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Portland Thorns Show Why The West is Best

Monday, April 20, 2015


Photo by J.R. Taylor

The Thorns had their way with the Western New York Flash on Saturday. Despite the absence of play from Forward, Alex Morgan, Portland still looked terriffic. Allie Long stepped up big for the Thorns, and Tobin Heath still managed to add valuable minutes, despite her commitment to the National Team.

Early on, the Flash displayed a lot of speed that added an unexpected threat to the overlooked NWSL match. Sydney Leroux and Lynn Williams were the Flash's primary source of quickness, and kept the Thorns defenders honest all night. Thorns goalkeeper, Nadine Angerer held a lot of confidence in her backline despite the pressure.

“I think we played very well even if we had pressure,” Angerer said. “We were very calm, stayed calm and had a lot of confidence. We just kept the ball and that’s very positive.”

However, the Thorns still played on a completely different level. Prior to the starting whistle, fans throughout Providence Park mimicked, “You can tell who is going to win based on both teams posture.” The Flash showed up looking like defeat was inevitable.

The only goal of the night came in the 22nd minute of play. The beautiful header goal by Allie Long was delivered on a silver platter via fellow Midfielder, Sinead Farrelly. This was Long’s third goal in the first two games for the Thorns. Quite the start for Midfielder, Allie Long. Long has given Portland confidence in this team as the imminent departure of Alex Morgan approaches.

“As soon as Sinead put her head up I made a run up behind Whitney [Engen],” Long said. “I saw the goalie run forward so I just tried to flick it on her and hopefully it went on target and went in.”

To start Saturday afternoon, Alex Morgan was dressed for the bench. Her stylist was on point. Morgan spent the entire night on the bench for the Thorns, resting for FIFA play with the U.S. Women’s National Team.

Following the score, the Flash spent the remainder of the match playing catch up. Multiple attempt were made by New York’s speedy forwards, but the Flash had trouble finishing. The strong backline of Portland proved to be too much for their East Coast opponents.

When the clock struck 90, the Thorns sealed their second consecutive victory. Portland has won it’s first two regular season matches, and show no signs of stopping. This very talented team has a lot of potential, but it’s a long season, and there is still room for much needed improvement according to Head Coach, Paul Riley.

“The one thing is consistency. We talked about it most of preseason and we talked about our process of being consistent,” Riley said. “so in practice making sure the practices are at the same level every day and whether it’s Tuesday or Thursday that the practices are at a high level and then taking it into the games whether you’re home or away, whether you’re on a 120-by-75 field or a 60-by-90 field just to be able to have that same consistency no matter what the field type is, no matter what the weather conditions are, no matter what team we’re playing and that’s a challenge to all the players.”

The Thorns play their first away-game this Saturday against the Chicago Red Stars. The Thorns and Red Stars tied in all three of their matches last season. Chicago won their season opener Saturday against the Seattle Reign in a 3-2 battle to the whistle. Both teams approach Saturday with a flawless record, and neither team will be willing to give that up easily.

Look to GoLocalPDX for all updates, news, and juicy info on Portland’s favorite women’s soccer team.


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