Portland Thorns route Orlando Pride in first of many on the road

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Orlando, Florida (April 16, 2019) — With the construction of new seats and upgrades to Providence Park, the Portland Thorns FC will be on the road for their first six NWSL matches.

Portland’s first of six road games started on Sunday with a trip to Orlando, Florida. The Thorns opened up their NWSL season against the Orlando Pride, in front of 7,189 fans. Meanwhile, the Pride begin their season with a new head coach in Marc Skinner.

Portland Thorns route Orlando Pride in first of many on the road

The Thorns came crashing into Orlando City Stadium looking for an opening weekend win. They found that with a 2-0 victory. Caitlin Foord and Tobin Heath connected throughout the whole match, as they each had a goal and an assist.

Foord found the back of Ashlyn Harris’ net first, in the 45th minute. Tobin Heath and Christine Sinclair tallied assists on the goal. However, in the 49th minute, Heath found the back of the net on a back-heel goal, assisted by Foord.

Meanwhile, the Pride had minimal chances at home. Out of 15 total shots, only two found themselves on target to threaten Thorns goalkeeper Adrianna Franch. Marta and Alex Morgan registered the two chances on goal.

After the match, Skinner simply mentioned that it wasn’t good enough from the Pride.

“We had a better second half, still not good enough,” Skinner said. “That’s nothing against players, that’s nothing personal, that’s nothing me telling that the players aren’t good enough, that’s me saying as a team, as a collective, we were not good enough in that game and it’s the reason we lost. It’s just as simple as that.”

Meanwhile, defender Carson Pickett said that opening up against Portland was tough.

“I think that going forward if we can play on of the best teams to begin with we know the areas we need to work on,” Pickett said. “We didn’t deserve that game, there’s a lot of things that we can do better, but it’s all about moving forward now.”

Three Takeaways

  1. Pride have a good understanding: After the match, Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris went on a no-holds barred analysis of the match. Harris said that the team needs to do better for their coach, fans and city — but especially their coach, due to the sacrifices he made coming to Orlando. The fact that the players actually want to do well for the man in charge is a good understanding of a solid relationship between the players and technical staff.
  2. Shots need to be threatening: Adrianna Franch is a really good goalkeeper. Not much is getting past her. However, Stephanie Labbé is a whole different kind of goalkeeper and on a bit of a higher level. When facing Labbé and the North Carolina Courage, you can’t have 15 shots and only two of them register on goal. The Pride need to be a better finishing team in the final third.
  3. Portland’s road trip: Unlike their brother club, the Portland Timbers, the Thorns don’t really have a long stretch on the road. Six games might seem like a lot, but in comparison, the Timbers are on the road for their first 12 matches of the season. The Thorns are hoping for a better start to their season, as the Timbers have one draw and five-straight losses.

What’s Next?

  • For the Pride: It’s a quick turnaround for Orlando and a trip to Cary, North Carolina. The Pride will face the reigning NWSL champions, the North Carolina Courage, on Wednesday. The match will begin at 7 p.m. ET.
  • For the Thorns: Another road trip finds the Portland Thorns in the Midwest. Portland will take on the Chicago Red Stars at SeatGeek Stadium on Saturday. The match will begin at 3:30 p.m. ET.

As for the Pride’s quick turnaround, Harris said that the Pride have nowhere to go but up.

“I think that when a few of our players get healthy, we had a few missing pieces and credit to people stepping up last minute, but it has to get better, it will get better,” Harris said. “Whether it’s two days, whether it’s 24 hours, we need to self reflect and we need to be better and my hope is that we come out. What a better way to bounce back? I hate waiting when I feel the way I feel right now, to have to wait another week to play a game is really difficult, so to be able to let that out in two days, that’s good for us.”


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