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Alex Morgan is Gone and Portland Thorns Fans are to Blame

Thursday, November 05, 2015

 

Alex Morgan, left.

It’s all your fault, Rose City Riveters and all you Portland Thorns fans. The face of U.S. women’s soccer, the cover girl of EA Sports FIFA 16, and one of the most recognizable athletes in all of sports, Alex Morgan, is no longer with the Portland Thorns, and it’s all your fault. Because of your relentless support and record-setting attendance, Portland was able to give in to the request of its most recognizable player, sacrificing star power in favor of gathering more talent and potential to make the Thorns a better team. Much better.

Last week, the Thorns finalized a trade that sent Alex Morgan (and Kaylyn Kyle) to the expansion team Orlando Pride. For receiving Morgan, the Pride gave Portland the first pick in Monday’s expansion draft in which the Thorns selected Meghan Klingenberg, a top-tier defender who was vital to the U.S. National Team’s World Cup success where she started in every match and played every minute on defense. The Thorns also received the first pick in the College Draft and an international roster spot. It was a no-brainer of a trade for Portland and it would not have been possible without the Thorns fan base and their unyielding support.

Only a team like the Portland Thorns could have traded away soccer’s most marketable player and not worry about their popularity. Only a team like Portland, that has no difficulties filling in seats, averaging over 15,000 in attendance per game, not even flinch at making this trade. Only a team like Portland could make this trade with full knowledge that their fanbase recognizes exactly the kind of deal they are getting in return. While Alex Morgan deserves every bit of her status as a star in her sport, the fact is she was mostly absent last season due to nagging injuries and her commitment to the International Team’s march to World Cup glory. Alex may have been the Thorns most recognizable name, but she was barely around.  

Klingenberg will be a great addition to this team along with the infusion of other young talent they should receive from the result of this trade. The Thorns should be playoff contenders again and not only that, they should be contenders to host a playoff game or two, something that hasn’t happened yet in the short history of this franchise. Portland doesn’t need name recognition anymore to put fans in the seats. Portland is in position now where it needs to win games to keep the interest of its fans. Portland is here to win championships, not to be just another sideshow to the International Team.

Orlando, on the other hand, needs a player like Alex Morgan to draw in new fans for a new team. Orland isn’t looking for game wins as much as attendance wins this coming season. With any luck, Morgan will return to hundred percent the player she was before her injuries, which would be a major bonus for the Pride, and there is every indication she could be that player again. Morgan is young, only 26, and if she can get over her recent injury woes, she could be THAT superstar again.

Portland sent a message loud and clear to their fans what kind of team they want to be; it wants to win titles and is willing to make a few sacrifices to get there. While we are all sad to see Morgan go - she was a class act and a great ambassador for the Thorns even when she wasn’t able to play - this trade is great news for fans who want to see this team get better and keep winning for a long time to come. This was the organization’s way of making the same kind of commitment to the team that the fans have made these past few years.

So, congratulations, Thorns fans, you helped trade away one of the most popular names in women’s soccer for a name far lesser known but who help your team immensely. You had a hand in helping accomplish a trade that only a team with a successful fanbase could complete. Because of you, Thorns fans, you have escalated your team for years to come. Because of your support, you may very well be rewarded with another NWSL championship in the near future. Few fan bases can elevate a team as much as Thorns fans have elevated theirs. The Portland Thorns don’t need superstars on the field, they have nearly 15,000 in the stands every night.

 

Related Slideshow: Oregon’s Most Devastating Sports Injuries

Here is GoLocalPDX's list of Oregon's most devastating injuries that have occured within the past 10 years.

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Greg Oden

Sept. 2007 — Micro fracture surgery on right knee

Dec. 2009 — Fractured left patella 

Nov. 2010 — Micro fracture surgery on left knee

Dec. 2011 — Arthroscopic surgery on right knee

Unfortunately, Trail Blazer fans everywhere already know how drafting Greg Oden over Kevin Durant worked out for their team. After being be the #1 selection in the 2007 NBA Draft, Oden was never able to play a full season due to ongoing knee injuries. The team eventually waived him in March of 2012.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
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Dennis Dixon

Nov. 2007 — Torn left ACL

During the 2007 season Dixon had the Oregon Ducks as the #2 team in the country. That was until he suffered a torn ACL against Arizona State and attempted to play on it the following week against Arizona. After Dixon went down for the season the Ducks lost their remaining two regular season games. Fortunately, they were able to end their season on a high note with a victory over South Florida in the 2007 Sun Bowl.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
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Brandon Roy

Sept. 2008 — Cartilage removed from left knee

April 2010 — Meniscus tear in right knee

Jan. 2011 — Arthroscopic surgery on both knees

Brandon Roy is perhaps one of the most beloved Trail Blazers in the history of the franchise. After being drafted in 2006, and leading the team out of the "Jail-Blazer" era, he had to make the tough decision to retire at the young age of 28. His degenerative knees prevented Rip City from seeing their superstar ever play to his full potential.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
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Jacquizz Rodgers

Nov. 2008 — Grade II separation of the acromioclavicular joint

During the second to last game in 2008 Jacquizz Rodgers suffered a separated shoulder that ended his season. Unfortunately, this meant that he wasn't able to play in the Civil War, which was perhaps the biggest game of the year for the Beavers. If the Beavers had been able to defeat the Ducks they would've been able to book their tickets to play in the Rose Bowl. Instead, they went to the Sun Bowl where they defeated the Pittsburgh Panthers.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
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James Rodgers

Oct. 2009 — Torn left ACL

After participating in only 4 games during the 2009 season Rodgers went down with a torn ACL while playing against #9 Arizona. This couldn't have come at a worse time for Rodgers considering he was expected to have a breakout season. Rodgers, who was a senior at the time, was able to end his career at Oregon State as the career leader in all-purpose yards.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
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Joel Pryzbilla

Dec. 2009 — Ruptured right patella tendon and dislocated patella

In December of 2009 the Trail Blazers' backup center, Joel Pryzbilla, was lost for the season with a ruptured and dislocated patella. This was a huge blow to the Trailblazers' frontcourt because they had already lost Oden for the season a few weeks before. Pryzbilla was also the team's defensive anchor who provided an inside presence. "The Vanilla Gorilla" was sorely missed for the rest of the year.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropepd)
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LaMichael James

Oct. 2011 — Dislocated right elbow

The 2011 season couldn't have started any better for LaMichael James. After the first game James became Oregon's career rushing leader, surpassing Derek Loville. During the second game he rushed for over 200 yards against Missouri State. Unfortunately, James' year was slowed by a dislocated elbow suffered against Cal. Luckily for Duck fans he was able to return to end the season.

Photo via Facebook (image cropped)
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Nate Costa

Nov. 2010 —Torn Right ACL

After suffering a multitude of knee injuries throughout his career at Oregon Costa was forced to officially retire from football after tearing his ACL for the third time in agame against Washington. Although Costa's career was hobbled by injuries many of his teammates looked to him as their leader. Oregon's coaching staff referred to Costa as the "heart and soul" of the 2010 team that won the Rose Bowl.

Photo via Addictedtoquack (image cropped)
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Sean Mannion

Oct. 2012 — Torn Left Meniscus

During the beginning of the 2012-2013 season, Sean Mannion was enjoying one of his best as a Beaver. Unfortunately, he tore his left meniscus against Washington State that resulted in him missing around half the season. With Mannion leading the way the Beavers had the Pac-12's fourth rated offense, averaging 459.5 yeards per game. With Mannion sidelined Cody Vaz became the starting quarterback

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
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Marcus Mariota

Oct. 2013 — Partial MCL Tear

Marcus Mariota is widely regarded as one of the greatest Oregon Duck quarterbacks to ever play at Autzen. Unfortunately a knee injury hobbled his sophomore season. After Mariota suffered a partial MCL tear against UCLA he conintued to play the remainder of the season. With Mariota's knee not allowing him to be as mobile as he was accustomed to teams were able to take advantage. In the weeks following the injury the Ducks suffered losses to Stanford and Arizona. Duck fans everywhere would like to know what that season woud've loked like if Mariota had stayed healthy.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
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CJ McCollum

Oct. 2013 — Broken fifth Metatarsal In Left Foot

After being taken 10th overall during the 2013 NBA Draft the shooting guard out of Lehigh wasn't able to start his career the way many had hoped. After breaking the fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot the rookie wasn't able to take the court until January of 2014. Before the injury McCollum was in consideration for playing time behind Lillard. 

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
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Alex Morgan

Oct. 2013 — Stress reaction in talus bone

During the 2013 season Morgan suffered an injury that doctors misdiagnosed as a mildly sprained ankle. After a few additional tests were performed it turned out that Morgan had suffered a far more serious injury. She actually suffered a stress reaction in the talus bone that put her immediate future with Team USA in question. After rehabbing for 7 months Morgan was able to make a full recovery.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
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Bralon Addison

April 2014 — Torn left ACL

After exceeding expectations as a freshman and sophomore at the University of Oregon Addison was expecting big things from his junior year. Unfortunately, Addison suffered a torn ACL during last year's spring practice that kept him sidelined the entire year. Without Addison in the lineup the receiving core never lived up to their full potential. If he had been able to play this season the National Championship may have wielded a different outcome.

Photo via Facebook (image cropped)
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Ifo Ekpre-Olomu

Dec. 2014 — Torn ACL

In preparation for the first ever college football playoffs Ekpre-Olomu ended up tearing his ACL during a routine practice. This was a huge blow to the Ducks considering Ekpre-Olomu was one of the team's better defenders. He was also one of the best corners in the country who many analysists expected to be selected as high as the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
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Wesley Matthews

March 2015 — Torn left achilles

Just 2 months before Matthews suffered a torn achilles he had become the Trailblazers' all-time leader in 3-point field goals made. It looked as though the Trailblazers were poised to make a deep playoff run. Things took a drastic turn when Matthews was lost for the season. With the team in a 0-2 hole against the Memphis Grizzlies it doesn't look as though they will be making it to the second round of the playoffs this year.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
 
 

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