The Portland Thorns’ first assembly towards growth group Racing Louisville FC shall be one to recollect – a minimum of for Thorns supporters.
In entrance of a half-full Providence Park, the Thorns cruised previous Louisville 3-0 Saturday evening with barrage of pictures, and targets from Lindsey Horan, Rocky Rodriguez and Angela Salem.
“Really complete, high-energy, fun, entertaining performance,” Thorns coach Mark Parsons stated. “I love watching our team just in training, love watching them play games, but tonight our principals and our personality were all on show. I’m really proud of the group and it’s a nice way to go into a FIFA break.”
Horan sealed the rout for the Thorns within the 77th minute, scoring with the assistance of sneaky feint from Simone Charley.
From effectively outdoors the field, Horan lofted what appeared like a cross for Charley, who leapt by way of the air for the header, however the ball continued previous her. As Louisville goalkeeper Michelle Betos turned her focus to Charley, Horan’s ball bounced into the online untouched.
Rodriguez scored her first objective of the yr within the forty eighth minute. Horan dribbled her method into the field from the left flank and crossed in entrance of objective. Rodriguez took a one-touch left-footed shot, effectively out of attain for Betos. It was Rodriguez’s tenth objective within the NWSL.
“The ball came through, I just saw the little window and took a leap of faith running forward,” Rodriguez stated, smiling. “(Horan) just knew someone was going to be there and it happened to be me. It’s always so cool to score in Providence Park for our fans and for our team.”
Salem opened scoring within the eighth minute. An tried clearance discovered the ft of Salem, who took her likelihood from simply outdoors the field, and her low, skipping shot deflected off a defender’s leg, catching Betos going the flawed method.
The objective was Salem’s second of her NWSL profession. Her first got here in 2016 when she performed for Sky Blue FC.
“It’s actually funny because yesterday a similar occasion happened at training yesterday and I didn’t shoot and my team yelled at me,” Salem stated, laughing. “So, it was really that it opened up again, the same opportunity, so I shot it. Wasn’t expecting it to be a goal and just really excited. My teammates were really excited for me.”
The Thorns had a lot extra probabilities, however Betos saved her aspect within the recreation, making seven saves in simply the primary half alone. She completed the evening with 10 saves, an unusually excessive tally.
In the twenty seventh minute, Crystal Dunn lofted a twisting shot off the crossbar, and Morgan Weaver acquired on the tip of the rebound, however Betos did effectively to react rapidly and block it.
In the thirty third minute, Meghan Klingenberg fired an extended cross to the pinnacle of Charley, however once more Betos did effectively to learn it and batted it away with one hand.
Betos made one other massive save within the 66th minute. Horan swept a cross towards objective with a one-time inside-the-foot shot, however Betos made a diving save to smother it.
Betos performed for the Thorns from 2014 to 2017, successful NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year in 2015. She went overseas earlier than returning to the NWSL, the place she performed for the Seattle Reign earlier than being chosen by Louisville within the growth draft.
The Thorns had been with out Christine Sinclair, who was away on worldwide responsibility, and Rodriguez performed extra of a two-way position within the midfield than the holding position she is usually tasked with.
“I can play other positions but the No. 8 is the one that I feel more like myself,” Rodriguez stated. “So, today I had the opportunity to play there and I just told myself to enjoy it. I had a little bit more freedom and I can be more creative with the ball, off the ball, join the attack, so I had a blast.”
Racing Louisville had a tough journey to Portland for Saturday’s recreation. Bad climate induced prepare and airplane delays, and gamers didn’t arrive at their Portland resort till about 24 hours after that they had left Lynn Family Stadium in Kentucky.
For the Thorns, it was a aid to play at dwelling after a stretch that Parsons referred to as “the worst schedule I’ve seen” in his 9 years within the NWSL. The Thorns needed to play three video games in an eight-day stretch, which included lengthy journeys to Florida and New Jersey ending final week. They misplaced the primary two video games, however gained their third.
Sophia Smith was unavailable Saturday because of accidents she picked up on that highway journey, Parsons stated.
“Sophie had some small issues coming back from the trip — well, everyone did, because it was a brutal and ridiculous schedule,” Parsons stated earlier than including: “I think this will be a one-week or two-week thing, as long as everyone takes care of it, U.S. Soccer and Portland. If we work together, she’ll be fine.”
The Thorns welcomed a crowd capped at 50% capability at Providence Park due to Multnomah County transferring to the “lower risk” class for COVID-19 publicity. The stadium will open to 80% capability on June 19 for each Timbers and Thorns video games with proof of vaccination required for attendees.
Saturday was the Thorns’ first time dealing with Racing Louisville, which is taking part in its first season within the NWSL after being awarded an growth slot in late 2019. The membership was initially to be named Proof Louisville FC, a nod to Kentucky bourbon, however fan outcry prompted a change to the Racing title, which pays homage to Kentucky’s horse-racing tradition.
Up subsequent, the Thorns shall be off for the worldwide break, which is able to embrace the U.S. girls’s nationwide group internet hosting Portugal on June 10 within the run-up the Olympics. The Thorns return to motion June 20, once they host Kansas City.
We at all times speak about about Portland’s requirements,” Rodriguez stated. “We wish to win the whole lot however to win the whole lot you need to take it one recreation at a time. With the FIFA window coming and with this match ending, we’ve to deal with recovering and no matter comes subsequent.