FC Kansas City avenges 2013 loss, advances to NWSL final over Thorns

Jeff Husted August 23, 2014 392
Lauren Holiday scored Saturday in FC Kansas City's 2-0 win over Portland Thorns FC. FCKC advances to the NWSL final.  (Photo Courtesy FC Kansas City)

Lauren Holiday scored Saturday in FC Kansas City’s 2-0 win over Portland Thorns FC. FCKC advances to the NWSL final. (Photo Courtesy FC Kansas City)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Last year’s NWSL Playoffs kicked off with an exciting match that saw two aggressive offenses combine for five goals in 120 minutes of exciting action. In a stark contrast this year, FC Kansas City and the Portland Thorns both took a conservative approach in temperatures soaring over 100 degrees.

In the end, the Blues got revenge for last year’s loss with a 2-0 victory in front of nearly 3,000 fans at Verizon Wireless Field at Durwood Stadium. Team leading scorer Amy Rodriguez and 2013 MVP Lauren Holiday scored for the Blues as they earn their first berth in the NWSL Championship game.

Kansas City had spent much of the past two months seemingly in preparation for this game. In last year’s playoff, the Blues jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but wilted down the stretch as the Thorn’s offensive firepower scored three unanswered goals, with Allie Long scoring the game winner in overtime.

Blues’ head coach Vlatko Andonovski made no secret that Portland’s offense kept him up for nights this year.

“I didn’t want to say it in public, because I didn’t want it to be motivation for Portland. I’ve got to be honest. Look at their roster, it’s a scary roster. You know I don’t want to play against Morgan and Sinclair, Vero and Nadine Angerer in goal…I came to practice Monday, the whole team is like…YES we got Portland.”

[MORE: Four reasons things were different this year for KC  |  Complete playoffs]

Taking his team’s confidence to heart, he put together a game plan that would shut down the Thorns scoring chances and give his star players room to create chances.

From the beginning, midfielders Jen Buczkowski and Jenna Richmond were tasked with slowing down Portland’s Veronica Boquete. The two defensive midfielders traded off marking the Spanish international, holding her to only two shots. Buczkowski in particular, was critical to slowing down any attempts Portland had in their offensive third.

“I actually made this a game between her and Vero, not between Portland and Kansas City,” said Andonovski. “With this game Buzz (Buczkowski) actually showed that she is an inch away of the national team. With the needs they have right now, I wouldn’t be surprised if she gets a call sometime soon.”

“They contained Vero well,” Thorns head coach Paul Riley said when asked about Kansas City’s strategy. “Buczkowski did a very good job on Vero, getting into her and roughing her up a little bit. I think their game plan worked very well.”

Altogether the FC Kansas City defense held Portland to only five shots, with Boquete’s being the only one on goal. While rookie Kassey Kallman and veteran Leigh Ann Robinson contained the Thorns attack to the outside, Becky Sauerbrunn and Nikki Phillips stepped to the task whenever Portland managed to bring the ball inside.

At halftime, Portland controlled a slight majority of possession, but Kansas City’s attempts for quick counter attacks kept the game even at 0-0.

As the second half began, FC Kansas City increased their offensive pressure. The midfield dynamics between Erika Tymrak, Holiday and Rodriguez were on full display as they seemed to tire out the Thorns defense.

“In the first half, I thought Vero caused some trouble behind Kallman,” said Thorns head coach, Paul Riley. “But second half, we just couldn’t get the ball really. Midfield dropped the tempo of the game and we didn’t really put any pressure on them.”

In the 65th minute, Tymrak carried the ball up the field, sending a pass directly to the foot of a running Holiday. While that was happening in the middle of the field, Rodriguez took her defender clear to the right sideline, then utilized her great speed to cut back across the Thorns’ back line where Holiday fed her in stride. Two touches later, Rodriguez was past a sprawling Nadine Angerer and easily knocked the ball into the open net.

“I love playing in front of (Holiday) because she makes me look so good,” quipped Rodriguez. “It’s a forward’s dream to have an excellent midfield and I think with Buzz, Cheney (Holiday) and Jenna there, they’re so dangerous…they play excellent. They do all the hard work and I just try to run off of them. Luckily today it panned out.”

Shortly after the score, Portland subbed out Tobin Heath for Jessica McDonald. The tall, speedy forward has been trouble for Kansas City to defend in the past. In an April match, McDonald scored in the 84th and 88th minutes to secure a 3-1 victory for the Thorns over Kansas City.

She immediately caused problems for the Blues defense as she dribbled across the top of the penalty box, fighting through three defenders before finally being fouled by Buczkowski outside the box. The resulting free kick from Boquete was the only shot of the second half though, as Sauerbrunn and company bottled up anything that crossed into KC’s defensive zone.

With temperatures on the field showing at 140 degrees plus, Sarah Hagen entered the game in the 84th minute, replacing Rodriguez. Kansas City’s coaching staff felt that Hagen’s size and ability to hold the ball would be crucial to the team’s success in the final minutes.

Three minutes later, as Hagen held up Portland’s back line, Holiday ran into the play, receiving an easy pass that put her right in front of an onrushing Angerer. Holiday wasted no time in burying her shot into the far post netting, giving Kansas City a 2-0 lead.

The NWSL’s recent ‘cooling breaks’ were much needed for both teams in today’s heat. The stoppage midway through the second half allowed each team some vital rest from the heat, but it added an additional five minutes to the end of the second half.

Merritt Mathias gave way to Amy LePeilbet late in the match as Kansas City looked to their defensive strengths to hold off the expected Portland attack. Rather than immediate clearances though, the team continued to work their possession style out of the defensive third whenever they were challenged. Several times they were able to work the ball up to Hagen at the center line where she would turn and dribble to space or hold the ball and eat up clock.

When the final whistle blew, FC Kansas City was able to shake off the ghosts of a 7-1 loss earlier this year and the crushing 3-2 overtime loss in last year’s playoff. They now wait for the winner of tomorrow’s other NWSL Semi-final between the Seattle Reign and Washington Spirit. Should Washington win, the NWSL final would be held in Kansas City, where the Blues are 9-0-4 this season. A Seattle win would send the FCKC to the Pacific Northwest to face the Reign at Starfire Soccer Stadium, a place the Blues have never lost.

  • Steglitz49

    Congratulations!

    • oldsouth

      PT—-FC—–
      PT—-FC—–
      PT—-FC—–

      • mockmook

        That’s just mean :)

        • Steglitz49

          It is fair, though.

          • Miguel Najdorf

            Steg, your comments are as wildly inconsistent as the Thorns 2014 season.

          • Lorehead

            That’s not fair. Steglitz often comments twice in a row.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you for your support. I try to stimulate debate but the pc-brigade take umbrage while those who support certain players see red (as “in my stars I am above you”).

          • Steglitz49

            I would prefer “wobbly”.

          • Lorehead

            Dodgy rep’er?

          • Steglitz49

            Artful Dodger?

        • guest

          Portland Thorns coach Paul Riley criticizes stadium and field conditions in Kansas City
          http://www.oregonlive.com/portland-thorns/2014/08/portland_thorns_coach_paul_ril_29.html

          • guest

            Riley said he would like the NWSL to set stadium and attendance requirements before next season that would require teams to meet certain standards in order to host a playoff game.

            He said that, in order to continue to grow the league, teams should be bringing in at least 8,000 to 10,000 fans to host a playoff game.

            Seems Portland will finally host a playoff game next year.

          • JL

            In other words, he wants to stack the deck even further in favor of Portland. Well, he should have gotten the job done during the regular season.

          • Miguel Najdorf

            That quote will haunt him. 8000 is a level no other team besides the Thorns can match in the early years of NWSL. That quote screams “the Thorns should not have to win their way to home field advantage!”

            Entitlement much?!?

          • Lorehead

            If Merritt Paulson really wants a championship in a packed MLS stadium, for the good of the sport, here are two things he can do. One: pay the rent for Sporting Park and let FCKC paper the house. Two: host a challenge cup at the end of the season and invite the winners of the NWSL, the UEFA CL, the Copa Libertadores to play the hosts, plus a team from Asia if the Thorns win that year.

          • Steglitz49

            Wolfsburg beat PSG 2-0 in a preseason warmup just now. (Maybe Rdalford can find the attendance for us?)

            It is a great idea for Paulson to offer to take over from MobCast in sponsoring an intercontinental tournament. If the Emir gets in on the act, he could outbid Paulson and hold it in Paris, while if VW put their shoulder to the wheel, the tournament could be in Wolfsburg — with the winners getting a VW on free lease for 3 years.

          • newsouth

            VW destroys the Reign but it would be fun.

          • Steglitz49

            I would not be so sure and count on it. I expect it to be a pretty even match.

          • Elaine

            Another reason this Paul Riley needs to go as the Thorns head coach.

          • Steglitz49

            Delusions of grandeur?

          • Lorehead

            My honest guess is, ignorance of the attendance numbers. He might be remembering the 8,000 people who turned up for the first game of the season in Houston and not realize that the season average was about half that.

          • Steglitz49

            There is an argument for playing the final in Houston, not least when Seattle could not use their preferred stadium. I suspect Laura would have accepted such an offer having cut her teeth in England.

          • Lorehead

            Maybe. When I did my If I ran the NWSL proposal, it included a “Sporting Park Rule” that would let the league pay (out of shared revenues) to rent a better venue for playoff games.

            As is, I’ve written before about how the teams in the league are the Haves, the Have-Nots and the Hopeless. This would just give the Haves even more of an advantage.

          • Steglitz49

            Portland voluntarily share revenue. I do not know if anyone else does.

          • Lorehead

            Fine, I’ll pretend for the moment that this is an idea he thought through for even twenty seconds and not just resentment about his own failure.

            The FA Cup holds every final at Wembley. The Super Bowl rotates between every stadium. The UEFA CL final takes bids in advance. All of those systems work well, but unfortunately, none of them are feasible for the NWSL right now because Portland is the only city that could possibly meet his standards. Where would the Seattle–Washington semifinal even be held?

          • guest

            They’d still be able to hold it at Memorial but they’d have to open up both sides.

          • Steglitz49

            If it was moved to DC they might well using a big enough stadium.

          • Steglitz49

            High time for ECT?

      • guest

        AB—-CD—-
        EF—-GH—-
        IJ—-KL—-

      • Steglitz49

        Let’s hope for a KC-DC final. (An AC-DC one will be a while in coming, I suspect.)

        • guest

          You don’t like Kawasumi anymore? The best player in the world?

          • Steglitz49

            The best player in her position in the world, yes. The best player in the NWSL, possibly. The best player in the world, we can discuss.

            I want DC not only in the final but to lift the trophy, fool that I am.

          • guest

            Not only best player in the world, but also the best player ever played.

          • Steglitz49

            The Japanese certainly hold her in the highest regard and they are World Champions, so you have a point.

  • Blues

    What a game!!!! Loved the first goal! World class.

    • guest

      That first goal was strikingly similar to the goal Kim Little scored against the Thorns in May.

      • Steglitz49

        Kim will have her day in the sun (or fog) next — and in WC-15 with a little bit of luck.

      • Lorehead

        Not really. That was an intercepted pass from the right back. Amy Rodriguez made a run between Menges and Van Hollebeke while her teammate was in possession.

        • guest

          She stalled and waited for Angerererer to make her move and dribbled around her while slotting home, that’s pretty similar. Maybe not the buildup play but the play by the player to score was similar.

          • Lorehead

            I agree: once a player like Kim Little or Amy Rodriguez gets past the last defender with that much space, there’s nothing Angerer can do.

        • JL

          That run by A-Rod was brilliantly timed, as was the pass from Holiday. Just an all around great goal.

  • guest

    Portland choked, as expected, or they melted. Either way FCKC deserved to win and now hopefully the final will be between the two teams that have been the best all season, Reign just has to get the job done tomorrow.

    • Huan Nguyen

      Are you saying that from a talent perspective? Because I thought the game itself was pretty close.

      • guest

        They wilted in the second half and allowed KC to dominate them in the middle until KC finally broke the deadlock and then they did exactly what they’ve done for most of the season when they get scored on first, they hung their heads and KC got their second to seal the deal.

        • Guest

          pretty accurate description. You could literally see them give up after the second goal.

        • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

          I was praying for Portland not to score. I couldn’t imaging anything worse than having to play extra time. I think faced with an extra 30min in those conditions any player would want to just give up.

  • Titi14

    Congratulations to FCKC who were the better team on the day. They really played well.

    What a disappointing season for the Thorns. So much optimism at the beginning of the season and sadly it went down hill pretty quickly. Today the game was just lackluster.I was watching Arsenal- Everton match and was every now and than focusing on the game and Thorns just looked off the pace. There was no speed and movement from up top. Started brightly and pressed up high and then that was it. Not even one proper chances created. They just did not seem to be running at all. Was it the weather?
    And the 1st goal was just poor to concede. Menges comes up high and A-Rod just runs behind her and that’s it. Game over. i don’t think Thorns have ever won this season after conceding 1st.
    Well whats there to moan about? the game is done and dusted. the season is over so well that’s me done for the season and hopefully there will be next proper season.

    Well FCKC played really well and all the best for the final.

    • Steglitz49

      Maybe KC simply had an edge in married players and soccer mums?

      • Guest

        WTF is your obsession with the martial status of players or whether they have children. It’s really really creepy/

        • AshleyZ

          Lol in almost every post he mentions personal details about players that have nothing to do with anything, You’re not the only one who thinks it’s pretty much the weirdest thing ever.

          • Steglitz49

            Though we disdain the prying into the finer points of the lives of players, nevertheless the great unwashed like to feel a connection to sportsmen and women beyond their day-job. We like our heroines to be flesh and blood, not simply robots on a field of grass. All too often the only off field tit-bits we get fed about players are punch-ups leading to court appearances, hazing a universities and the blessings of body-paint.

          • guest

            We in this case a reference to multiple personalities or delusions of granduer as in the royal we.

          • Steglitz49

            We the people desiring a more perfect reporting of ladies’ footballers.

        • Steglitz49

          The martial arts of soccer?!? I assume you mean some form of kick-boxing or bear-hugging. Pulling shirts are more cowardly than martial. (Marital is as martial does, I presume.)

      • Lorehead

        Nope: Jess McDonald, Sarah Huffman, and Rachel Van Hollebeke.

        • Steglitz49

          Thank you for keeping me right. I wonder which is the biggest women’s sports news in the US — this result or Katie Ledecky beating Federica Pelligrini’s world record?

          • Vladlagg

            Tobin Heath going down with injury, duh!

          • Steglitz49

            Not news, seeing that she has been injured for two years now but last year managed a couple of monster goals when it mattered.

    • Lorehead

      I don’t know if it’s disappointing so much as a regression toward the mean. Riley ran essentially the same game plan today as he did the last time he was at Kansas City, with most of the same substitutions, and got a similar result. The Thorns played better for about 40–45 minutes, but couldn’t score; FCKC was better the rest of the time and did. Riley tried to chase the game by switching to a 4-3-3, and the same thing happened that always happens: the three forwards don’t score because no one creates opportunities. (With the one half-exception of the match in Boston where they got plenty of shots on goal, but all of them were saved.)

      Riley needs to take the lion’s share of the responsibility for this. He might reasonably complain that an offense with Vero, Morgan, Sinclair, Long and Heath or McDonald should have scored, but the fact is that it hasn’t been able to half the time. The back line averages one catastrophic mistake or so per ninety minutes, and Riley acknowledged at the start of the season that this was a deliberate trade-off, for the goals that never came. Yet the only time he made a significant adjustment (playing a second mid defensively) was in the victory over Seattle. A strategy that does not work most of the time with the players you have is a poor one.

      A lot of people have been calling for his head for weeks. This defeat will increase their number. The front office should look into their options (Tony Gustavsson’s last club folded, he has a good relationship with several of the stars on the team, including Vero, the player most in danger of leaving with Riley, Morgan spontaneously brought his name up when she was asked who should be coach of the USWNT, and the Euro-snobs would love him. I mean that affectionately!)

      Riley had better be able to convincingly explain what will be different next year if he stays. Whoever the next coach is, his or her first priority will have to be trading some of the backup forwards and attacking midfielders Riley barely used for a better, deeper back line.

      • Steglitz49

        To be a great team you have always needed to have strength in all departments: goalie, defense, midfield and attack. Modern women’s and men’s soccer has developed into a rock-solid defense with blistering counter-attacks with players flooding forth at speed. (It has been claimed that Lagerbäck was the first to see this but he did not have the personnel to succeed. It could be argued that Chelsea’s victory over Bayern Munich showed on a large stage that it worked.)

        In short, if Portland seriously tried to prevail without paying attention to their defense, they were a bit out of touch with reality. It would, I contend, have been better for the NWSL if Chicago had joined DC in the play-offs than this sorry excuse for a soccer team.

        • Titi14

          Thorns brought a whole lot of defenders this season and midfielders and a better goal keepers to be more competitive.

          GK- Nadine and Betos were upgrade on last season

          DF- Catley,Menges,Tarr,Niemeic, ( Huffman,Moros) were brought in. Ellerton and Dougherty retired so had to cover.
          Williamson for Vero( good deal I would say)
          Thats 8 defenders, 2 for each position- too bad most of them got injured . for play offs Thorns had Tarr, Niemeic and Marshall out , RVH and Catley were coming off injuries. Well all of them bar Menges got injured during the season and missed games

          For Midfield
          DM- brought Brooks, Moros, Huffman
          Box- 2-Box – brought Farrelly , only Long was there
          width- Kerr, Shim( may be needed 1 speedy player)
          Creative mid- Vero in, Heath
          you could say all of them were upgrade on the players they had.

          Forward
          brought Jess and Terry..Jess did score goals even though her play was bad. Terry was stop gap. Didn’t use Acevedo much which was terrible.

          In short, there was players covering for each and every position. Theoretically at the start of the season, all these players brought excitement and covered the weakness of last season but somehow on the field, it didn’t happen.

          Well having 20 injury free players would be miracle . Even Reign had problems last season. There was strength in depth. To say Thorns did not focus on defence would be wrong as your squad is limited and you can never guess when people will be back from injury.

          Why would it be better for Red Stars to play in play offs? To create more awareness ? I mean people would stay away from that pitch . they had it in their hands and they blew it so they cannot blame others.
          People are bitter because the owner seems arrogant and that somehow Thorns seems to have that many supporters.

          • Steglitz49

            Is the conclusion that last season Portland had a fine coach while this year they acquired an overrated one?

            Though Paulson as like as not will stick with Riley, whom would you like to see him bring in for next season should Riley fall on his sword?

          • Lorehead

            I think that, if you evaluated Laura Harvey at the end of her first season, you would have decided that she isn’t a very good coach. The same for Sir Alex Ferguson in his first year at Man U. But that would have been premature.

          • Steglitz49

            The next NWSL season will be chopped about with NT training camps, friendlies and the WC itself. Thus, Paulson might as well stick with Riley. Portland did make the play-offs again after all.

          • Titi14

            well the blame do go to the coaches when they fail. So in that case Riley must look at the things he did wrong. I don’t know anything about Riley to say if he is overrated or not but somethings didn’t work out as he might have liked.

            Injuries played a key part. Am sure Menges was not expected to play all games. Tarr was a good buy and got injured and badly missed who could play CB.

            in the middle, even though she was poor, Farrelly could run with the ball and had a bit of pace.

          • Steglitz49

            The sooner the NWSL abandons this 3 games per season schedule, the better for everyone. There will be less fatigue, fewer injuries and seeing that few attend the games anyway, why bother with them?

      • Titi14

        the problem with 4-2-3-1 is that in the 3 no one has speed in the flanks . well you can say in the whole team only Caltey and Morgan has speed and they are not that quick. There is no running with the ball and dribbling.
        I am disappointed because 3 of the main starting XI came half way through the season ( Morgan/RVH- cannot have excuses because they got injured) but the rest ) – 5 of them basically came half way through the season. just spoilt it for the rest of the season.

        the 4-3-3 does not work. Why does he keeps on playing that i am not sure? why not Morgan in the wings? Besides Vero, no one seem to be able to dribble.

        Why he did not put Morgan in the wide area just to provide speed. even Morgan did not look speedy today. That one pass from Long , I thought that was sure she was going to latch onto that and shoot.

        Nearly all the subs have been disappointing this season. Think Riley got the whole squad wrong. Well is there a better manager that is free and willing to coach Thorns in a WC season I am not sure ? I am sure he is willing to take the whole responsibility but this season everything seems to be disjointed.

        I am always unhappy with Managers getting fired/sacked but am sure he needs to convince the owner that he is the right man for the job.
        Overall regression to the mean – with the way the season started , you could be right but with 5 players missing at start of the season, the mean was always on the low side.

        • Steglitz49

          It is easy to be wise after the event but the Portland stats are worth pondering. Alex has 6 goals and 4 assists in 13 matches while Vero 4 and 6 in 15, Long 9 and 3 in 22, and Christine 7 and 1 in 23. Tobin only played 5 matches.

          The coach spent a foreign slot on an acclaimed goalie but most coaches would have kept faith with the starting goalie. Instead, he could have looked for a foreign quality defender if only to join in the second half of the season but preferably from the start.

          When all is said and done, Portland made the play-offs which neither WNY nor SB did this time round.

          • Titi14

            Well Thorns needed improvements in all facets of the game.
            GK – Nadine is way better than KK. KK did some great things but time has caught up with her. She cannot even kick the ball and play a high line which is suicide for this team.

            DF – Dougherty retired, Williamson traded( For Vero), got Catley( offensively better than Marshall but defensively suspect) – Riley bought her for 3-5-2 and than realised he could not play that system.

            MD – needed a creative mid- got Vero

            ST – got Jess, should have just played Acevedo as a hail mary. I feel sorry for her. What a waste of talent.

            So the 3 foreign slot I feel was justified. you are always going to have problems with limited top women players and no one is willing to trade top non US NT players.

          • Lorehead

            Ellertson also retired, they waived both O’Neil and Avant, and they lost Edwards in the expansion draft. Then Van Hollebeke, Niemiec, and Tarr all were injured for most of the season, Catley (who was picked for her crossing and not her defense anyway) missed most of it and Marshall just got seriously injured too. The only player who’s consistently been available was Emily Menges, the rookie who was actually flying over from the East Coast the day before her games at the start of the season because she was still attending Georgetown.

          • Titi14

            I wrote above , Theoretically all bases were covered in a limited squad.

            Defence
            retained- Marshall, RVH
            New- Menges, Tarr,Niemiec, Catley ( Huffman/Moros can play there) so basically 2 for each position. Tarr was a big loss I feel, could play CB but got injured early.

            But also feel with all new changes , the defence were never stable to build partnerships and it cost us. As early in the season, with the same back 4, Thorns lost a few games but were never bad or worse as later on in the season.

          • Miguel Najdorf

            I agree Tarr was a big loss…

          • necron99

            You mean like the new back lines for the Washington Spirit, Boston Breakers, and Chicago Red Stars?

            Every team needed time to gel at the beginning of the season. And the Spirit had more defensive injuries to their defense in 2013 and 2014.

          • Titi14

            I don’t know enough about other teams to comment about them but Thorns were affected through out the season by injuries to one person or other. In that sense, I am rightly pointing about Thorns’ problems – not having a stable back 4 like like season would be a massive disadvantage with nearly every week a personnel being changed from the previous week.

          • JL

            At least Portland didn’t have to play its last game with a 4th string keeper starting in goal.

          • Titi14

            Well we didn’t have to but injuries are part and parcel of the game. So in that we all have to deal with it .

            Its all relative in the end. Just because some one suffers more that does not make you can quantify your pain above somebody elses.

            Thorns did go through injury problems and suffered through out the season. It is one of the many reasons why they were bit disjointed but injuries did have an effect on the team.

        • Miguel Najdorf

          Catley again pushed forward during many of the Thorns best attacks, yet KC was able to get behind her frequently as well, putting more pressure on the remaining 3 defenders. Thorns midfield and defense need upgrades so that A) can be more productive attacking w/o Catley and B) provide good cover when she does push forward.

          • Titi14

            I would not say Catley is the problem but she is not a full back. She is a wing back. She was effectively bought for 3-5-2 but Riley haven’t played that system for god knows why.

            I saw Moros high up the pitch as well but her crosses were mostly straight at Barney.

            The defence this season have been a problem because due to injuries and Dougherty’s retirement – there was basically all new faces and needed time and understanding which didn’t happen. Beginning of the season, the defence was stable in that, Thorns conceded few goals but injures and new personnel needed time to gel and there was no time as it was middle of the season.

            the defence were Neimeic, Tarr, Menges and Catley

            old defence – RVH, Marshall,

            Versatile ( Moros/Huffman)

            Lack of defence hurt us but also beside Menges – everyone got injured some point during the season.

            The midfield had cover as well.
            Huffman and Moros were good when they played there( well it took them a while to get going )
            Shim regressed massively this season- due to lack of playing time and uncertainty at the beginning with her future.
            Farrelly was meant to be box – to -box but she just didn’t turn out that way , got injured – out of the season.
            Kerr is always hit or miss
            so Thorns this season got Vero, Moros, Huffman, Farrelly and Brooks along with Kerr,Shim, Heath and Long. Thats 9 Mid fielders which is a lot and theoretically all bases were covered.
            DM- Brooks, Moros, ( in case – Long)
            Box-2 box – Farrelly, Long
            Creative- Vero, Heath
            Wing- Kerr, Shim

            May be needed a more pacy wing player ( missed a fast player this year)

            Over all thats like 8 person who can play defence, 9 in mid. Theoritcally everything looked good- had experience as well but thing just did not turn out so well.

          • Steglitz49

            It could be argued that the NWSL teams put too much faith in Australian mercenaries. I know that their season dovetails nicely and they speak English (and are white), but it may be fools gold.

            In this context, FIFA recently announced a grant to the Australian FA to help them develop the women’s game. Given how rich Australia is, this seems a bit rich.

            UEFA have in the past given such grants to poorer countries but discovered that the money was simply diverted to the boys, UEFA not being able to police their generosity. Let’s trust FIFA has more muscle than UEFA.

          • D23

            You need to be careful Steg. Particularly about topics you may not be in the know about. Australia is a multicultural society and we sure aren’t all white. Neither are the Australians who play in the NWSL. Kerr has Indian heritage. Williams is indigenous. As is Kyah Simon who didn’t play this season but played the last. Any valid point you might have to make is lost when it is accompanied by such an ignorant statement.

          • Steglitz49

            Why does Australian soccer need $500, 000 from FIFA to develop their women’s game?

            Until a couple of years ago, Australia had had a better run internationally than Japan. Maybe FIFA gave the JFA money as well, though I can’t remember seeing anything about it. The Kirin brewery seems to have been the Nadeshiko’s helpmeet.

            (Thank you for reminding me that I must remember to put in weasel-words like “mainly”, “generally”, “primarily”, “inasmuch as”, etc etc.)

          • Lorehead

            I did not know that about those players. Thanks!

          • Steglitz49

            It is interesting (for want of a stronger word) to note how D23 elegantly has managed to deflect us away from the issue how Australia, a country almost as rich as Canada, can pick up support at the tune of $500,000 from FIFA for their women’s soccer while the ladies are trying to get natural grass for WC-15. (Sepp Blatter can’t teach D23 anything nor the Aussie FA for that matter.)

          • D23

            And it’s interesting to note that you have edited your comment to make it less offensive. It previously said nothing about speaking English. Merely that Australians are white. Forgive me if what I was struck by was the ignorance of your comment. If you want to criticise Fifa giving Australia money go ahead. But why accompany it with such an ignorant comment about the racial status of Australians? That is the point you continue to avoid despite the edit of your original post

          • Steglitz49

            The issue remains, how can such a rich country as Australia get money from FIFA to develop their women’s soccer?

            Australia has a fine tradition with women’s sports, at least in swimming, tennis, track-&-field, cricket and netball. Australian women have done well in the soccer world cup. Yet, a huge amount of money is coming their way. It would probably pay for natural grass for two pitches next year. (Please note the weasel-word “probably”. I forgot “mainly” last time but I have learnt my lesson.)

            Why do you think Australian soccer needs so much money and at this stage? Are FIFA trying to block a hemorrhage to cricket and netball? Is the Aussie FA bankrupt?

            You seem to know a lot about Australian soccer. Please spill the beans. We are all ears.

          • Lala

            Yes, Catley looked dangerous. Morgan seemed like she touched the ball very few times, seemed invisible, and Heath seemed like all she made were bad touches or passes, either lack of control or holding the ball too long. Shim’s play appeared a bit stronger, at least one promising switch, and McDonald created that one free kick by battling and keeping the ball. Long with her three short corner kicks, arggh. Sinclair, I have no idea anymore. All Vero, all the time, like the announcer said.

      • AshleyZ

        Right on, great analysis. I tried explaining this myself but of course there are many who think Portland got what they deserved and won’t hear anything else. I’m certain it became difficult to be coached by someone who continually used what obviously wasn’t working. Indeed, what needs to happen now is to shell out and ditch McDonald or even Heath for a couple of quality defenders.

        • Lorehead

          Thanks. Portland did get what it deserved, in the sense that they earned their finish and Kansas City earned theirs. Of course, that isn’t an analysis or a plan.

          • AshleyZ

            Very true. It could definitely be said that there was no way Portland was getting by KC today when comparing the two teams, not when you only have one midfielder who can be relied upon to create opportunities for the forwards against the best defense in the league.

          • Steglitz49

            Did Portland truly “earn” their place in the play-offs? I contend that it would have benfited women’s soccer for Chicago taking that berth.

          • Lorehead
          • Titi14

            Yes they did, as there is the saying.
            THE LEAGUE TABLE DOES NOT LIE. Over all in the whole season, Thorns deserved to be 4th.

          • Miguel Najdorf

            Well, the Thorns were wildly inconsistent. Anywhere from 2nd through 6th this year? I think they’re lucky the season didn’t end one game earlier, or later…

          • Titi14

            Well the Thorns were inconsistent but so were the other teams beside Reign and FCKC. So in the end of the season, they finished 4th meaning they deserved the 4th place and hence play offs.

          • necron99

            Portland surely earned their place in the playoffs. They played the same number of games and earned more points. The wins, losses, and ties are what matters.

          • Steglitz49

            Agreed. But, Chicago in the play-offs would have been good for the cause, don’t you think?

          • necron99

            Good for the cause has nothing to do with it. Earning the spot is the point. The Thorns earned the right to be in the playoffs.. You pushing for Chicago is just as ridiculous as the Thorns coach and fans arguing that they should have hosted the playoffs instead of KC who earned the right to host.

          • Steglitz49

            Your point is well taken but I prefer to turn it around and look at it from a different angle. We are building a business and at this point having a team from one of the biggest cities in the play-offs is worth trading for.

            As for the match in KC, by now the NWSL wishes that it was played in Alaska instead, probably.

        • Steglitz49

          Tobin was an allocated player. If she continues next season, she must be swapped for another one. The allocated defenders might not want to move.

          • Lorehead

            No, that rule changed at the start of the season.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you. In that case, she might want to move back to NJ. Do you know if she will return to Paris?

          • Kevin

            Nope. She will not, according to Riley.

          • Steglitz49

            PSG acquired Caroline Seger from the flotsam and jetsam of the Tyresö wreck. Thus, getting pitch-time may be hard in Paris this season. PSG could, well understod, have signed Seger because Tobin was not returning.

            In any case, she will always have Paris.

          • JL

            The allocation-for-allocation rule was eliminated around the time of the college draft. Hence why KC was able to acquire LePeilbet without having to give up an allocation, and why DC was able to get Perez in exchange for an international spot.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you.

        • necron99

          If Portland gets rid of Cindy Parlow Cone after she wins the 2013 Championship to pick up a big name coach in Paul Riley, and Paul Riley plays a ridiculous style of soccer and fails to win the 2014 Championship, doesn’t that essentially mean Portland got what it deserved. Portland made a choice and has to live with it. Hell Portland fans screamed for a coaching change. Portland even did worse in the regular season with less wins in more games played.

          • mockmook

            I thought CPC quit.

            But, yeah, Riley needs to go.

          • Lorehead

            I don’t know whether English is your native language, but “resigned to spend more time with her family” conveys a completely different message that anyone familiar with those social norms is expected to understand.

          • mockmook

            The page is getting buggy–but, that must be a reply to me.

            Yeah, I’m an English speaker.

            CPC would get a look from someone (college or NWSL) for Head Coach if she was still interested don’t you think? She “only” won a championship in her one year.

          • Lorehead

            I think she could definitely get a job somewhere if she were still interested.

          • mockmook

            So, to me, that lends credibility to her actually resigning for personal reasons.

            If Wikipedia is to be believed, her husband resigned his job around the same time.

          • Lorehead

            He did, and he worked for the same company. It would be irresponsible for me to speculate on how those two events might be connected.

          • mockmook

            We do nothing but speculate here!!! :)

    • Ron Bishop

      I was there and the weather was MISERABLE. HEAT, HUMIDITY, SCORCHING SUN, LITTLE BREEZE. Gates of Hell stuff.
      It looked like PTFC was having a hard time dealing with it. FCKC has been off the last two weeks and probably has done some training in this weather in preparation. Kudos to the FCKC training staff.

      • mockmook

        Kudos to you for showing up

      • Titi14

        It looked like heat had an effect on them but to complain about the heat would just be sour. Kansas had home advantage and got used to the weather may be but Thorns have been disjointed the whole season.
        Good on you for going to the game. ESPN also kept on showing the temperatures? the question would be why would they play it at this time ? hottest part of the day? crazy schedule

        • Lorehead

          ESPN chose the times.

          • Titi14

            Thats what p***ed me off this modern days . TV decides the play off times.

            1o clock in the afternoon in the hottest part of the day. Crazy. Why not in the evening when it was cooler? I am sure more people would have watched it in Youtube than in ESPN ( viewers wise) if it was in the evening.
            Thorns did look effected as no one seemed to be running .

            Even the stadium was not full house. In the Thorns side, I was surprised there was few Thorns supporters in the bench and no one.

            Crazy TV schedule.

          • Steglitz49

            This year the (men’s) FA cup and the DFB-pokal were played on the same day. The FA cup kicked off at its new time of 5pm London time and the DFB-pokal had the evening kick-off.

            Maybe the EQ could dig out the world-wide TV-audiences for that afternoon and evening and how many went on from the FA cup to watch the DFB one.

            The WC-15 final will be played in Vancouver. This will be excellent if the US, Canada, Mexico etc play one another, but a final between Germany and Japan or France and Australia may not please anyone, though in 2011 it seems all of Japan stayed up and then drank their country dry.

          • Titi14

            well the thing is playing in the evening is cooler. some people here have reported above 120+ degrees on the pitch. right in the middle of the afternoon.crazy decision.

            I dunno who watched both games but essentially players would be better off physically playing in cooler conditions in the evening.

            while that would be the home advantage, the league fixtures also was an advantage.FCKC finished thier season long before Thorns and had time to recover.

          • Steglitz49

            The FA cup was always played at 3pm London time but a couple of years ago the FA in consultation with (sounds like weasel words) the broadcasters moved the kick-off to 5pm. The German cup final used to also kick-off mid afternoon and untill about 5 years ago the ladies final was played as a curtain raiser. As a curiosity, even in the days of the DDR the German cup final was played in the Olympic stadion in West-Berlin.

            KC finished before Portland because of the 3 games per season caper and the odd number of teams, both of which Ms Paulson might want to raise with the Chief Ideologist of the NWSL when they next have a beer together.

          • Titi14

            Well people in England were not happy with the FA cup has been scheduling the last few years. It was meant to be a curtain closing event for the season and it has not happened. the 3:00 time where people would gather around be a big event has long gone with so much money being put into Premier League that it is not seen as a big trophy anymore when just surviving in the league gets you more money.
            I do know about the traditional 3 :00 pm kick off but its to favour the US tv market. But the thing about this game was just to get in on TV at any time which was just wrong. I watched a game and it looked as if the game was just played in some park and they broadcast the park game. You could not see most spectators beside the Thorns supporters behind the goal .

            Looking at the time 1:00 at scorching heat is a terrible idea. I rather the game was not played on TV and at more cooler times in the evening. I have heard reports that the league pays ESPN to broadcast in the EQ. Does not make any sense. It was a bad game to watch and that I had to sacrifice some of my time for the Arsenal-Everton game.
            Why would you make the time at 1:00 when one of the big premier league in the US is being played at the time and is over lapping?I am sure most people in US, if they were to watch soccer would watch the Arsenal game.

            Also while Riley made a big mistake, playing a pressing system. in this heat, they just wilted as the game went on. I said before FCKC had a rest because of the way fixtures were sorted and had time to rest and recover where as Thorns had a derby game for their final game which was just a weeks away.

          • Steglitz49

            The NCAA benefits the women because of Title IX. There is neither a title IX nor an NCAA in Europe but political pressure behind the scenes has meant that a little bit more women’s club soccer can be viewed on the main networks. Nevertheless, as in the US, the interest in the NTs outweigh the clubs massively.

            It will be interesting to see what effect the time-difference has on the viewing figures for WC-15 in Europe. WC-11 was a revelation partly because of the high standard of play and the exciting knock-out stages but also because for the first time since 1995 was it played in a time-zone that suited Europe. (Having typed that, the extra time in the 2003 WC was watched by an enormous number of people in Sweden and Germany, though hardly anywhere else.)

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            FYI, the start time was actually 12:00pm Kansas City time.

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            No one usually sits on those bleachers that the Thorns supporters were on. They are the cheap seats and the view stinks. Anyone who bought those seats probably chose to instead sit on the opposite side that managed to get some shade or to stand under the grandstand bleachers and catch glimpses of action through the stairwell.

            I imagine plenty of people who had tickets decided not to come because of the heat. Some of my friends couldn’t stand to sit in the stands more than 10 minutes and took refuge in a nearby restaurant to watch the game on TV. Other friends sitting with me in full sun decided to leave the seats to find patches of shade at the stadium.

            So, the heat and sun definitely contributed to the lack of a “full house.”

      • nwslfan

        Ron, did the KC players dip their cleats in ice water? I personally don’t like wet cleats, makes my feet feel heavy.

        • Ron Bishop

          No. FCKC seemed pretty relaxed actually. They would come to the touchline and get drinks tossed to them during breaks, perhaps a wet towel. They didn’t leave the pitch.

          PTFC had tubs of ice water and would try to dip their shoes in. When Tymrak was down on the pitch, the Thorns were trying to leave the pitch to dip their shoes, but the officials wouldn’t let them off the pitch. The Thorn staff looked disorganized and a little panicked and it seemed to transfer to the team.

          I remember seeing a picture of the Thorns holding a midday training on pitch the day before. I think they were worried about the heat and over trained – thus making the heat effect worse.

          • nwslfan

            Thanks for the interesting insights.

    • http://www.mehlsbells.wordpress.com/ Melanie

      I believe the Thorns cam from behind to win (not counting from behind to tie) once, verses Houston in that 6-3 made-for-TV match.

      • Lorehead

        That was Boston.

        • http://www.mehlsbells.wordpress.com/ Melanie

          Of course, so it was!

  • Riley

    But they were tired! But we were depleted!

    • guest

      But they looked so good in training

      • Riley

        Banter in the lockeroom is great!

        • guest

          The turf was poor

          • Riley

            We needed more time to gel!

          • Steglitz49

            I thought it was an all gel match.

          • Steglitz49

            That was last year. This year’s ground is pretty decent by all accounts (I have not been there).

          • mockmook

            I see your sarcasm immunization has taken, did it hurt? ;)

          • Steglitz49

            I was under the impression that this was an exchange in irony, not sarcasm, but I guess I got mixed up.

          • mockmook

            Ironically, perhaps mockery would have been a better label than sarcasm.

          • Steglitz49

            Sod the turf!

          • guess

            You guys nailed it. Complaining about turf from Riley…

  • Guest

    Literally everyone except Portland and there fans saw that coming.

    • Huan Nguyen

      The 7-1 was so much of an outlier and made people forget how close the first two games were.

      • Lorehead

        Nah, the first game wasn’t that close.

      • luke

        What have I told you then?
        Cheney rules that team.

    • AshleyZ

      Portland has been up and down all season and everyone knows it. Which game they would win or lose was anybody’s guess. Many times they were the better or equal team vs KC, Seattle or Washington, but would then basically be expected to lose vs Sky Blue and Boston. So, no, not really.
      It’s funny to me how so many people love to hate on Portland for no good reason. The reasons they do give pretty much make no sense (conspiracy theories re: the allocated players they got, saying Alex Morgan is a “pouter” and a “diver”, etc.). Sure their owner might be a douche and their coach a big talker who is arguably mostly to blame for their disappointing season, but it’s basically jealousy is what it comes down to, of both their massive fan base and their star players. Portland haters would never admit that though.
      KC’s defense was outstanding today, props to them. It will be Seattle vs KC for the final and wouldn’t be surprised if it ends with a dramatic golden goal.

      • Guest

        Portland, except for for the few blowouts, had underperformed the entire season given the immense amount of talent they have. The only consistent thing about them this season is they have not played to anywhere close to there potential for about 80% of it. Whose to blame? Don’t ask me. But if I were the thorns or a thorns fans, I might start with not making excuses for sub-par performances. So yes, anyone other than thorns fans who have actually watched the thorns this season, saw this coming.

        • AshleyZ

          I expected that would be read as “making excuses”. Not saying they haven’t underperformed, they absolutely have. As a Thorns fan who did in fact watch their games, that was obvious. This is why it was obvious from watching the games that having a coach who insisted on not correcting his mistakes (formations, subs, continually chasing the game when it was far too late, always leaving 3 back) sure didn’t help. Hopefully next year they will have a leader that will not only pay attention to their defense, but make it more about possession and working as a single unit. This is how Seattle and KC have one so well this season.

      • guest

        Oh you’re one of those people that believes that people are jealous of other teams if they hate them, so much makes sense now. If I hate a team, I hate a team, and I can give you countless reasons for why I hate Portland but none of them have to do with jealousy.

      • Lorehead

        I agree, but then, I’m biased. No objective soul would single out, say, Alex Morgan as being a bigger troublemaker than Abby Wambach (who called out her teammates in very bizarre fashion), Hope Solo (missed the plane because she got arrested), much less Lisa De Vanna (whom the coach just ordered to stay home for the playoffs for the good of the team). Nadine Angerer was nothing but gracious to Sam Kerr about getting red-carded, for the only time in her career, on that dive. Both Jess McDonald and Mana Shim have been good sports about not getting as many minutes as most people felt they deserved. Plenty of players this year have committed egregious fouls, none of them Thorns. Christine Sinclair has never made excuses and quietly let Allie Long take all the penalties while she was in better form. Nobody on the Thorns officially gave up before the team was eliminated the way Aaran Lines did.

        You could say the same thing about a lot of other great players in the league: Nahomi Kawasumi, Christen Press, Nadia Nadim, Amy Rodriguez, and many more. If you’re a fan of any or all of them, good for you. But a hater who blames the players is being tremendously unfair.

        • Elaine

          Well said, Lorehead.

      • necron99

        So the owner being an obnoxious douche isn’t enough of a reason to dislike a team?

        • Lorehead

          Correct. If you don’t like the owner personally, don’t hold that against the women who work for him or their fans.

          • necron99

            I have no hate for the players. I do have a dislike for the owner, the coach, and how the team plays. I especially dislike Vero for whining about all contact when she plays on a team with Long who fouls constantly. If fouls were consistently called in this league Long would have sat out for accumulation half way through the season. I don’t hate either player or think they are bad people. I appreciate Vero’s skill as a player.

            I also appreciate that the Portland fans show up in droves to support their local team. I support mine and wish more people showed up. But I dislike just about every Portland fan that I interact with online. Most of them feel entitled to the Championship just because the have the best attendance. I love the article on the Oregonian, where Portland fans are saying all playoff games should be hosted in Portland for the good of the growth of the league. I love how Riley decided that no team should host a playoff game unless they pull in 8k attendance. Hmm, that turns out to leave only one team, the Thorns to host. Even MLS owned Houston doesn’t average 8k. In fact the WPS Philadelphia Independence did not average 8k or even sell that many tickets to their home playoff game against Magicjack. (I was at that game). So very nice of him to set the bar high. Entitlement much.

          • luke

            “I have no hate for the players. I do have a dislike for the owner, the coach, and how the team plays.”

            Preach!

          • http://www.mehlsbells.wordpress.com/ Melanie

            There have been rumors of LA being the 10th franchise, and pairing with the Galaxy would almost certainly bring that much attendance. Not to mention, I think Houston, with a couple more strategic players, could pull a Seattle and turn around to do very well next year. Other teams may be able to get stadiums better equipped for broadcasting and/or commuting for fans, and hopefully next year will continue the move towards parity in field, fan attendance, ‘look’ for ESPN, etc.

            Of course the WC may throw all that off, but by 2016, I’d love to see a couple more teams with high attendance, wonderful camera-ready stadiums, etc. Call me a dreamer, but I think it can happen.

          • necron99

            Having watched the WUSA, WPS, and now NWSL, I can say that we will not see another team in the NWSL averaging 10k fans across the season in the next 10 years. Portland is unique. Kudos to the fans for that. But that does not mean they deserve to have every playoff game at home. Of course is Portland is too good for the league, perhaps they can start their own league and play by themselves.

          • http://www.mehlsbells.wordpress.com/ Melanie

            Maybe I’m too hopeful that a Galaxy-paired team could break 10k. *sigh*

            Of course they don’t deserve to have every playoff game. What may work a ways down the road is to have the NFL system of a designated stadium for the final before the league even kicks off, and that would be a stadium equipped for both crowds and TV; it doesn’t even have to be an NWSL stadium, but say, the Chicago Fire’s stadium. But the NFL playoffs have more games and thus more home field advantage opportunities leading up to the Super Bowl. Right now, with only one playoff game before the final, that system would strip teams of having much home field advantage at all, which makes the final four teams’ rankings mostly useless.

        • Steglitz49

          No.

          Also, without wealthy owners there would be no women’s pro-soccer, so don’t disdain the hand that feeds you and certainly don’t bite it.

          • Boston Red

            But he is a douche and his coach is a whiner, so I have no problem hating on them personally.

          • necron99

            It is not the wealthy part that is the problem. It is the douche bag part that is. I am greatful that he chose to profit share with the rest of the league. That was a nice thing that he did not have to do. But it does not outweigh the rest his attitude and the stuff that comes out of his mouth. Kind of like complaining about the Reign being happy to win a game against the Thorns year after failing to do so last year. When he own Thorns team gloated about beating the team in last place.

          • Steglitz49

            He could always copy the Emir, who allegedly never says anything himself but only speaks through his press-secretary and other staff.

      • nwslfan

        Hi Ashley, I am not a Portland fan. last year, I thought Portland got dealt a overly favorable allocation of internationals and I tend to favor underdog types or scrappy teams. I got a huge kick out the craziness of CPC’s many issues, so I paid attention to the team. I absolutely loathe, LOATHE, the thorns commentators. This year however, I could not help but love Vero and when the thorns show up and play hard, I find myself starting to like them. I don’t mind the mouthy owner. Not jealous of the fan base at all, I think its cool. Regards, your fan.

        • http://www.mehlsbells.wordpress.com/ Melanie

          I’m a Portland fan through and through. I haven’t watched any home game streams this year (I attended every match), but last year I watched most matches from home, and the commentating was – subjectively, I think as well, but also objectively as in just accurately describing what’s happening – quite bad.

      • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

        Ha! Jealous of Portland? Hardly.
        I’m a little envious of their stellar supporters’ section (even if I think some of their chants are in poor taste), but I wouldn’t trade a single FCKC player for a Portland player.

        I think it’s hard to argue that KC has the best goalkeeper, the best centerback, and the best holding midfielder in the league. I think Vlatko is the best coach in terms of having a vision and building the team to best achieve that vision. Harvey, I think, was the best coach in the offseason and has built a fantastic team.

        You could say I’m a Portland “hater” because of their spoiled, entitled attitude and some of the bruisers on their team who complain every time they’re charged with a well-deserved foul. DEFINITELY not jealous. Us midwesterners don’t much care for Portland’s attitude, but regardless of the number of stars they have we don’t consider them to be the better team nor to be anything we should be jealous of.

  • Rdalford

    Congrats to FCKC. Strong game by FCKC defense, no need to wait for next week NWSL should go ahead an anoint Brunn as defender of the year.

    FCKC tweet listed attendance as 2997 (looked like all standing in the shade spots were taken). Appreciate the FCKC fans who came out on such a hot day.

    • Steglitz49

      Thank you, Keeper of the Score Card. I presume 2997 meant red lights.

      It used to be a joke in Damallsvenskan that more people went to watch Vittsjö at home than lived in the hamlet, even when you included those in the old people’s home.

    • Elaine

      I thought so too about this game. Just a stronger KC defense than the Thorns defense. Good luck to them in the final.

      • Lorehead

        KC has been the most consistent team in the league so far (and remember, its second-place finish was a great recovery from an early slump). Credit for that belongs (edit: in large part) to the coach and the front office.

        • mockmook

          More consistent than SRFC?

          • ReignTrain

            I would say they are equal. Kansas shaky in the beginning Reign more shaky in the middle, evens out in my opinion.

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            And the “slump” didn’t even have to do with any critical issues. It was largely due to experimentation with a new formation and partly due to a grueling schedule. The fixed the former and endured the latter which lead to a much better showing for the rest of the season.

          • Lorehead

            SRFC finished seventh out of eight last season. I meant over the (short) history of the league.

          • mockmook

            Sorry, thought you were talking this season only.

          • Lorehead

            Sorry for the confusion.

    • JL

      All the votes for end of season awards have been turned in already, so this game will have no impact on that.

  • ReignTrain

    Congratulation to FCKC. Great team, great coach, great club. I personally as a Reign fan have a lot of respect for FCKC and I think a Reign/FCKC final would be great. lets finish business tomorrow Seattle.

    • Steglitz49

      I am rooting for DC.

      • ReignTrain.

        May the odds be ever in your favor. Let the games begin.

        • Steglitz49

          I did not type that my money or my shirt were on them, just that I was cheering for them, which costs nothing.

          • Guest

            Hahahaha you do realize that’s a direct quote from Hunger Games. It was meant to be funny.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you. I only watched the movie once. (I was wondering if it was from Star Wars, but there it was the force …).

  • mockmook

    A big FU to Ellis from ARod :)

    WTH was up with Arod not even suiting up for the WNT match?

    • Steglitz49

      Of the three — Alex, Christen and Syd — whom would ARod replace in your opinion? A number of voluminous and dilatory commentators on the EQ have extolled the virtues of and demanded the pairing of Alex and Christen. Now you want that pair to be the two As: Alex and ARod?

      • mockmook

        Why why even invite her to camp if there is no place for her?

        I just think the highest American goal scorer in the NWSL should be given some time with the other big names on the pitch (she might just outplay one).

        Isn’t the NWSL the USWNT developmental league, allegedly?

        • Steglitz49

          Your points are well taken. ARod has 13 goals and 3 assists, while Alex 6 and 4, Christen 6 and 0 and Syd 5 and 0 (according to the NWSL site), while Sarah Hagen 4 and 1. In short, if ARod continues like this next season, she ought to be going to Canada.

          • Reality

            You are such an agitator. Morgan had 6 goals in 14 games and Press had 6 goals in 12 games. Rodriguez got her 13 goals in 22 games. So it is actually almost equal in projected totals. When one considers the teams that each player scored their goals with, it becomes a somewhat different picture.

          • mockmook

            So, you’re saying ARod is just as good as those two? ;)

          • Reality

            Check my last sentence.

          • mockmook

            You did see the ;) didn’t you?

          • Reality

            Thank you for clarifying…

          • Steglitz49

            I thought a missed penalty was not without significance, but maybe it was by then.

          • Reality

            Such an agitator…You forgot to mention Press’s refereed goal against Houston and the miraculous save by Harris either of which would have put CRS in the playoffs.

          • Steglitz49

            There are two rules in soccer:
            #1: the ref is always right; and
            #2 if the ref is wrong, rule #1 applies.
            On those two rules hang all of soccer.

          • Steglitz49

            He is saying that whatever happens a certain player must be in Canada.

          • Lorehead

            Jill Ellis needs to choose 20 field players for the WC. If she takes four forwards, there’s a convincing case that those should be Syd, Alex, Christen and Amy. If she takes five, there’s a credible case that she should follow Klinsmann’s example, bring a younger player like Horan or Hagen, and tell Abby that it’s time to hang up her boots.

            I don’t think that she will, though, and Rodriguez is the most likely player to miss the cut.

          • mockmook

            Barring injuries, it will be Syd, Alex, Christen, and Abby.

            Ellis has shown no stomach for experimentation. In her halftime interview she said, “No shake-ups”, essentially, no fresh faces for the line-up.

          • newsouth

            I’d like to see Hagen, love how she can hold the ball. Press can flux between forward and mid-field now. Not as good as France, Japanese or Germany but she has some hustle. 5 forwards shouldn’t be a problem. Bye Wambach like Donovan. Hagen > Wambach at this point.

          • Steglitz49

            Your point is well taken and I agree with you in principle but at the same time I expect JE to play it safe and include Abby among her 23 elect.

          • Steglitz49

            I see you have read my other entry. I ought to have gone back and smartly edited this one. Eh bien, you live and learn.

            Granted that 1135 min (14 games) is 10% more than 1080 minutes (12 games) but 4 assists are 4 and 0 is 0, while Sarah Hagen’s 529 min (9 games) says something. We will never know if Sarah could have scored 8 goals with 1060 min on the field.

            What is the conclusion? We leave ARod behind and instead give Sarah a chance in WC-15?

          • Reality

            Hagen has shown some excellent moves in handling the ball and her field vision. She is a force to be reckoned with once Wambach decides to gracefully exeunt. Rodriguez has clearly improved her finishing at least at the club level. Both are still in the queue behind the big three for the future NT forward positions.

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            I’m not sure what your point is about “when one considers the teams…”

            Is KC somehow more conducive to Arod scoring and Portland less conducive to Alex scoring?

            Even when factoring games played, the results still support Arod starting for the USWNT (especially when Holiday is a given starter and has a proven ability to get Amy the ball):

            Morgan: .428 goals/match
            Press: .500 goals/match
            Arod: .591 goals/match

            And you conveniently left Leroux out: .227 goals/match.

            Comparing team performances,

            Seattle has Little: 16, Nahomi: 9, Goebel & Syd: 5 goals each
            Portland has McDonald: 11, Long: 9, Sinclair: 7, Morgan: 6.
            KC has Arod: 13, Holiday: 8, Hagen & Tymrak: 4 each.
            (Chicago stats on NWSLsoccer.com are not accurate, so can’t compare)

            KC Seems to closely mirror Seattle in goal distribution among players. Arod is simply best on her team this season versus 3rd of 4th best on the team for SEA/POR.

            So, I guess I don’t see how “considering the teams” makes it a different picture. Seems clear that Arod is a performing striker and has “earned” a shot in the USWNT rotation.

          • Reality

            It’s really quite simple. Rodriguez herself said that her team enabled her to score well. Just transpose her to Chicago for a half season and Press to KC for a full season and IMO, you would see dramatically different results. Press would thrive in KC or for that matter in Seattle as both suit her style very well. CRS was probably the worst team for her in terms of that and she still scored 6 goals in 12 games. As far as Morgan, she is still not fully back to form and Leroux was in effect playing as a mid for Harvey. So while Rodriguez has apparently improved in her ability to finish, she is still at best # 4 on the NT with Hagen crowding her.

        • NYRick

          Nothing against ARod on this, really. But in all fairness, she is the “highest American goal scorer” in the NWSL this season due to the fact: 1) She plays on an excellent KC possession based team with Holiday spearheading it. Throw in Tymrak too, and a forward should get plenty of opportunities.
          2) Alex and Press played half seasons. Abby missed a good chunk of games the second half too, and Syd was basically converted to a midfielder in Harvey’s system.

          Great season by ARod, no doubt. And she came through big time yesterday in a 0-0 game. But some stats have to be looked at more closely at times.

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            But if Arod isn’t given a chance alongside Morgan, Press, Leroux then how CAN you compare? Holiday is critical to USWNT success and she knows how to deliver the ball to Amy. Does she pair just as well or better with the other 3? How do you know unless you they all get game time. Perhaps Arod is better than the other forwards at club level and they are better than her at national team level, but are we just guessing at that fact?

            the NT should use the best COMBINATION of players, which is not always the sum of the best individual performances. I just wonder if all of the right combinations have been tried.

      • guest

        Leave off Syd.

        • Steglitz49

          If you have followed my entries in the past, you will know that I am a supporter of Syd’s. At the same time, MockMook wanted a place for ARod in the line-up so someone has to go to accommodate those desires, so I asked whom we send packing.

  • BCAD

    Congrats FCKC would love for them to win it all even though Seattle is amazing and im not discounting Washington or anything. To be honest in the first 15 minutes I thought the Thorns looked good and this game was going to go down to the wire, but Thorns looked so tired (with good reason). And off topic but does Jill Ellis only attend NWSL games in which FCKC, Portland and Seattle are playing in or involved because I feel those are the only times I have seen her.

    • Rdalford

      I think there have been news reports and/or interviews with Ellis at most NWSL locations (Houston, FCKC, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, WNY, Washington) with possible exception of Boston (and she attended games were Boston was playing although she may not have attended a home game).

      • Rufan

        And the Chicago at SB game.

    • Lorehead

      Tom Sermanni made a point of telling people he saw every NWSL game. Whether Ellis is in the stands or not, she definitely noticed players like JJ and Dunn.

      • mockmook

        But she apparently can’t see ARod, Ohai, Ochs, Huster, etc.

        • nwslfan

          or Buczskowski!

  • Reality

    This game displayed some lessons for the NT. KC is very much a possession team with excellent passing and combination play. They were able to neutralize both Morgan and Sinclair in any direct over the top movements and also to create some very effective scoring. This will be a similar theme in the upcoming WC. It would behoove Ellis to achieve a balance in direct and possession play with both personnel and strategy for the NT to maximize our potential in the future.

    • Steglitz49

      In short, as I understand you, if the Cup does not come south next year, let’s ask Vlatko to take charge of the NT for Rio. Agreed?

      • Reality

        That might be described as a Klinsmann like move for the USNWT.

        • Steglitz49

          We could ask Jogi Löw but he has signed on for a few more years at the helm while Rudi Völler probably would not find favor with USSoccer.

          • Reality

            Don’t forget Gustavsson.

          • Steglitz49

            Among the Swedes, there is also Dennerby. Were JE to step aside, then Abby is as good a candidate as anyone, don’t you think?

          • Reality

            Ah, no.

    • wosofan

      Vlatko is in charge of his team; Ellis is but a caretaker, there to lend comfort and familiarity to the team. Indeed, USSF primary talking point upon her hire was that “she’s been around for a long time and knows the players well.” Qualifications for invites to social gatherings, not controlling and educating huge egos. KC is an egoless team. Read Becky’s latest blog for fckc’s website – she talks about how the team must share the ball and sacrifice individuality for the team to play well AS A TEAM. Ellis is not the coach to transform the team at all. I expect no tactical or strategic improvements as soon as they face a decent side next summer in the knockout rounds.

      • Reality

        Ellis has many “clues” for revaluating her roster and strategy for the NT. Among them are the two well deserved finalists in the NWSL, the loss by our U-20 WNT in their WC, the commensurate rise of youth in teams in Germany and France. All of these examples hold in common that the best teams have a balance in their offense of direct and possession play and all the teams have excellent technical players who excel in ball handling, passing, combination and general versatility.

        Gulati never intended for Ellis to transform anything. A clear message was given by him when he gave Sermanni the axe. She is a placeholder who hopes to get by with minimal rocking of the boat. The real question after the dust has settled is who will be her successor?

  • guest

    So where’s NYRick? Or is he hiding because his crystal ball lied to him?

    • false impressions

      Some posters mistakenly equate quantity with quality and perhaps more telling correctness.

      • mockmook

        Some posters are so anxious to post that they reply to themselves :)

        • Reality

          There are many “guests” but little accountability :)

    • NYRick

      Here I am. Couldn’t watch the game at regular time, just finished watching it. I’ll eat some crow, I did think Portland was going to win. All around good match and credit to both teams for playing in those conditions. If Vero’s post shot goes in the very end of the first half, I think a big difference maker right there.

      Holiday and Tymrak were class. Can someone remind again of all the things Tymrak “does wrong” that our other NT midfielders who get call ups do so right? There is no way on earth this girl does not belong on the NT. Maybe not as a starter right now, but she has to be in the picture moving forward and she should be on the NT roster at the WC. I would take her over Pinoe or Heath any day of the week. Congrats to KC, should be a great final if Seattle does their thing tomorrow.

      • mockmook

        You are right that the mistakes Tymrak makes are also made by Pinoe and Heath. But, Pinoe has shown she can come through in the clutch.

        I would have Tymrak on my team as a sub. Once she quits turning the ball over, I would make her a starter.

        • NYRick

          Agree. Tymrak tends to get a little too courageous and confident with her 1 v 1 skills at times. In fact, she had a really bad turnover that led to a quick counter to Vero in the second half. With that said, with her age and talent in consideration I want her to make the WC team. She may very well be next cycle, and of course Pinoe and Heath have tons more international experience, but ET remains one of the most exciting players in the sport in my opinion…and will only hopefully get better.

          • VaFan51

            FWIW, I maintain that Tymrak is playing out of position; she is much more suited to playing in the middle. But wherever she plays, she needs to get a little more excited about playing defense — she is almost a platoon player on the pitch.
            But, more importantly…
            If a goalkeeper can win FIFA Player of the Year, then surely a CB named Becky Sauerbrunn can be MVP of North America. Holiday might be the engine that makes the KC offense run, but Brunn is the primary reason that the opposition’s big-gun forward does absolutely nothing and that almost nobody on the opposition gets a decent shot from anywhere within 20 yards. The woman is an absolute marvel out there.

          • Steglitz49

            Nadine essentially won the POTY because she prevented Norway from winning Euro-13. Nadine stopped two penalties in the final — one at 0-0 and the second one would have meant Norway equalizing. (Norway had beaten Germany in the group game.)

            Oddly enough, in spite of her inspired play during WC-11, Ayumi Kaihori did not get the Golden Gloves. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

          • Steglitz49

            I would not take Tobin with me to Canada unless she massively improves her play next season.

          • NYRick

            This is quite a turnaround with your previous opinions of Tobin. I do think that NWSL championship game wonder goal aside, that for whatever reason (injuries have been a big part) that her game has digressed since her move/association with PSG. She kind of sacrificed her NT spot/status for Euro bucks and can’t seem to find her way back. I think she is an Ellis favorite though, and will get every opportunity to make and even possibly start on the WC team.

          • Steglitz49

            Flexible, ever; constant, never!

            I presume that Tobin’s bank-balance has not been hurt by her choices. Indeed, she may have perceived that her time on the NT was likely winding down. As the dust settles on her career, Tobin’s freekick in last year’s final will be replayed for a long time to come. Not a bad epitaph all things considered.

          • Titi14

            The problem for Heath is she is/never good at crossing the ball and was always out in the Abby ball and people have judged her always on that.

            She has never played on AM before other than a few minutes against France. now Rapinoe has a chance there as well.

            I think its better to give Holiday the chance there and play here as AM. She is creative as well.

            Heath has to remain injury free for a year I believe. She always seems to have stop start career as she seems to be having injuries through out her life.

          • Steglitz49

            If Tobin is not among the elect, I expect that she will retire.

            Moe Brian seems an obvious person to give a lot of pitchtime between now and next summer. Amber Brooks is probably toast by now.

        • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

          Agreed that Pinoe is a good clutch player and her crosses can be spectacular. Heath is a wash and Tymrak should get called up ahead of her, in my opinion. Especially since Heath seems to always be injured.

      • nwslfan

        since you asked… Tymrak jogged, trotted or walked on defense. Dogging on defense is inexcusable. She ran hard when she had the ball at her feet, then she had real spring in her step.. First half- too many touches, so slow speed of play. 2nd half, there was improvement and she had several 1 or 2 touches and passing to open player, but not much “go” after the “give”. If a player like Moros can figure out her tendencies and readily shut them down, Tymrak needs to change her playbook. Holiday and Tymrak on different planets right now. Wish we could clone Holiday right now for NT bc she is playing at a very high level

        • NYRick

          You are obviously not a Tymrak fan and are being a little harsh on her. For one, I didn’t see her jogging or “walking” on defense and the conditions were absurd anyway. Also, I respect your opinion, but not every player is going to be a two-way all effort type of player like someone like HAO. Players have different skill sets. I personally think the game comes easy to someone like Tymrak, and with that, she gets the criticism of just gliding, loafing etc. She is a smooth, highly finesse player and you have to accept that. Ask Holiday if she minds having her out there with her. Ask Vlatko if he’ll take her “bad defense.”

          Every player has pluses and weaknesses. Can she improve on defense? Absolutely. But tell you what, in a sport that doesn’t feature much scoring and with a player who is capable of some magic at any given moment out there, I’d certainly want her on my team.

          • nwslfan

            Vero was hustling on both sides of the ball. I have a peeve for players, particularly midfielders who don’t hustle on D. She is not given the honor to play down the spine of the field bc she is not yet a quality 2 way player. If she would hustle both ways would her teammates prefer that to trotting. most likely. Tymrak is a great dribbler, but speed of play is the name of the game. Players have to know when to combine and use teammates and when to go 1v1. Players must understand that the ball can move FASTER on a pass than on the dribble. She is certainly capable of learning this. I am sure Vlatko is teaching this style, as was Bayern. I hope she improves her game. She certainly has great potential.

          • NYRick

            I must be watching a different game because Tymrak is more than just a great dribbler. She can be downright dominant offensively. I think you underrate her vision on the pitch. She makes the right pass to the flank the majority of the time when she charges the middle and is a bigger part of Holiday’s success on KC than is given credit for. I also think Buczkowski is a big part of that too. She is really the most underrated player in the league and why she isn’t given consideration for the DM role on the NT is a great mystery as well.

            But back to ET. She certainly isn’t the creampuff one-way lightweight you are making her out to be. She took a really hard challenge in the first half and got back up in a few minutes and shook it off. I hear what you are saying about her, and some is of course valid, but give the player a little more credit than you are. In fact, Holiday herself (now seemingly in good form) has often been accused of not going all out and coming up big in important games. Now she is everyone’s all-world. It’s always the system you are in, and the Vlat’s KC system is ideal for Holiday’s skill set and talent.

          • nwslfan

            Agree she shook off hard tackles and fouls. ET had several good passing ideas and made better connecting passes 2nd half.

            Hustle is unrelated to skill or system of play. Agree ET has foot skills.

          • KCFootieFan

            I would like to chime in on Tymrak. As a FCKC fan I’ve been watching her closely since she started playing regularly in June of 2013. Since then I’ve notice two main things:
            1. She did loaf on defense BIG-TIME, just jogging back and being lazy, imho. That was true last year and the beginning of this year. But sometime in the middle of the season she started to actually make an effort on defense. If you watch the Youtube vidoes of FCKC games she is actually running on defense and making a real effort. She’s never going to be mistaken for a D-mid but that’s not her game. But at least she’s hustling and tracking back now. She went a couple games or so in the middle of the season where she was not a starter and I wonder if that was a message to her. Maybe that plus her lack of USWNT call ups was a wakeup call. We’ll see.
            2. Second, she has been much less effective at dribbling past defenders this year (except for a few times like that goal v Houston). She gets dispossessed a lot and has been forced to combine with her teammates much more than before. Which makes her a much better player and teammate.
            All in all I used to be disappointed in the one dimensional nature of her game and understood her lack of USWNT time. But now I think she’s become a much better player than she was last year at this time.

          • wosofan

            The above commenter doesn’t understand that Mathias was dropping deep to defend Catley. Moros offers basically nothing going forward compared to Catley, so Tymrak’s positioning was fine. KC played w a single forward, so Tymrak was the outlet along w Cheney for the start of a lot of counterattacks.

      • newsouth

        I saw a different game, Mr Rick. i thought they contained KC’s mid-field for 75% of the game and forced the game on A-Rod, who went 1 for 3 on shots that counted. After the A-rod goal, the complexion of the game changed. Then, KC could switch to their possession mod. 2nd goal was icing, no different than the Sinclair goal in the championship. At the point Portland lost its’ early game shape. Riley played his cards on an A-rod goal which she happen to come through this time vs the WPS final against WNY when she couldn’t buy a goal with several point blank shots. Harvey will put her money on A-rod also. Remember she was up in Seattle too. Good defensive game by KC or they didn’t commit their regular Sesselmann penalty in the box. We’ll see next week. As noted too many times, Riley can’t coach offense. His juggernaut was got outplayed by A-rod. BTW, he is a sore loser.

        • NYRick

          Good analysis. Riley had the right strategy to take his chances and let ARod beat him. She converted one on a perfectly threaded pass by Holiday. Actually Angerer looked real bad on that too and had a very uneven season for Portland.

          As for Riley he is a sore loser. If he had a problem that the game wasn’t played in front of more than 3k like his 18k in Portland, then how about coaching his team to at least 2nd to get the playoff home game. He knows that was the goal at the start of the season. Get the team one or two home playoff games. He failed and was lucky to even get into the playoffs obviously.

        • Titi14

          I think the heat did take its toll on the Thorns players bearing in mind, FCKC finished the season early and had time to recuperate and get used to the playing conditions being home game.

          Riley made a mistake of playing a high pressing system as soon as they stopped pressing( due to early fatigue by the heat)- FCKC grew more into the game. They should have sat back and hit in the counter.

          Also this 4-2-3-1 system, there was no pace on the wide , Heath and Sinc are never going to run quick. He did put Morgan out wide and let Sinc play in the middle as well.

          His game plan since going a goal down as well has never worked. Jess just cannot seem to play in 4-3-3 or Sinc or Morgan. It just seems put all scorers on the pitch and they can somehow score.

          I think He needs to go back to 3-5-2 and play Morgan and Sinc up top or trade one of them for a better width player.

          • Steglitz49

            Your thought that “the heat did take its toll on the Thorns players” seems to stand to reason given what is emerging after the match. Hmmm. Mr Paulson holds a few aces now as well as some decent trump. Let’s wait and see how it pans out but truth and justice may well be casualties along the road.

        • http://www.mehlsbells.wordpress.com/ Melanie

          IMO, the big difference in that 7-1 game wasn’t even just Holiday, it was also the Thorns containing A-Rod (and Barney having an off day). This game, they couldn’t contain A-Rod. Perhaps someone (Huffman?) should have been tasked to mark her as Vero was marked. We’ll see how Seattle or Washington attempts to handle her.

          I was priorly dubious of A-Rod’s place on the national team, but this season she has really played well, and her run on her goal and juke of Angerer is emblematic of her season’s play.

      • romel dias

        yay Emily Tymrak!

      • wosofan

        There apparently be a long residency camp in Jan to March next year. Why can’t coaches invite Tymrak, give her several weeks to adjust and improve re decision making. There is a ton more upside there as a attacking player than Heath or others. She has amazing feet and balance. Her vision could use improvement, but she deserves a chance to improve with the team in residency. Cancel the 2015 contracts for Averbuch and Mewis, and then USSF can afford Tymrak.

        • NYRick

          If Tymrak is not at the Jan-March residency camp than it is pure negligence on the part of Ellis and the USSF. This BS of these CBA contracts restricting the progress of our best young players has to stop.

          It’s obvious that Germany got the message after WC11 and catering to a last hurrah for Prinz was a huge mistake. They revamped their whole program around a talented core and generation of young players. And today they even won the U20. But in the US, it’s about the CBAs, never telling the players who’ve either been with the program beyond their sell date (there are plenty of those) or never cutting ties with players in their U systems or top college stars who for whatever reason have been surpassed by others.

          Tymrak obviously still has a ways to go, but I think she has one of the top upsides in the program and at 23 she should now really start being nurtured and integrated properly into the NT. It’s beyond ridiculous.

  • wosofan

    Quality triumphs over thuggery and poor officiating. And Cheney at her best is every bit as good as Vero.

    • Steglitz49

      Mrs Holiday, please. Like Yuki, the lady has chosen to play with her married name.

      • JL

        Her teammates still call her Cheney, and many of Rampone’s teammates still call her Pearcie.

        • Lorehead

          So did the announcers.

    • Miguel Najdorf

      Vero is fantastic but I think one area she could improve is the late run. Both Holiday and Little will pass the ball in high then make the “3rd man” run into the box, one thing Vero doesn’t do often.

    • Lorehead

      The ref did lose control of the game, and Erica Tymrak took the brunt of it. Although she got some retaliation in, too.

  • Miguel Najdorf

    KC was very effficient in movement in 1st half, controlled the ball, forced Portland to chase more than they wanted to, and took over in the 2nd half. Portland was never going o win a war of attrition against a deep, rested, healthy, and well coached team like KC.

  • guest

    LePeilbet looked very strong at DM. She really needs to go to another team that will put her to work and there are plenty that need a defensive leader like her. She’s being wasted with the excessive bench depth in KC.

    • ladywing

      I agree that LePeilbet looked great. She was a tigress.
      We have three excellent teams who, depending on the day, may win or lose.
      That’s we have games and not just odds makers.
      To the victors will go the spoils!
      I am totally waiting for the Reign!

  • PLEASE VOTE!

    JUST A QUICK POLL:

    • vote pls

      THUMBS UP IF YOU’RE SUPPORTING DC TO WIN

      • vote pls

        THUMBS UP IF YOU’RE SUPPORTING SEATTLE TO WIN

        • Steglitz49

          Thumbs up if you are supporting the ref? What if one wants to vote for the mascot?

    • mockmook

      You have my vote!!!! Well, before you posted what the poll was.

      • pls vote

        -.-

  • FCKCEvans
    • poppy

      preach it

    • Lorehead

      Yes, those are some especially acrid sour grapes. You know whose job it was to bring the playoffs to Portland, Paul Riley? Yours.

      • ladywing

        We have three good teams left and any could beat another on a single day.
        I posted in another thread yesterday that if The thorns went through and played the final in Seattle they (their coach) would complain about being “depleted” by a three hour bus trip but Riley never fails to satisfy in the whining department.
        “Who wants to play in this stadium in a semifinal?” Riley said. “It’s
        terrible conditions for the players. To bring in 14 national team
        players and have them play under conditions like this in the semifinal,
        doesn’t make any sense…you can’t play football at this place. It’s
        impossible.”

        Did not both teams play on the same turf, in the same heat?
        I like the Thorns as a side but they need a new coach.
        May it Reign forever, the no whining zone.

        • Lorehead

          “The expectation levels were really low because of all the things that had been out of our control and not gone our way,” said Harvey, whose contract was renewed through 2017 in August.

          • ReignTrain

            Amy getting pregnant out of there control. Solo injured? Out of there control. Pinoe in france? Out of there control. Whats your point.

          • Lorehead

            That those are exactly the same excuses you’re ragging on Merritt Paulson for making. Alex and Rachel getting injured? Out of their control. Tobin in France, Vero in Sweden and Steph Catley in the Asian Cup? Just as much out of their control as Pinoe, although people here seemed to think that those signings were different.

          • ReignTrain

            I personally have never said Riley was at fault for those so I’m not sure who your referring to. It just seems to me the thorns always have a handy excuse when they don’t play well. They were tired or the field was bad and the travel was rough. I’m not sure if thorns fans are aware that some of those things happen to other teams to.

          • ladywing

            I’m sure the players on all NWSL teams are aware that those things happen to other teams and players as well.
            What other teams don’t have is a big giant head that whines and complains about the circumstances of the conditions of women’s soccer as if pertains to and affect only their team.

          • Lorehead

            I don’t think the Thorns make more excuses than anyone else. I’ve quoted Harvey doing it, but remember Chicago’s owner (and Christen Press’ fans) giving the same depleted-team explanation, or Abby Wambach calling out her Spanish teammates (the game after Vicky Losada gave her an assist, no less), or Randy Waldrum complaining about injuries and “what we had player pool wise and not getting the allocations everyone else had,” or the Boston Breakers’ GM getting fined for blaming the refs, or this gem out of New Jersey:

            In the wake of the most astoundingly unfair bit of scheduling in the league this season in New Jersey on Sunday, more than one person volunteered that one team was getting the bulk of the breaks in terms of playing as a rested team against a team on a short turnaround. “That team is running away with the league,” one person said. That team of course, is the Reign.

          • guest

            Sure but week after week do you see those same excuses from those teams? It just seems IMO to be of a higher volume and quantity from the thorns higher ups. I just think there are few moments where the thorns have just said “You know what we didn’t play well. Period. End of story. We didn’t play well.”

          • Lorehead

            Riley has said exactly that on many occasions, for example after the last loss to Seattle.

            For comparison, after his first game as head coach, Vlatko Andonovski whined that the ref shouldn’t have given Portland a penalty, and after he lost the rematch, his complaint was:

            If Sesselmann’s foul was a red card then Buehler’s foul was a red card but if Rachel Buehler’s was not a red then Sesselmann’s was not a red either. Whichever way they go, I would like to see a little more consistency from the referees.

          • Guest

            how is that a point? literally every single coach has complained about the refs? were not talking about complaints about reffing.

          • Lorehead

            Yes we are. As you just acknowledged, literally every single coach has made excuses, and some of them, such as Andonovski, have made the same excuses week after week.

          • ReignTrain

            Coaches have every right to complain about reffing because there have been stinkers all around this year. There has also been the fair share of rough travel and injuries and wanting better allocations and better fields but the end of the when you step on the field a team either performs or it doesn’t. It’s a tough, physical league, everyone acknowledges that. IMO the thorns have spent more time complaining about fields, travel ect when other teams have just gotten on with it.

          • Lorehead

            I don’t think that’s true.

          • ReignTrain

            Never said you had to. It’s my opinion and I don’t think i’m the only one who holds it.

          • Lorehead

            So far, I have been able to provide specific evidence for my position: every team makes excuses. You have not.

          • Calci0

            Don’t see where he said other teams didn’t…. Just one team did it more….

          • ReignTrain

            You really didn’t. You just said other coaches complain to. Which is true. I just think the thorns complain more. Given the depth and talent of the thorns I think there are teams who have basis to complain more and haven’t. Western new york flash didn’t use losing two starting goalkeepers as an excuse every week. The breakers weren’t incessantly complaining when they had to go on the road for a month because they couldn’t have there home field.

          • Lorehead

            I’m not going to start listing all the examples I could possibly find of coaches complaining about something or other, because that would take forever. Suffice it to say that, instead of providing any evidence that the Thorns do complain more, you said that was just your opinion. Not very convincing.

          • ReignTrain

            Strangely, I don’t really feel that big a need to convince you.

          • Lorehead

            Fair enough. I guess, since neither of us cares enough to tally who complains the most, we can both drop it and agree to disagree?

            What I personally suspect is going on is that Paul Riley actually has reporters show up at his practices and his postgame press conferences, so when he complains, you’re more likely to hear about it. It’s very likely that if you bought Randy Waldrum a beer twenty minutes after Sky Blue knocked him into last place, he’d have reasons why it wasn’t all his fault, too.

          • ladywing

            I agree with you about that.

          • ladywing

            And some commentator said this? It’s not a quote cause you don’t have a name.
            We are now relying on spam for our sources?
            Let us just let the game play out without more excuses from anybody.
            Especially people who don’t play.

          • Lorehead

            Dan Lauletta did not name his sources, but that was from one of his columns here.

          • ladywing

            My apologies to Dan Lauletta who never would have believed he’d be so misquoted.

          • Lorehead

            Here is the original article by Lauletta. You may judge for yourself whether he was misquoted or not.

          • Calci0

            Are you saying the team the Thorns started with this year was on par with the Reign team that started last year?!?

          • Lorehead

            It was actually missing more of its starters.

          • Calci0

            No Solo, No Rodriguez (ENTIRE season), No Rapinoe. That’s Zero of it’s US allocated players in the inaugural season. Having Sinclair alone at the beginning of this season I’d say helps. Along with the current Women’s POTY.

          • Lorehead

            I definitely agree that this year’s Thorns were better than last year’s Reign. In fact, they went into their first game with Seattle undefeated (despite themselves).

          • ladywing

            There is no point to what you posted.

          • NWSLwsofan

            actually chicago is the only team to have zero allocated players in its first year (save for what 60 minutes from boxx) for the entireeeeeeee year.

          • Steglitz49

            I thought Naho went and played in the Asian Cup also. As for Vero and Tobin, I don’t remember any of the Seattle players coming halfway through.

            Admittedly, last year Tobin also came from Paris but with devastating effect though you could argue that playing with her injured paw may have ended her career at the top.

          • Lorehead

            I’m talking Seattle’s 2013 season, but yes, and Pinoe was injured that day as well.

          • ladywing

            Facts are not excuses.

          • Lorehead

            It was equally a fact that Portland was a depleted team when it played Seattle the first time this season. Indeed, the situations were identical.

          • ladywing

            Every team has played at a “depleted” level.
            Why is it an issue only for the Thorns? We had players out but did not whine. Is that the difference?
            I think You doth protest too much.
            You lost, like we all do, at times.
            Get over it.

          • Lorehead

            You do not appear to be familiar with what I said at the time. My point stands: every depleted team uses that excuse, including Seattle one year ago.

          • Lorehead

            We’ve probably said all that it would be productive to say about whether, when my team or your team does it, that’s different. But an observation on “excuses” in general.

            The word excuse is a pejorative whose denotative meaning is something like, “a reason why an outcome is out of one’s control.” You seem to want to reserve it for explanations that you dislike, but that turns into a circular argument. (I dislike teams that make excuses, because when a team I like says the exact same thing, I don’t consider that an excuse!)

            A series of studies on male and female tennis players has investigated what happens after they lose the first set without scoring a point. It turns out that girls are more likely than boys to blame themselves, go back out with less self-confidence, and lose in straight sets, although at the professional level the difference disappears. Believing some other explanation than I’m not as good as her, i.e. making excuses, is actually the winners’ mentality. In fact, the group of people most realistic about their own abilities and mistakes is: people with depression.

            In one sense, though, I think there is a valid criticism of Riley there, compared to Harvey. Harvey blamed factors out of her control for her first season, then rebuilt the team because she realized it wasn’t good enough. Riley convinced himself that his team was about to turn the corner and his strategy was fine until it was too late to turn around.

          • Kevin

            The Reign improved in 2013 once Solo and Rapinoe joined the team, but the team still didn’t play particularly well. It’s record during its “recovery” after starting 0-9-1 wouldn’t have gotten it to the playoffs. Harvey was not effective improving the team much during the season. Same as Riley with the Thorns in 2014.

            The question will be whether Riley improves the team this offseason. The Reign turnaround has been remarkable. Thorns aren’t starting from as low as the 2013 Reign, so it will be up to Riley to make improvements.

          • Steglitz49

            Laura already had Ms Fishlock. She acquired Kim Little, Naho and Bev from abroad, and traded for Syd. Winters came through for her during the season. A smart lady.

            In a preseason friendly, Wolfsburg beat PSG 2-0. This Seattle can beat PSG and give the Shewolves a run for their money. Portland?

    • Guest

      Someone should tell Riley the field they played the semi-final in KC last year was much worse than this one. How’d that turn out for the Thorns?

  • nwslfan

    KC smart to wear white today and take IV fluids at halftime. KC smart to clog the midfield and look to shut down Vero, Great game plan and well executed. Congrates to KC.

    • Lala

      IV fluids at halftime??

      • Elaine

        That is the report, that FCKC players had IV fluids during halftime and apparently the Thorns players did not.

        http://espn.go.com/espnw/news-commentary/article/11398470/how-fc-kansas-city-shut-portland-thorns-fc-nwsl-semifinals

        • Lorehead

          I don’t know whether this is worth making a fuss about, but section 5.4 of the league rulebook says (emphasis added):

          DRINKS, ICE AND MISCELLANEOUS

          The Home Team will provide an identical set-up in each room; water, isotonic drink, tea bags, coffee, coffee maker, cream, sugar [....]

          • Elaine

            I think it would clear the air if someone from the Thorns org would state were there IV fluids available to them as well at halftime. If not, then you can clearly see the effects of the team’s effort in the second half, imo.

          • Lorehead

            Agreed. It’s not why the Thorns lost, but it’s unfair.

          • Steglitz49

            It is more than unfair. It is against the spirit of the game. If it is true, then the NWSL should award the match to Portland.

          • Lorehead

            More likely fine them “an unspecified amount.” No way will they open that can of worms.

          • Steglitz49

            Is IV fluids during a game allowed by FIFA?

            FIFA introduced drinks breaks during WC-14 but I have not heard about IV-fluids. Whatever next? Blood doping?

          • Rdalford

            News articles re World Cup in Brazil did discuss concerns over dehydration and use of IV’s to help address dehydration. Quick google search turns of Washington post article that discuses IV’s and USA team (article notes that most USA players did not need the IV’s) but not clear whether IV’s were to be used after the game (or at half time). There are some FIFA medical kit articles that also reference IV use for dehydration and IV stuff is to be included in medical kit (not clear to me if IV use is restricted to emergency or post game).

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you. That helps.

          • Lorehead

            (Via Rose City Soccer Press) They are banned by the U.S. anti-doping agency. The NWSL operations manual refers to a substance-abuse policy, but it is not available for download.

          • Steglitz49

            The same agency that polices swimming and cycling?

          • Lorehead

            The entire Olympics, in fact.

          • Lorehead

            Oh, and FIFA’s anti-doping policy uses the WADA’s list, and intravenous injections of more than 50 mL are on it.

          • Steglitz49

            We live in interesting times. Let’s trust that those in position of honor do their duty.

          • Lorehead

            Then I’m sure you’ll be glad to know that FIFA officially determined there is no doping in football.

          • Steglitz49

            Phew! What a relief!

            High time to break out the steroids, EPO and whatever floats your boat. Go for broke.

          • NYRick

            If this is true, which I’m not disputing and in fact KC had IV fluids available to them at halftime and Portland did not, then it IS a very big deal. Neither team should have that type of advantage. Whatever happened to water and good old Gatorade? I’m surprised Paulson isn’t all over this. Nothing to really do at this point, the match would never be forfeited back to Portland, but in the true spirit of things it is kind of unfair. Not the likely reason they lost, but in 140F, any edge you can get is a big one.

          • Steglitz49

            Paulson is more likely to cut a deal behind the scenes than have a public confrontation that he is unlikely to win.

            Whether the US doping agency wants to open an investigation is another matter.

          • Lorehead

            For what it’s worth, the official justification for banning IV fluids is not that they give an unfair advantage, but that they can interfere with drug tests and aren’t medically advised.

          • nwslfan

            Thorns could have made similar arrangements, no?

          • Elaine

            Don’t know if they knew it was allowed or what. Certainly last year in the semis, it was not used by either teams as it would have been known by then. At this point just waiting for the league to clarify the rules on using IV fluids midway in the game. Was this method of hydrating used in other NWSL games, say the games played in Houston with their heat? And I am just as curious to know if Thorns staff knew about it beforehand and did not prepare.

          • Lorehead

            As you say, we don’t know what the NWSL’s position is or the full details of what happened, but presumably Jen Buczkowski would not have talked to a reporter about it on the record had she known it was banned by the WADA, or if the team had told her to keep it secret.

          • Elaine

            Could be Jen Buczkowski didn’t know it’s banned or the league didn’t know that teams are using it. Perhaps it is not the first time that KC was doing this, who knows? Maybe other teams use this method too, who knows? But someone from the league needs to clarify.

          • necron99

            Or you could see the effects of a team trying to high pressure another team that was passing the ball around and making them chase.

          • Elaine

            By all accounts, the first half was played evenly between both teams. By the middle of the second half, the Thorns “melted” as some posters suggested, while KC had something extra. If KC players had IV fluids at the half for hydration purposes and the Thorns players didn’t, wouldn’t that be an effect also.

          • Rdalford

            Not sure that our medical staff is recommending that we make IV’s available due to heat would fall under the referenced “drinks, ice and miscellaneous” clause.
            Certainly if Portland medical staff requested IV setup and it was not provided there would be an issue,

            In ideal world perhaps medical ethics would have the two medical staffs sharing strategies for dealing with extreme hot conditions since clearly some medical staff thought that having IV’s available was a good option.

          • Lorehead

            “And miscellaneous.” The rule goes on to specify things like a whiteboard, markers and chairs, and it says “an identical set-up.” If the Thorns turned the IVs down, that’s one thing, but if the home team only made them available to their own side, that violates at least the spirit of the rule, and probably its letter.

          • Steglitz49

            As Rdalford types, the medical staff should have discussed the matter beforehand (and maybe they did).

          • Steglitz49

            FIFA would do well in spelling it out for WC-15.

            As a curiosity how much does it cost to give iv-fluids? It may not be as much as you get charged for by a hospital but it can’t be cheap either.

      • nwslfan

        KC learned from last year + took a page from Brazil WC on the importance of hydration.

  • Silver Frost

    140F on the plastic pitch. Great. When it hits 90 in New England and I have to do yard work, I do so in the shade and it still feels like slow motion. The heat saps your energy. But it was 50 degrees hotter on that pitch. There is no way that Portland residents are going to give a great performance in those conditions. KC players were seasoned to it. You could tell after halftime that Thorns were suffering. Morgan and Sinc had nothing. NWSL should be ashamed for marketing such a shoddy lunatic product risking people’s lives (fans and players) for a soccer game.

    When KC plays Seattle for the title, the weather will not be a factor for either team, as it should be. It’s about fairness.

    • D23

      KC won the right to play in those conditions. Portland had the opportunity to win the right to play at home but were not good enough. There is nothing wrong with the principle of the weather being a factor, and that weather favouring one team when both teams had the opportunity to compete for that advantage. That being said there is also an issue of safety, which for me is a separate issue. If it was too hot for anyone to play they should not have played. However, if it was safe and one team is better in the heat because they are more used to it and they won the right to play there then there is nothing wrong with that. That’s not unfair. It’s reward for a better season.

    • Calci0

      So when an NFC west team plays the NY Giants or Packers in the playoffs in NY/GB in the snow and cold…… The game should actually be moved to a dome?!?

      • Lorehead

        Los Ticos should get free tickets.

    • nony

      *Tiny Violin plays*

    • guest

      Friendly reminder that it was ESPN that set the time slot and that regardless of being accustomed to the heat in KC or not, both teams had to play on the same surface and were suffering from the same elements.

    • Steglitz49

      Seattle has yet to beat DC, I believe. Or, have I missed something?

    • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

      Even though 90+ degree weather is common in Kansas in the summer, I wouldn’t say that the KC players were seasoned to it. It has been an incredibly mild summer in Kansas City with no extreme heat until this week. They would have only had a few more practices than Portland in these conditions. This was the first really hot game in KC this year – this season has been very pleasant – much cooler than last season.

  • SBfan

    Why wasn’t the game played at a later start? 8 pm or such would have improved the heat index conditions greatly and been fairer for players and spectators alike. Answer probably lies with ESPN scheduling – take it or leave it NWSL and they did – just like the 11pm start here in the east tomorrow – that will increase viewers and bring amazing numbers of fans to the league in the future!!!

    • Lorehead

      ESPN, which broadcast the game, picked the start time.

      • Rdalford

        Same ESPN who is now reporting on how hot the conditions on the field were and the extra lengths the players/teams went (shoes in ice buckets during cooling breaks, IV’s at half-time, etc) to try and cope with these adverse conditions. Also same ESPN who does not acknowledge in those articles that time (noon in 95+ degree temp) was chosen by ESPN.

        I know the NWSL does not draw enough viewers to dictate times to ESPN but I do hope that NWSL learns (not news that artificial turf gets extremely hot in the sun, also not news that KC in August at noon is hot) from this and negotiates some health/safety clause to avoid having to try to play under these extremely hot conditions.

  • Guest

    Can we talk about how many turnovers Heath has a game? Her and tymrak have essentially the same skill set except Tymrak actually gets stuff done.

    • Steglitz49

      Ms Tymrak got injured playing on loan in Munich — on grass to boot. Is the lady injury-prone? If so, it might be too high a risk for a WC-campaign with an extra round compared to the last one.

    • dude

      hey you must be another loser heath nutmeged.

  • Gemma Seymour

    Starfire?! WTF? Are you sure about that? It had better not be at Starfire; it had better be at Memorial.

    • Lorehead

      Yes, if Seattle wins, the final will be at Starfire. Sorry.

      • ladywing

        Yes, but even Harry Potter cannot whip up another venue.
        Many have tried.

        • Lorehead

          For what it’s worth, even the Sounders, the most successful soccer team in the U.S., has to play with gridiron lines when the Seahawks tell them to. And they played the early rounds of the U.S. Open Cup in Starfire themselves.

        • Steglitz49

          They could always move the match to Portland’s ground. It seats 20,000.

          • Lorehead

            Hell, the Thorns don’t need it anymore.

    • Forgedias

      Memorial is booked with a concert at that date. Sucks, but there isn’t much the Reign can do about it.

  • VaFan51

    I am not much of a fan of Julie Foudy’s work as a game commentator/analyst — she does not do her homework and never says anything insightful or original She is adorably genial, but today included variations on “yeah, it’s hot out there, but I texted Anson Dorrance…”

    I kinda understand not biting the hand that feeds you, but pretending that the conditions were acceptable for championship-level woso was embarrassing. Failing to mention that ESPN, her employer, was responsible was embarrassing. An objective broadcast journalist would have been far more critical of the conditions and would have at least mentioned the reasons a women’s league that aspires to be the best in the world is hosting a league semi-final on plastic pitch in 100 degree weather in KC in the middle of an August afternoon.

    Remember that this is the same Julie Foudy who led the WNT’s campaign for better pay in the Olympics years ago. But now she shills for ESPN.

    Even as the NWSL winds down and WC qualifying looms, current woso players are organizing and sticking their necks out to criticize FIFA over the WC turf issue. And does an influential former WNT leader have their backs, maybe pointing out that the playoff game in front of her face is being played on plastic heated to 120+ degrees and that is just plain wrong? No, she does not.

    Shame on you, Julie Foudy. You used to be a leader. Now you are just loud.

    • guest

      She was pretty biased towards the Thorns, but her twitter gives that away. I highly doubt we’ll be hearing her sing Little’s praise the way she was rambling on and on about Vero.

    • Lorehead

      A lot of problems in women’s soccer exist because the teams can’t afford better. Calling attention to them in a national broadcast, when FCKC can’t do anything about them, would not be helpful or constructive.

      A mea culpa about ESPN scheduling the game when it did would have been very brave of her.

    • Lala

      I appreciated a few of the insightful things she said, but preferred Tony D. when he commentated on U20– for the coach’s viewpoint.

    • Forgedias

      Look your fixation with the plastic pitches is only becoming a broken record. We know you hate turf pitches, we know you don’t like it, talk about something more relevant. Just remember most of the pitches that the NWSL play on are on turf pitches, and some like Boston and Chicago play on hard turf pitches which we all agree sucks, but the pitches that Portland, Seattle and Kansas City have are actually pretty decent pitches. Whether you can agree with that. It isn’t going to change any time soon until you see some stadiums built in those locals and how long did MLS take before they started their stadium projects. A good 10 years.

      Lay off the plastic pitches and focus on the soccer on hand and if you don’t like the game, then stop watching it. No one is forcing you,

    • fanfrom1995

      I agree about Foudy; she is genial but bland. I prefer Kate Markgraf, who will actually analyze and critique a play, and sometimes a player.

    • wosofan

      Great post. Both Foudy and the play by play should have pointed out that KC never plays games at noon in the regular season, and that this was driven by ESPN.

      Also, Foudy is terrible and predictable as an announcer. She’s just not that intelligent.

  • Guest

    Even though I’m not a man of the Thorns organization I absolutely love Vero. She’s a class act on and off the field.

  • sweetjazz3

    What a virtuoso performance by Holiday. FCKC had one bad turnover in the first half around the 28th minute iirc that I think was due to Holiday (would have to go back and check to be sure), but otherwise she was so solid the whole game. And as the game wore on, she found more and more space and seemed to make the optimal decision with the ball 9 out of 10 times she touched it.

    She may not be the best in the world in any one skill, but she has really refined her game to be very good in all phases of the game — vision, technical skill, spacing, fitness. Very cerebral, very unselfish, and very dedicated.

    (In fairness, Sauerbrunn also played a great game. However, great defense, while just as important as great midfield play, is not as easy to get excited about watching.)

    • Lala

      Yes, so true about Holiday. And to think she was player of the match just a few days before vs Switzerland, wow. Complete player in so many areas, as you said…(though I had never thought about “cerebral”). So great to see such combination play. Corners. Free kicks. DM. What doesn’t she do.

      This opinion brought to you by a Thorns fan.

  • Rdalford

    Nice “How did FC KC shut down Portland Thorns” article by Graham Hays up on ESPNW site that credits Buczkowski’s defense on Vero as one key component of the defense. Also praises Holiday. Good read.

    • http://www.mehlsbells.wordpress.com/ Melanie

      ESPN is competently covering the NWSL? Even if it is a game they broadcast, and in their ‘W’ section . . . I’m going to need my fainting couch.

  • Lindsay

    Two things I saw/ think that people may not agree with. I think Portland missed Karina Leblanc this season. I feel she provided a lightness energetic feel to the team that they had last year (not saying they didn’t have problems or taking anything away from Nadine Anger). And I feel this most I have ever seen Alex non existent or a non factor. Which I guess reflects what Vlatko said when her tried to neutralize Vero. And Portland did look good in the first half.

  • Steglitz49

    We only need 3 (<1%) more comments in addition to this to get above the 300 mark.

  • NYRick

    BTW, the players may have started a new Ice Bucket Challenge at halftime of this game. Submerging both feet with socks and soccer shoes fully on in a large ice bucket to combat playing on a 140 degree plastic surface.

  • luke

    Alex Morgan, Christine Sinclair, Tobin Heath, Veronica Boquete.

    ONE shot on goal in semifinal game.

    Good job Paul Riley.

  • wosofan

    The reason Holiday is so much better w FCKC than WNT is that her club teammates actually make sure she gets the ball a lot. On WNT, we have Pinoe and Lloyd trying to do their own thing too much.

    In other news, can this performance mark the end of Buehler’s WNT career? Thank her for her service and move on. If Christie and Brunn are injured in the WC, I’d worry if Buehler was there as a backup.

    • sweetjazz3

      The sad thing is that many of Holiday’s touches result in quick passes that leave her teammates with more space to operate. If you pass her the ball and run to a good attacking space, there’s a high probability that Holiday is going to send the ball right back to you and — voila — you’ve just created a much more dangerous opportunity.

    • Titi14

      I don’t think this performance marks the end of her WNT career? She just came back from concussion and given the season she has had , injured early in the season for most games, comes back and get injured again- she was never 100% this season. A 100% fit RVH is a great defender. She may not have pace but she knows how to defend.

      With Rampone, SBruun as starters than you got JJ, Engen and may be Kreieger who can play that role. I still believe she is 3rd in the line before those two.
      While she is not the quick , she has managed to cover her lack of speed for over 100 games for NT and for throughout her life. She is still under 30 as well so is not that old.

  • wosofan

    When will Andonovski get proper praise for his astute tactical flexibility? The key move was starting Mathias in midfield and dropping a forward. Mathias did work on the right to limit Catley’s service from the left flank. Mathias is also extremely fit and was a perfect selection. Also Buz and Richmond were assigned to cover Vero, and Holiday and Tymrak were more free to transition quickly into the attack.

    Now I believe Hagen could’ve done the striker job better than ARod, but Vlatko’s genius was bringing in Mathias for one of the two starting strikers.

    Also the heat was terrible, and totally caused by ESPN. Don’t blame the KC organization for poor field conditions. Should have been played at 8pm local time.

    • sweetjazz3

      Even though I think Hagan is a better striker than ARod in a vacuum, ARod was a better fit for this game because of her threat to stretch the field. That is what gave Holiday so much room to operate in the midfield, especially in the second half as Portland became more fatigued.

      There is also an argument to be made that the first goal does not happen without the chemistry between Holiday and ARod that has developed during their extensive time playing with each other.

    • Titi14

      I don’t think so they dropped a forward. they always play 4-2-3-1 and the times they had to play with 2 strikers up forward- they have not clicked as they don’t have the luxury of 2 DM.

      the heat factor oviously did not help as Thorns tired in the 2nd half and spaces begin to open. It looked so empty and barren , the field looked empty and looked like an amateur football tournament going on. If it was played in the evening, I believe the Thorns would have pressed all game and given more of a game.

    • Lorehead

      No disrespect to Mathias: Catley was injured. In fact, she was announced as questionable when the injury list was read, while she was in the starting lineup.

  • Osol

    Man I would love to see the US play a 4-2-3-1. But that would require 2 real DM and have Holiday play in that center. I don’t like when the play her as a DM, and this match just proved why she shouldn’t

    • Steglitz49

      Try Moe Brian and Amber Brooks or JJ.

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