Can We Play You Every Week?

It’s tempting to give Amandine WOTM for her efforts, but my gimlet-eyed appraisal hands the award to Hayley Raso. She had the run of the entire Boston defense, created great chances for her teammates (and fluffed a couple herself), and was still pushing hard in stoppage time. By the numbers, in addition to the eight fouls suffered, her meaningful positive-to-negative touch ratio was 22:5, evenly split between the halves.

In only 76 minutes, Christine Sinclair posted a touch ratio of 22:0 and had a good chance on goal about every 15 minutes all game long. Nadia Nadim posted 10:1 in the first half and 4:1 in second. As per usual, she took all the free kicks and corners with only one going astray. She also had a nifty chip move in the 20th minute that skunked Westphal and led to a corner kick.

In the midfield, Lindsey Horan (23:3) shone again. She has really come into her own as a Thorn these past few games. Hopefully this is the “new normal” Horan because she’s been great. Amandine Henry (11:3) had her best game as a Thorn in the attacking central midfield role. She’s played that spot before but not to this effect. And, of course, scoring one-and-a-half goals is good too. Allie Long (15:3), back from injury, had a quiet but effective game in the defensive midfield spot. As is her wont, she was pushed far forward late in the match with a decent look in the 72nd and then involved in a chaotic play in the 74th.

The two stars on defense were Adrianna Franch (22:3) and Emily Sonnett (21:3). Franch had no real shots to stop, but her distribution was nearly perfect and she intercepted several potentially dangerous crosses. When Emily Menges (15:2) made her only gaffe of the match in the 52nd, Sonnett bailed her out with a perfectly timed block. In the 89th a weak pass from Celeste Boureille (16:2) sprung Midge Purce but Sonnett covered.

The substitutes didn’t contribute much: Mallory Weber (4:0) had no attempt on goal in her 15 minutes while Meghan Cox and Kendall Johnson had no touches.

The coach is due for a genius upgrade. This was second game in a week against the same opponent, so both coaches knew what to expect. The conditions were perfect, the refereeing was as good as it gets in this league (and in many other leagues) and, unlike another Boston sport, the ball was inflated correctly. So there were no excuses. Which coach drew the correct lessons from last week’s draw? Which coach had his team ready to play from the opening whistle? Which coach best adapted as the game unfolded? The answer is there for all to see: Mark Parsons.

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Richard Hamje
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