • Calci0

          Well again, Leroux’s performance has shown that she has more than earned at chance at starting. And they are both equally talented, just with differing styles. But Leroux in Morgan’s absence, showed she has a nose for scoring goals against stiffer competition. She has proved herself at every level, and I think it’s a slight to make her the “super sub” and give her less minutes. And speaking of chemistry, the way Morgan and Leroux played together in 2008, shows how dangerous a pairing they can be.

          • Guest

            Press needs to mentally get into the flow of a game and establish chemistry. She’s not a super sub nor does she have those typical distinctions of successful ones in the past. You want someone feisty who will scrap for everything, run onto balls, and doesn’t need chemistry to get them going. That isn’t every players strong points. It is Syd’s.

          • Calci0

            So even though both are more than adequate starters, because Press needs to be in the flow of the game, Leroux has to ride the pine?!? How is that remotely fair?!? You are right, Leroux is “feisty, and will “scrap for everything” but she’ll do so for 90+ minutes, why waste that and only use it for 15-20mins?!?

          • Lorehead

            Life’s not fair, and the coach should make the decision that’s best for the team. In the WC and Olympics, that’s going to involve some rotation anyway.

          • Calci0

            That’s not what the comment was….. It was Leroux should sit, because Press, isn’t as good of a sub.. So if that’s the case, why penalize another player that’s earned her spot?!? I think what’s best for the USWNT, is a rotation of fwds, to keep everyone fresh in a grueling WWC.

          • newsouth

            i think he is saying with 20 mins left in the game you’d prefer sydney coming in fresh and ready to run vs press ice cold and trying to get in the flow of the game. one plays me to the flow of the game while the other can be a 20 min party crasher for the other team. it depends on how you look at them. put wambach on the bench and out of everyone’s hair and minds and let them decide which one makes a 70 min dynamic pair with morgan. if you go with all 3 on the pitch sydney put her on the wings because of work rate, defense and hustle. it’s all fan talk because we know how the nt will work.

          • NYRick

            Oddly enough, I always thought Press was a 70 minute player who gets gassed around that time, and today she scored two from the 75th minute on, so really anything is possible. I think it is like you have said, a combination of the 3 depending on matchups would work the best for the NT. It is quite a luxury to have for the NT. I do think the hardest job for Ellis is to fully understand all 3′s best skill sets and put them in the right positions on the pitch (i.e. CP is best as a CF, not a wing). Syd belongs on the flanks where she can create havoc with her tenaciousness. And Alex needs to sit up top to take advantage of her speed and playmaking ability and really her presence. This is most advantageous in my opinion with Press sitting directly beyond her, not Holiday.

            As for fair, life and sports are never really fair. Is it really fair that “maybe” Ellis may favor Syd as a starter more than CP for personal UCLA reasons? And I say maybe there. Or by the same token, would it be fair that Syd got less time if TG had more influence as to who plays and pushed for Press? Or is it fair that Abby is an icon with one goal left in her career and may get the minutes over either because of that?

          • Lorehead

            I think Syd definitely earned her spot with her play while Alex was injured.

          • Guest

            definitely. Don’t know how anyone can say she doesn’t when shes been the only one scoring the big goals when Morgan was injured.

          • Guest

            Of course you do it feeds your agenda. Morgan and Press are the better forwards even though Sydney is still tops. A well rounded rotation however is what is needed for the WWC

          • Lorehead

            What a bizarre reaction. Your idea of what I want is completely mistaken, so please leave me alone.

          • Calci0

            With the way Leroux performed in Morgan absence, I’d echo she has earned her spot. Between those two they have scored a majority of the goals against the stiffer competition. Why not start out with that?!?

          • Reality

            There have been a number of false myths attributed to Press…that she is not effective beyond 70″, that she is a cream puff (she ran over Nikki Marshall in this game), or that she is a shanker. All are exaggerations prompted by fan frustration.

            With her skills, talent and attitude, she has adapted well to a variety of situations. She made necessary changes in her style in Sweden to accommodate the possession style. On the the NT, she has been played largely out of her natural position at CF and still has averaged a goal every 96″ since her debut. Now with Chicago, Dames has been wasting her talent with his defensive direct over the top play.

            But perhaps this second half gave him a glimpse of what Press could do for CRS if he changed his setup. Perhaps Ellis would also take a hint.

            Chicago is not Press’s type of team where she can fully manifest her potential. The argument that she has the opportunity to be a leader there is essentially saying she should settle for mediocrity.

            She will adapt herself to CRS and produce but she will not thrive there or on the NT unless she is given a chance to play her natural position at CF in a balanced style of play.

            The ideal on the NT would be in combination with Morgan in a mixed possession direct style.

            In the NWSL, Press would do very nicely with the Reign or KC.

            In the meantime, Dames should focus on utilizing Press effectively by keeping her at CF and moving Johnston up to mid along with DiBernardo, and Chalupny in order to create a credible offensive flow.

            Press has yet to reach her full potential and if given sufficient favorable circumstances, she will be quite special for women’s soccer.

          • Steglitz49

            Who wouldn’t do well in Seattle or KC at the moment?

            The strong point here is that Christen stamped her seal on a game playing for Chicago and against a team loaded with stars. That’s her achievement.

          • Reality

            As I said, Press adapts well to circumstance. She would fit uniquely at KC or the Reign compared to other players.

          • newsouth

            she don’t need perfectly played balls to her like a-rod in KC, needs to create her opportunities when the numbers are stacked against her like today, find the space, slide defenders off of her cutting through traffic. those are the things i’ve said are missing in her game. we already know what she can do if marta is feeding her. seattle is too easy for any forward to jump on that wagon. playoffs or not, i just want to see her come up with the big shots for chicago this season.

          • Steglitz49

            Hear hear! You took the words right out of my mouth (but I typed them anyway for emphasis, to be sure).

          • Reality

            I get the impression that you feel she will gain greater credibility by being the heroine in an underdog scenario. She already did that at Goteborg and does not have to prove herself in that respect. What she needs at this point in her career is to be on a team where she can fully demonstrate her ability in concert with other talented players in a balanced situation. She is capable of being a team leader in these circumstances and proved that at Tyreso where she thrived.

          • newsouth

            how did morgan get in the spotlight for the national team? it was late heroics and 1v1 with the chips on the line. the cards were stack against press yesterday and she came up big. that puts her in the spot light on the NT, not just being another part of the puzzle in seattle or kc. what will u say if chi gets a playoff spot and press ends the season with 10 goals? laura harvey isn’t going to teach her anything new she didn’t learn at FCG (striker head coach) and Tyreso (marta and tony g). plug white on tyreso’s righter instead of marta against VW. then tyreso gets completely blown out, so she isn’t going to learn anything from harvey’s girl. the NT forwards, morgan, press and sydney, are old women by world football standards, so you aren’t going to see much more from their games other than taking over leadership of the squad and pushing the old goats to the side. ellis doesn’t care what press did for FCG. she’s carries this chicago squad in a bruiser league like the nwsl. that will catch ellis’ eyes esp since her ex-coach is on the squad. i’m guessing he was the one to at least get her on the wings since she was playing so bad going into the france games.

          • Reality

            Morgan was playing with a superior supporting cast when she broke into the limelight. That is how you can grow, develop and contribute all at the same time. Tell me for example that Press won’t expand her repertoire in working with the likes of Fishlock and Little and they with her. The best players feed off of one another. Press in Chicago is like being in an isolation booth. She might help a mediocre team to become better if Dames allows it. But it is really a handicapped situation which no other NT forward has to cope with.

            If CRS makes the playoffs and Press scores a goal per game…an optimum outcome…I would say great. It would be a tribute to her skill and perseverance. That does not change the fact that she will be limited in her ability to realize her potential and a waste of her talent.

          • Reality Check

            Reality? Please explain how Press is going to play for Seattle, which already has an NT forward in Leroux.

          • Reality

            Didn’t say it could or would happen…merely discussing what would be an optimum situation for Press to grow and contribute.

          • nwslfan

            Morgan would certainly grow her game playing w Seattle midfield too. Seattle has, by far, the best midfield in the league.

          • Reality

            Agreed.

          • Steglitz49

            If Alex wants to move, she could with benefit try Japan, like Bev and Becky did.

          • romel dias

            Best midfield in the WORLD IMHO!

          • Calci0

            “Tell me for example that Press won’t expand her repertoire in working with the likes of Fishlock and Little and they with her”

            Just an observation…. But why does it seem like the only thing that’s important is growing Press’s game by putting her around skilled players?!? She got to expand her “repertoire” playing with skilled players at Stanford, then even more with professional skilled players at magicJack, then again at Tyreso……. Now she needs to go to the Reign?!? She’s already had 3 stops that offer her more than enough opportunity to gain different insight to the game. Leroux didn’t have Little, Kawasumi, Fishlock, to play with in Boston last year, so to say Press is in a spot no other NT forward has to cope with isn’t completely true, as Leroux had similar situation last year. Leroux has alot to gain playing in Seattle, and I’m glad she’s getting the opportunity.

          • Reality

            I think it’s great for Leroux that she has been situated in Seattle. Anyone would profit from such a placement. Perhaps Press will also benefit from a transfer next year as did Leroux from Boston to Seattle.

          • Calci0

            Wouldn’t that be 4 teams in 4 years?!? I’d think at some point you’d want to play in the same place for consecutive seasons to build a little continuity.

          • Reality

            I don’t think that place would be Chicago. Perhaps you would like her to stay there?

          • Calci0

            I would think continuity at some point would benefit her. At some point, being able to stay in one spot and have a sense stability. I don’t have a feeling either way, where she ends up. But think about it. What person in sports wants to move from team to team, year after year?

          • Reality

            I’m all for continuity. I’m sure you would like Leroux to have that at Seattle. I would like Press to have it also at a more suitable venue than Chicago.

          • Calci0

            All I’m saying, is that you are further delaying that by wanting her to move again. So now it’d be 2016 before she could play consecutive seasons with the same team. What place is more suitable AND realistic for her to go to?

          • Reality

            I’m not sure what point you are trying to make here. My point is that Chicago is not a suitable place for Press either now or for future continuity. All the other NT forwards have superior placements. I would like to see Press have continuity in a similar situation.

          • Calci0

            The same point you have echo’d….. That continuity is important. I’m simply stating that you are putting Press another 3 years away from being able to play with the same team for a consecutive season. So in this case it’s hard to have both. Either she gets continuity in Chicago (and maybe they change the game-plan?!?). Or she loses out on continuity and moves again in 2015 (new team), and can’t play in the same system with familiar teammates until 2016….. So if even changing the system isn’t suitable for Press in Chicago, I’ll repeat my question: “What place is more suitable AND realistic for her to go to?”

          • Reality

            Continuity is not the primary factor here. It is how a player best fits with a team. Press is not a good fit with CRS and continuity with them would be a fruitless exercise.

            We do not know what will occur next year with coaching and roster changes. I would like to see Press on a team where the coach and their philosophy is congenial to Press’s skills and they have the good sense to properly utilize her.

          • Steglitz49

            Wrong. Chicago is exactly the place she needs to be now. She must show that she can hack it when the chips are down, pull her wight, and not run off to greener grass because she prefers easy-street.

          • Steglitz49

            Gbg took her in when she was unemployed. She left Gbg of her own volition. Now she is in Chicago. If she does not make the 20-3 elect next year, it does not matter where she plays — and noone is likely to sign her with that history. High time to buckle down in the windy city.

          • newsouth

            if it’s chicago, i’d like to see how she influences the group of young players around her. you are really missing this one. press badly needs her own team for the next step in her develop. she doesn’t have the option in chicago of hide from the ball like she against VW. in fact she turned into marta at the end of the game. if i was the red stars owner, i’d let her know we can’t sail on the voyage without you. she’ll be fine. i’m not sure they can make the playoffs but i see a couple kim little finishes in her for this team. that will translate to the NT.

          • Reality

            What Press badly needs is a team where she can fully display her talent and ability. That place is not Chicago.

            Since they have no other effective offense but her, opposing teams will begin to swarm on her defensively and neutralize her. This will make her look inadequate and not help her confidence but rather lead to frustration for her and the team.

            She functions best in a complementary way with other skilled players where the offensive attack can be varied. Press will play a prominent role in whatever team she is on and has demonstrated qualities of leadership that have only grown with each successive team she has been on. To expect her to rescue Chicago is a recipe for disappointment and sets her up for failed expectations.

            She will do well enough in this half season at CRS but it is not a vehicle for career success.

          • NYRick

            Reality, I think you are missing something in this in your interpretation of the situation with CRS. This isn’t about a place to display her talents and ability in the NWSL. That place where you truly want that to happen is on the NT! And that will only happen if “other” aspects of her game and attitude improve.

            The fact that she is kind of a rebel (and is not into the bow to Abby sect) to begin with helps in this area. I think she just needs a little more swagger. Walk around on the pitch like Morgan a bit more. Watch Alex even in play stoppages. She struts around like she knows she is the cat’s meow. The camera and the crowd’s attention is always on her, and she savors it. All the superstars in every sport have that element to their game. Even low-key ones like a Tim Duncan. They have swagger. They are good and they know it without being arrogant. They take the attitude, “Don’t believe it, well let me show you.” That’s what that second goal on Angerer was yesterday. Swagger. How many players in the world are capable of that type of play, in that spot, in front of that hostile crowd and deliver that kind of dagger? Not many.

          • Reality

            You might admire swagger. I admire substance combined with modesty. Press is not a swaggering type. She has her own appeal of self awareness and the ability to analyze and improve her play. She has had numerous goals like the one in this game, but she doesn’t feel the need to swagger. She expresses joy instead and shares it with her teammates. To me, that is a mature attitude.

            As far as the NT is concerned, they wanted Press in the NWSL so she could demonstrate her worthiness. Chicago will not help her cause unless Dames gives her the appropriate support to allow her to contribute. We shall see if he learned anything from the second half of this game. If he continues his usual game plan and doesn’t play Press at CF with offensive suppprt, don’t expect too much.

          • NYRick

            If the main point seems to be that a better cast and a better situation to one’s skill set per their given sport is superior for said individual, then the answer is…of course.

            1. Has LeBron been better with Wade and Bosh than the cast he had at Cleveland?
            2. Did Peyton have even the best of his 5 MVP years with the receiving cast, a running game and Denver’s defense last year?
            3. Did both Roger Clemens and Wade Boggs (pre Boston glory years of the past decade) have to go to basically All-star laden teams with the Yankees to get their rings?
            4. Would Wayne Rooney be as big a star in England had he stayed with his first team at Everton instead of moving to Man Utd. and playing with the likes of CR7 and the world class roster they assemble every year?
            5. Is every NBA star worth their salt not now plotting to collude with two other stars and all get on the same team to contend for a title?

            I look at it this way. Do the best you can in the situation given. I think if Press went to KC or Seattle and played a full season and scored 20 goals or so, won the golden boot in the NWSL etc., we would only hear about the great cast and system that supports it all for her.

            I think it’s a good thing to her overall development as a player to get away from her comfort zone and enhance other aspects of her game. We know she had adjustments of course to make with her move to Sweden the past couple of years, but this is now a different kettle of fish for her. The spotlight is on her. You say, she has scored plenty of goals like the second one yesterday against Angerer. You are probably right. But the spotlight was different. The competition was different. The stage was different.

            I think 8 goals and a playoff berth in half a season in Chicago is amazing. And I think Dames will not stand in the way of it. And if it doesn’t happen, this experience where she fully is the star, for good or bad, of her own professional team is a very good thing for her. And for the record, I’ve never called her a bum for any shortcomings. If anything, myself and new south have lauded her to ridiculous levels. You just take the 100% support role for her. We are more critical due to her talent and take the 80/20 route.

          • Reality

            Let’s see what Dames does with her and the team. If he continues to persist in a defensive modality and doesn’t utilize Press properly, she will not be a star but just another NT player on a second tier team.

          • NYRick

            I of course agree with you on this. Dames actually has an easy fix for this team. Play CP as the CF at all times in every minute she is on the pitch. Move JJ up to the midfield where she can combine best with DiB and Lori C for more possession and to find CP in open spaces. Play Tank a bit more with CP because quite frankly, I think her size, reputation and mere presence scares the crap out of an opponent’s back line. Mix that up with Hoy (who I like) for some speed, as well as Bywaters. And I think CRS may have something, because they have the grit and toughness intangibles in place already.

            This is really not brain surgery here, just Soccer 101 when you look at the roster given. If Dames doesn’t see this, incompetent doesn’t even begin to describe his coaching ability.

            Tell you what, if he did the above, I think CRS gets one of those 4 spots and CP emerges as a bigger star on the rise even for the NT. And I wouldn’t want to play them in the playoffs. Have a Happy rest of the 4th weekend.

          • Reality

            Your prescription for CRS matches mine to a T. It would certainly make best use of the players. Let us hope for the best. May your 4th weekend be relaxing and enjoyable.

          • newsouth

            That was the first time I’ve ever watched a complete Red Stars game. If you’re a true press fanboy, then you’ll embrace the team. GO RED STARS!

            Cool video. Too bad she wasn’t with the team yet. Sam Johnson (hope her plastics went well) and Bywater sure can move.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8kE6AxMa4o

          • Reality

            They have a great spirited attitude of never say die and I sincerely hope they can make the necessary adjustments to meet the challenge of the remaining schedule. As Press tweeted…”proud of the team’s resilience to fight to come back…from what I’ve seen & felt that’s what being a Red Star is all about”.

          • newsouth

            The Bears would be proud of the Ladies of the Midway.

          • Calci0

            Very well put NYRick!!!

          • JAMES 18

            Dames doesn’t even know how best to deploy CP.

          • Reality

            I want to see what Dames does with Press in the next 4 games against Portland and Seattle.

          • JAMES 18

            If he keeps playing her out of position after the Portland game then something is wrong.

          • Steglitz49

            If Christen does not make the 20+3 elect next year, it does not matter which team she plays for.

          • Steglitz49

            Hear hear!

          • NYRick

            I’m going to disagree with you a bit on Morgan breaking in with a superior supporting cast. Yes, it was the NT, but they were floundering, at least by their past standards. Her dynamic athletic ability and penchant for the big moment made her a star. She deserves much credit for that, and for really igniting and turning around a program in decline. Let’s face it, interest in the USWNT has soared with Alex’s emergence. The fact that she is so ridiculously sponsor friendly didn’t hurt either of course. Where Alex was fortunate was that the existing star icon (Abby) was badly in need of an infusion of something, and Alex’s forward game opened the pitch for her to regain her form. With Abby’s blessing (basically it was all to Abby’s advantage), she became better integrated into the team, and passed over the Girls club waiting till you’re 27 to be a star on the team. Mainly because she was so dominant, and that’s all to her credit.

            With Press, I think fans know about her and know what she is capable of. Now it’s time to create a separate niche for herself in the US. How about this scenario. She scores 8-10 goals for CRS the rest of the way. They squeak into the 4th playoff spot and then beat Seattle with CP in the starring role. That will get noticed big time by Ellis. That is the opportunity she has in front of her. It’s like Herb Brooks said to the US team before they took the ice against the USSR. “Great moments are born out of great opportunities. That’s what you have tonight, an opportunity.”

          • Reality

            You can’t compare Morgan’s NT supporting cast with the CRS roster…does not compute. That being said, all credit to Morgan for delivering the goods.

            I don’t think the average fan is that familiar with Press. She just debuted with the NT last year and has had relatively limited opportunities there during a chaotic coaching transition. And her time with CRS has just begun. Your maximum scenario for Press is entertaining and it would be wonderful if it occurred. But it is not the most likely outcome particularly if Dames remains true to character in his coaching style.

            I just do not think that Press is being utilized effectively by either Ellis or Dames. She will have to make the best of it but her opportunities for advancement are limited by the circumstances.

          • NYRick

            Not necessarily comparing CRS with the NT of course. But Morgan-Press is a classic example of the “First-in Rule of Marketing” for really anything.

            Only Avis in an old advertising campaign back in the 60s prospered with “We’re #2, we try harder.” They understood the problem…you can’t be the one who is first in the hearts and minds of people (at the time for Avis, it was Hertz rent a car). In simplistic terms, that’s Christen’s dilemma as US star. Both she and Alex are relatively the same age, same pedigree, both great looking and fan and media friendly. But Alex beat her to the punch, for whatever reason (maybe she is just a better talent) and for whatever circumstance. That is history. Now it’s an uphill climb on the NT because of that since Alex is a definite starter on the NT at all times from here on in for a variety of reasons that transcend the playing pitch too. That leaves just one forward spot open and that’s really tough for an NT that continually has this talent pool to choose from, regardless of how good you are.

            As for CRS and how she is or will be utilized by Dames. Why does that matter so much? I think if he has brain cells in operation he will see the advantage of building his attack around her and catering to her skill set. The positives to the situation (leadership, sole star, increased US visibility) far outweigh the negatives for her on CRS. Plus, she may like her teammates, the city etc. too. Would I prefer she had a Vero or Little with her in Chicago? Of course. But at some point you need to take off the training wheels. She is a star and it’s up to her to do the heavy lifting…in the US as a professional. The rewards are numerous if she succeeds.

          • Reality

            No matter how good an individual player may be, the context in which they operate will determine their relative success.

            Press has skill and talent but she cannot display it at will in a inadequate environment which in this case is the manner in which Dames’s has shaped this team. They are relatively inexperienced, rely excessively on a physical game, have little ability to play a possession or an effective passing game and mainly focus on defense with some over the top counter attacks.

            This is hardly an atmosphere where Press will thrive. Although I enjoy heroic fantasies with happy endings, Press will struggle at CRS. No doubt she will have breakthroughs like in this game, but teams will soon swarm on her defensively and render her less effective. Since Press is the offense for CRS at this point, the outlook for achieving the playoffs is not good particularly given the upcoming schedule that has them playing the next 4 games against Portland and Seattle (2+2).

            She already has gained more recognition by returning to the states and entering the NWSL and her profile will continue to grow. But while I would be ecstatic to see it happen, hoping that she will some how single handedly lift a mediocre team and thus achieve fame and fortune is not likely.

          • newsouth

            the training wheels point was excellent! S49 might debate the FCG was a really good team too but we know Stanford, MagicJack and Tyreso were loaded, so you could always say it was someone around her that made up the difference. If she doesn’t score and lead, Chicago will enjoy the bottom of the table with their brutal finishing schedule . I would love that Seattle match up in front of a pack house in a playoff game but the odds are still against Chi for that 4th spot.

          • Steglitz49

            KGFC or simply Gbg but not FCG, please.

            Christen learnt in Gbg and also showed her true worth for that club. It is my misfortune to believe that Christen would have done as well and could have done better by staying at KGFC than going to Tyresö but the point is moot because that was not what happened.

            Chicago has a better chance of being #4 than DC has. It is Christen’s job to make sure that they go to the ball.

          • Steglitz49

            Listen to NYRick, because he types the truth (or at least some of it).

            Granted, the makeup artists who applied the body-paint were a superior supporting cast. As for the rest, Alex made her own luck.

            Alex scored the late goal in 2010 which took the US to WC-11. Alex had a huge impact on the WC-11 final — and she did it against the ultimate world champions, not some fly by night outfit.

          • Reality

            I wasn’t diminishing Morgan’s achievement. I was merely pointing out that the NT even at its low point was a better supporting cast for Morgan than the current CRS is for Press.

          • Steglitz49

            Only by playing for an outfit like Chicago or DC, can Christen prove her worth. She abandoned Gbg, after they had taken her in when she was unemployed. This is her chance to stand and deliver — and so far Christen has made an excellent start.

            Alex does not need to prove anything, only stay healthy.

          • necron99

            Please.. better cast? When Morgan broke into the NT during the 2011 WC, she was taking the place of A-Rod, Holiday and O’Hara who were not getting it done during those games. The MF was not creating chances or passes for their forwards. She did what the other players were not doing. The team has changed over the last 2 years and Press coming in is enjoying a better enviroment to succeed in (Morgan can enjoy that too this year).
            As for NWSL teams last year as well as this year the Thorns had a crap defense as well as crap MF. Both Morgan and Sinc had to track back to get the ball to bring forward. They wouldn’t see the ball if they didn’t. Last year Morgan was ahead of Sinc in goals with 9 for 5th place, and missed part of the season. Her team won the championsip, yet everyone dogged her and criticised her as having a bad year. She had a coach that everyone called to be fired during the season, and did not return this year. You call that an amazing environment, an advantage? You think that only Press has to deal with problems?
            bleh… so tired of this argument.
            I want Morgan and Press to get paired up, get in sync in their play, and dominate in the WWC. To get there I want to see Press get her shooting boots on during the big games. She has done well with the NT but never in the big games against the harder teams. She has done well in Sweden both for scrappy underdog Goteborg with a weak supporting cast, and with Tyreso with the Dream Team. But she wasn’t there in the UWCL Final. We need her to step up big. We need her to step up in the WWC especially the knockout games. We know she has talent, skill and smarts. She shows it during league play. We need to see that same thing when it matters most. Hell Mia Hamm didn’t score many goals during WWCs, but at least she made assists, and drew attention (and a ton of fouls)

          • Reality

            The comparison I was making about supporting casts was between Morgan’s NT in 2011 and Press’s current CRS team since that was the original reference in newsouth’s comment about catching Ellis’s eye. As far as the NT’s of 2011 and 2013, 2011 was certainly more stable even if it wasn’t functioning well. Morgan, to her credit, came in and delivered what was missing. In 2013, the NT was so chaotic in transition that it was hard for anyone to be outstanding.

            The Thorns, despite their midfield and defensive difficulties did win the 2013 NWSL championship largely without Morgan’s assistance in the latter part of the season. The Thorns have had a superior roster since their inception that has never to this day performed to high expectation….but they were still good enough to win it all last year. This year, CRS will be lucky to make the playoffs but Portland should recover. So there are problems and there are Problems.

            I agree that Morgan and Press should be given a real opportunity to pair up and sync properly. IMO, this combination has the greatest potential for success on the attack for the NT, but has strangely never been given a fair chance. It remains to be seen what Ellis will do in this regard.

          • fanfrom1995

            You are incorrect about Morgan taking the place of O’Hara. KO was added very late to the WC squad, due to the fact that another player ( L. Tarpley) was injured a couple of months before WC. KO was brought in by Pia, who told her that she would basically be a practice player in the midfield and on the back line. A year later, as we all know, KO owned the left back position at the Olympics, playing every minute of every game.

          • Steglitz49

            The abbreviation is not FCG. You may use either KGFC (which is what they prefer) or simply Gbg but not FCG. Get it?

          • newsouth

            here’s a quick question: have you seen one player question ellls? ellis is no tactician, an iron fist to take control of the locker room which sermanni lost. swanson and tony are making the player moves and formation suggestions with ellis input and approval of who she thinks should be playing which leads to the ucla connection and possibly keeping wambach relevant.

          • Reality

            Ellis has not yet annoyed “anyone” sufficiently for there to be any comment. She has made some relatively innocuous moves which have resulted in acceptable performance for the time being. She is not going the Sermanni route. Where have you derived your info about Swanson and Gustavsson making the player moves and formation suggestions?

          • NYRick

            Goteborg is not the US. Big difference.

            As for a team where she can fully demonstrate her ability in concert with other talented players. That was obviously Tyreso.

            I think yesterday was very important for her several reasons: 1) high visibility game for WoSo US audience 2) huge Portland crowd on 4th of July 3) Morgan in the house on the other side of the pitch 4) CRS has a weak offensive minded coach who doesn’t know how to properly utilize her, maybe after yesterday he’ll better come to his senses.

            I think what newsouth is saying and I agree with him is that it is not so much about style points or perfect situations for her in the NWSL. For that matter, I’m starting to think that Portland may not be a perfect situation for Morgan with Riley there as well, and Syd may lose confidence in her game in Seattle being the 3rd or 4th wheel on that team. For Christen, this is solely her team. No other “star” NTer on the roster. It’s a great opportunity to assume leadership duties as well (something that will also give an advantage to her over Syd and Alex who still cater to Abby, and even on their club teams aren’t leaders). Her overall game and persona can evolve big time in Chicago, and the fan base will recognize it. I’ve said for a long time that she is going to be a big star and I still believe it. I think and I’m hoping her true vehicle will be the WC next summer.

            So take a step back and forget about KC and Seattle. Actually on either team she may be overshadowed a bit regardless of what she does, much the same way Marta and Vero overshadowed her at Tyreso. It was always she was scoring all those goals because of them blah blah blah. Now, she doesn’t have to hear that anymore. It’s her team. And it’s her time. For club and country.

          • Reality

            Goteborg was a huge transition for Press from U.S. style soccer which she handled wonderfully not only making difficult adjustments in type of play but leading the club to the Swedish Cup and coming in second in goals in the league in her rookie year there.

            As far as Tyreso is concerned, think about it for a moment. There she was playing with Marta on one of the best teams in the world and more than holding her own in terms of leadership by leading the team and the league in goals and making all the critical scores in the CL leading up to the title game. These accomplishments were a more difficult challenge than her current entry into the NWSL.

            Coming into the NWSL via Chicago does put her in a unique position insofar as she is the main NT player on a young, raw and mainly physical team. While you and newsouth may consider this an opportunity to distinguish herself, it is shining her light under a bushel. Her ability to excel will be diminished and impaired by Dames’s coaching philosophy and the relative inexperience and skill of her teammates. It may earn her some kudos for achievement under challenging circumstances but it will not further her development or confidence. CRS will benefit and Press may finally gain some recognition stateside but it will not further her career appreciably nor her development as a player.

          • newsouth

            those two scoring opportunities were self creation. the fundamentals came from FCG and Tyreso. What team in the NWSL is going to grow her game? I doubt she’d be as big as you think in seattle since Harvey funnels the game through her mid-fielders. Ok, she’d get to play lone strikers for KC. She did that for FCG. Where does she exactly exile? It’s still Holiday’s team when she shows up? Hoy isn’t getting Chicago in the playoffs and neither is Tancredi. At 25 please tell me what a team can teach Press now in the NWSL other than LEADERSHIP? As I’ve said before all the forwards for the USA are hotwired for a style of play. You won’t see much more from them in terms of new things. They are coming up on 30 fast once you get to the OG16 that’s why i can live with her in Chicago. This team she has to carry. You cant even come up with another player on the squad who could possibly. You get tough girl play from Lori C but that doesn’t get Chicago out the bottom half of the draw. the coach got a taste of what she can possible do. Let see what he does with her from this point on. As one of the users said, he should be whipped for putting her in the mid-field, or maybe he was just following the NT. obviously he has watched any of her swedish footage. geez, i don’t think ellis has bothered.

          • NYRick

            This is a fantastic post and spot on. Agree 100% with everything you say here.

            Also, aside from leadership, what one aspect of Press’s game is missing? I’d say toughness. And I don’t mean that in terms of hard work, or even being a cream puff like you have said. She obviously didn’t get to where she is by not having mental toughness. I mean the physical grit. The kind that betrayed her in the VW CL final. The kind that was instead on display yesterday with the two late goals and basically steamrolling Marshall earlier for a ball. What NWSL team will provide that aspect to her game to her? Chicago. No doubt. That’s another reason why this is a great spot for her. Also, I think Tancredi needs to be on the pitch with her for some protection too. That was evident yesterday, or else teams are going to swarm and multi-team her at all times. But a bloody lip never hurt anyone in the course of sports battle and grinding in the trenches. Even in women’s sports, this is elite level, no? Check out this quote from Press yesterday…

            “I’m proud of the team’s resilience to fight to come back in this game,” Press said. “From what I’ve seen and felt, that’s what being a Red Star is all about.”

            This is what it’s about for her. This is what will make her a big star. A little injection of this attitude along with her Zen stuff as well. We all know how skilled she is. That was on display yesterday. It’s the intangibles with her that need to improve. Yesterday was huge for her. It was a big step forward.

          • Reality

            Her game can still be grown as she has not yet reached her full potential. As I said previously, I agree that leadership is an important quality which she has been developing right along on every team she has been on. She can be a leader on any team. I would prefer that she be a leader on a team that recognizes and properly employs her skills. She can then continue to refine her game and serve as an inspiration to her teammates. Being in Chicago is a setup for failed expectations since opposing teams merely have to double team her to render CRS scoreless. That is hardly a recipe for success and would not help her confidence. One player cannot carry a team and to expect that of Press is not only unfair, it is not possible.

          • NYRick

            In all fairness, teams double team and put a lot of attention on Alex too. Stars step to the plate. Chris Paul would be great on any team in any situation. So would Mike Trout. Stars don’t have to carry a team at every turn. Marta didn’t do that at Tyreso for good spells, she had Press to help. But the thing about stars is that they never stop being a star. They are a presence. That’s what I feel Christen is becoming, and it will be a very good thing for her even if she doesn’t score in games, or have highlight reel plays to exhibit her talents. She is not a new thing. She is a star ready to mature, and if she wants it bad enough, she will make that happen wherever she is.

          • Reality

            Morgan has always had other teammates to take the focus off her. Press will not have that advantage at Chicago. She will get her share but no one can carry a team single handedly. You are being unfair to her and to yourself in setting up these expectations.

            I have the impression that you and newsouth make her into a star when she does well and a bum when she doesn’t meet your expectations. I want very much for her to succeed but I’m trying to put the her situation in perspective regardless of the highs and lows. I would love to see your scenarios come true but I think that it is a rocky road for her. To her credit, she just keeps doing her best and the cards will fall where they may.

          • Steglitz49

            Alex made her own luck in Frankfurt 3 years ago. Then she compounded it in Manchester a year later. In-between we had a spell in body-paint.

          • Steglitz49

            Your points are well taken but to be fair to Göteborg, strictly speaking, Christen helped Gbg retain the Swedish cup. Gbg already held it. On both occasions Gbg defeated Tyresö.

          • Reality

            tack.

          • Steglitz49

            Do you mean tack as in tusen tack, or mange tack, or tack så mycket, or just dankewell?

          • Reality

            I’d say tack så mycket.

          • Steglitz49

            Indeed.

          • Steglitz49

            Göteborg is the football capital of Sweden. The statue of Gunnar Gren stands in front of the stadium, which is the home arena for the Swedish ladies team.

          • JAMES 18

            i won’t blame CP if she doesn’t come through in the clutch if the clueless coach keeps deploying her on the wings ..

          • Steglitz49

            But it would not get her the brownie points, the way Christen gets them in Chicago.

          • Guest

            Is this a slight at syd again?

          • Reality

            Already went through that argument…just making a general point here.

          • newsouth

            sorry, i disagree with you on the leadership since i’m the first to come up with it. it’s the departure from them having to look up to wambach and wait for a pet rub on the head which morgan and sydney seem to do. the evidence has been seen in practices and noticed on posts. chicago is a roughneck bunch of rookies with two bruisers, lori c and tank but they have no striking identity. i can’t say press was the leader of stanford, tyreso or magicjack but it’s clear she is the star of chicago. if she woman’s up like she did today, she can carry the team. no NT players like magicjack, no marta like tyreso, no all star inline up at stanford, it’s the press show in chicago. she needs these team more than you’d ever know. that was big time of her late in the game. i couldn’t remember the player but i fell in love with her when she bulldozed marshall. that’s what i wanted from her against VW in the 2nd half but she shied away from the battle when marta was right in the thick of it. at the end of the day chicago i think is a better deal for press’ leadership grow. the shot comes when she wants it. morgan needs to take over portland and put sinclair on the bench. they all fear leadership to stand up and say we will bring home the gold, so wambach, lloyd, rampone, etc go have a seat on the bench. it’s our time, it’s our team.

          • Reality

            This is essentially the argument of being a big fish in a small pond. If Dames does give her the opportunity to shine by changing his strategy, then sure Press can be a team leader. And you are correct in implying that this would be an important development in her growth as a player.

            However, If Dames persists in his defensive style, Press’s leadership potential will be limited.

            Even if Dames did implement necessary changes to better utilize Press (an unlikely scenario) and she became the team star and leader, she would be underutilized as far as exercising her full potential on a team like CRS.

          • romel dias

            I would have Leroux centre and Morgan left..Morgans best plays have come from dragging a defense out wide…cutting in and striking… IMHO I believe Morgan is actually the woman’s version of Henry..speed, finesse, ability to get past defenders and get a great strike off!! Leroux is actually more direct and creates havoc in the box. That was proves even in the last match where LH pushed her to the centre at the start of the second half! She ran the defense ragged and that meant Pinoe, Little, Bev and Kawasumi had massive spaces on the flanks which eventually lead to the goals! She will be used in the centre a lot more once Pinoe starts!

          • Steglitz49

            Alex can head the ball as well as use both feet, though she favors her left at least 4:1. She is obvious to play on the left side; left-footed players are rare.

            Provided Alex is fit, whom you put up front with her is a matter of taste and in reality depends on the opposition. Against a weak team JE could play 3 strikers, or prefer to rest one of her musketeers, but against a strong team, it may be wiser to play with 2 up front. You pays your money and makes your choice.

            In short, the US can afford to rotate players, a luxury which few if any other NT does not have. The cup is theirs to lose in Canada.

          • Guest

            If you have a group of great forwards and want to get the best out of all of them collectively then yes. Syd is the best super sub. Why put someone who isn’t good at that at all there like Press? They are trying to win as a team are they not? Carli was asked to play DM in the Olympics and was big enough to deal with it because she was the best option on the roster. And capable. Syd is the best super sub but you don’t think team comes over pride? You’d rather put someone there who doesn’t have those skills so your pecking order feels right? Maybe Jill doesn’t have her “do you want to win” speech written like Pia had but she better start one.

          • Steglitz49

            Que?!

          • Calci0

            I don’t think the USA “needs” a “Super Sub”. Why would they if as some feel Morgan and Press would have them winning 2-0, 3-1, 4-1 games…… You only need a super sub if your team isn’t scoring. And if that’s the case why have the players in that position in the 1st place. You are right, they are trying to win as a TEAM, so why would you put the person that helped carry the team while Morgan was out on the bench?!? Bring Ohai then if you want a “Super Sub” that can come in in the last few minutes….. It has nothing to do with pride. Who are the only two players that have scored against Canada the past year?!? I mention Canada, because they have been the most consistent high quality opponent we have played.

          • Steglitz49

            The point being debated is, that with such strength in depth the US is spoilt for choice. It does not matter who you play as long as you win, but woe betide the coach who loses because her choice of players will be not only dissected but condemned.

            Still. Most coaches would rather have too much choice than too little.

          • kernel_thai

            U can argue who is better and who deserves what til the pigs fly back to Capistrano. The real question at this point is can any combination of the above mentioned players make a three front work when they all clearly play best in the center of the pitch?

          • newsouth

            can sydney disturb better than press if she was behind morgan? it’s about as simple as that if you are central. at points in the game that person will have to captain the attack so it turns into decision making 101.

          • Calci0

            I get what you’re saying. And that’s not my line of commenting ” X player is better than Y”. More so, stop slighting players, that have clearly earned their minutes….. And you are correct, the 4-3-3 needs a little more work. I think they should rotate the slots throughout the game.

            Leroux, Morgan, Press
            then
            Morgan, Press, Leroux
            then
            Press, Leroux, Morgan

            Don’t let the defense get comfortable.

          • Steglitz49

            Alex can play on the left. Syd seems to be learning how to play all over the place. Jill Ellis no doubt is aware that she now has 3 forwards that she can rotate. They are all 5’7″ which must be counted them for merit, though Alex’s header is the most famous of them all.

            The question to debate is, who shall be the 4th musketeer?

    • Guest

      I’m sorry rick but Syd is not a supporting role, she is absolutely a starter and saying that doesn’t take anything away from CP so stop.

    • VaFan51

      As usual with NYRick, I agree with most of this, with a few additions:
      1. There were a lot of very good young players in this match. I mean, really. It’s easy to get cynical about coaching, officiating, whatever, but it’s wonderful to see so much talent out there.
      2. One of Portland’s problems is that Vero and Tobin did not have enough touches on the ball. Sometimes it seemed like Portland was passing around them.
      3. Anyone know how wide the Providence Park pitch is? I always think it looks uncommonly narrow, but could it be that the artificial surface makes it play small? It always seems to be hard to spread the field here.
      4. Quality-wise, Hoy is not terribly far behind the usual WNT suspects at forward. I like her speed and smarts.
      5. The secret to dealing with Catley is defending her left foot — that’s where she wants to go. KC did a great job doing that last week.
      6.
      The only remaining question I have about Press is whether she is more
      comfortable outside or inside. She has a sophisticated game as a striker and is a complete player.

      And slightly off-topic….Press is a much more accomplished attacking forward than Leroux, but the latter is a demon defender. I dearly love Syd’s attitude and athleticism, but it best suits the WNT scheme to bring Syd off the bench, so her second-half energy can pester the other team to dysfunction.
      I think Syd needs to work extensively with someone who can coach forward play; if she can put attacking sophistication together with her physical ability, she will be a consistent monster.

      • Calci0

        “Much more accomplished”?!? Don’t see how you got to that conclusion?!? They have both been exceedingly successful! To use the words “much” or “more” leaves more curious as to how you came to this belief. As for the bench idea, why not reverse your idea. Let Leroux, and Morgan run at defenders all day, have the defense gasping for air, and Press can come in late and put the game out of reach….

      • newsouth

        that’s what i’ve said about chicago. they are so young it’s almost brutal to watch at times, so i’m not sure it’s always on dames. with the way they play, samantha johnson’s injury was bound to happen to someone. but it’s the first situation i think press can be the captain of a squad ,which wasn’t possible with magic jack or tyreso. that’s the trait i haven’t seen in her game ever. you can say the same about morgan since sinclar has one foot in a grave. too bad they can’t transfer it to the national team.

      • Steglitz49

        The dimensions of the pitch of Providence Park is given as 110 x 75 yds, that is the standard width for soccer.

        As for who starts and who subs, as long as the team wins no-one cares but if they lose the coach will not hear the end of it. The USWNT are in the same position as the men’s teams of Brazil or Germany in that they have an embarrassment of riches. The coach can only fail in Canada next year. The cup is there for the US to lose.

      • romel dias

        True..in the Reign matches so far I have never seen Leroux make runs that put her in a position to score..she just does not anticipate well!

    • newsouth

      chicago is the situation she needs as i’ve said. it’s where she can be the captain and go to woman. the rest is on her. actually her best play of the game wasn’t exactly the two goals, was when she ran over a defender at the top of the box before the goals and the announcers noted it. she had a bit of morgan and sydney in her on that play. maybe she noticed we have been calling her cream puff girl, the one on the NT who doesn’t like to get her nail dirty, anyway, that’s 3 games (including the two france friendlies) in a row she’s looked her old self. no change will happe on the NT because ellis is set for abby or holiday to play cf. press is worthless on the wings, was giving up the ball more than heath (people need to quit with soccer IQ comments when it comes to her aka Bag of Tricks FC). ok press, show us you are the captain of chicago. it’s a young enough team and you have the experience after the last 2.5 years. it’s a matter of stepping up when the odds are against you. again, i won’t talk much on dames because i don’t know him but he does smell of clueless.

      • Elaine

        They way Chicago battled back to equalize and the fact that it was Press who put those 2 goals away will leave a positive note on her confidence to get things done, something she may have found lacking considering what happened at the Algarve and the Champions League final.

        • JAMES 18

          Interesting how the goals came as soon as Hoy was subbed out, allowing CP play a little more central .The coach needs to be whipped for playing CP on the wings.

          • Elaine

            Whatever one thinks of Dames, he made the right changes at the half. Can’t say the same for Riley at this point? All the changes he had made up to now has not really panned out.

          • JAMES 18

            Portland is really a strange team. Loaded with talent yet the’re not getting the results,i think chemistry and the way Riley is deploying the players are a major part of the problem.The team is even nervous playing in front of its home crowd.

          • guest

            I think it’s the coaching. I don’t think there’s locker room tension. This group does a lot of things together off the field.

          • JAMES 18

            By chemistry I meant the players still not knowing their individual tendensies on the field and being able to play to their individual strengths not tension in the locker room.This is just me, but I feel like the Thorns are still struggling to gel on the field.They played a little better today but if I were Paulson I would have fired Riley already.

          • Steglitz49

            Portland won last year. Since then, they have added Angerer in goal and Veró (just arrived) and Alex is now back after her long injury. (Maybe Tobin came back a bit earlier last year.)

            As long as Portland makes the play-offs, they could win again.

          • JAMES 18

            Its possible.

          • Steglitz49

            But, you do not think, that it is probable?

          • JAMES 18

            Beats the heck out of me. It wouldn’t surprise me if they pulled it off because they have the talent, but the coach’s tactics ,strategies and player deployment are a bit head-scratching to me.

          • newsouth

            LOL

          • JAMES 18

            LOL,maybe Dames thinks CRS is the USWNT ,loaded with world class forwards so he can afford to move CP to the wings in order to accommodate a player who hasn’t scored since May 28th.

      • NYRick

        You make a real good point regarding Press in Chicago. This is a young team and she can easily make it hers. She’s still a relatively young player but has a lot of experience now with the NT and internationally, and her star and profile are quickly rising. This might not be the most ideal team or coach for her, but the positive to that is that she has no one (i.e. Syd, Alex, Abby, Sinc, Marta etc.) to overshadow her on this team. As both of us have said, she is a star and has been everywhere she’s played and this should be no different. The whole package of talent, looks and brains are there to excel on and off the pitch. How big a star she wants to be is all on her at this point.

        • French Toast

          Press is defo aware of cashing in on her American fame, witness her appearance as a Wheaties athlete this week.

    • nwsl

      Hoy has been one of the top forwards in the league this year and Dames was obviously trying to figure out a way to get her and CP on the field at the same time. Between Hoy and CP who is more versatile and can play more positions? Obviously CP which is way Dames played her out of position in that first half. Cut Dames some slack, they were the only team in league without a national team player in the first year and now have .5 of a national team player bec CP has missed the majority of the season. No other team in the league has been missing wnt players like Chicago.

  • Lorehead

    Great first 75′ for Portland, great final 15′ for Christen Press and her teammates. There were a lot of positives to take away, but the Thorns have to start turning their stretches of good play into wins.

  • Jigsawwill

    CP scores when she wants.

    • Guest

      So all this time with the national team she didn’t want to score?

  • lasko

    Any guesses on who will replace Paul Riley next season?

    • Jigsawwill

      They will have the pick of the litter but I wonder if Vero will leave if he is fired.

      • Elaine

        Vero has said she’s here in the US because of Riley. Hopefully she will want to stay and return to the US because of Portland.

        • Lorehead

          Whether Riley somehow saves his job or not, I hope she will. No idea how long her contract runs.

    • Lorehead

      She’s so popular in the league right now, I’m sure all the naysayers will finally love the Thorns when we sign away Laura Harvey!

      • romel dias

        Harvey has found a great partner in Predmore..from a completely new franchise that saw its season tank from the word go last year..to this where the team is talked about as THE team with the greatest run in pro football in the US..from a handfull in the stands last year to consecutive games that break the franchise attendance record ..LH has the team she wants and the audience she needs ( from the pitiful 2-3k that witnessed a record smashing Arsenal team this is huge)
        She doesn’t need Portland anymore! And Predmore beloved that which is why the first GM for the Reign was let go :)

        • guest

          no way in hell LH leaves seattle. She’s is establishing the reign as one of the leading women’s football clubs in the world. She ain’t walking away from that.

      • Guest

        She signed with Reign long term. Eventually she might want to to take on a poorly owned and run outfit like Portland…only it will be called Team England or Team USA.

    • look at me now

      CPC!

      • Lasko

        Might as well bring her back.

  • luke

    …and then Christen Press happened.

  • nwslfan

    Hemmings was a monster- stellar game. Press finally got a few decent balls and made them count + style points. Chi would be so much more dangerous if the service came on the ground through the midfield. shift Julie Johnson into the midfield and Chicago possession and distribution will smoothly click through the midfield. Keep double teaming Vero and yeah, Chi will beat Portland.

    Portland- give Sinc a rest. Saw no elevated play from Heath- just misplaced overconfidence in her ability beat players on the dribble. Good game from McDonald. Alex turns off her focus after missed opportunities at club level, which is frustrating.

    • luke

      Regarding Hemmings – I liked the effort, didn’t like the quality.
      She’s lacking speed for those wing raids, her touch is far from perfect as well.
      But she was running all the time and trying, have to give her that.

      • nwslfan

        she shut down quite a few attacks. maybe she didn’t do much to start up a counterattack, or create on overlaps, but her 1v1 defending was critically important.

      • Lance Scallop

        Don’t forget she has just been back for a handful of games and this was only her second start I believe. She was also able to get physical with Alex which made a big difference breaking down Portland.

        She looked fast to me. I am sure her offensive contributions will get back to the level from last year as the team comes together.

    • W

      I stopped reading after good game from McDonald. That was funny. Thanks for the laugh.

      • nwslfan

        McDonald had good runs, made plays, got back on defense and scored a goal. don’t get the haters on McDonald who seem to give a total pass to the Canadian superstar in 2014. McDonald’s touch is not sublime, but in terms of production as a forward, she leads the team and is on leader board for the league in goals.

      • nwslfan

        wait- are you one of those fans who actually BELIEVES the nonsense spewed by Ann Schatz ??

  • TN

    I really think Leon needs to play in midfield more, I think she can contribute much more because she’s not quite as dangerous when playing as an attacker. Press is playing deeper than I think she is suited for in the beginning, but this new team is still trying to gel. She’s doing a lot of defending.

    Don’t understand why Huffman didn’t get a yellow card for that bear hug and take down on Van Egmond. I was so happy that Press got goals for CRS. Wow, just amazing goals from her! I don’t get it, it’s like the POR defense was underestimating her, giving her so much time and space.

    • Gameday

      No, it’s just a pattern that Thorns defense loses discipline and allows big holes to open up for strikers in the last 10 mins.

  • luke

    Fun fact: in 43rd minute Angerer held a ball for ~16 seconds. :)

    • newsouth

      LOL. you know i kept track of that stat sometimes also. Good one.

  • Jigsawwill
    • Reality

      Excellent work! Thank you for your efforts.

    • guest

      Nice burning of VanBue starting at the 3min mark.

  • I don’t think

    I don’t think Hoy paired with Press works. Hoy doesn’t combine well as she is used to being the target. Tanc is better support for Press but she can’t go a whole match. They need another forward of size who can hold the ball and is willing to combine more with others.

    • J

      Your right I think Tanc needs to get her ass in shape if that’s the case because when they were on the field together they were doing great combining and creating opportunities.. Same goes for #1 draft pick Bywaters. Boxxy should be back soon too.. This team is going to be pretty bad ass if the cards fall right.