In the most “Peregrine FO” move evah the Thorns have sneaked the preseason schedule out this past week, with the club playing three games over the second week in March.
As you can see, we’re going to face two familiar preseason opponents – Seattle and the USWNT juniors – as well as a new one, Racing Louisville.
For the two NWSL clubs I’ll direct you to the season previews we looked at in January and February. Here’s Louisville, and here’s Seattle.
The U-23s, OTOH, are a bit of a mystery.
The Junior Nats?
They just finished up a pair of matches against Les Bleues Juvinil last week; a 2-nil win followed by a 1-1 draw.
The big story for the juniors in France was ACFC’s draftee Alyssa Thompson, who scored two of the junior Nats three goals.
Our contribution – draftee goalkeeper Lauren Kozal – played the first half in the win and the second half in the draw and during her shift in the second game shipped the lone France goal.
Since there’s no visual record of either match it’s difficult to say anything other than that, and the neo-pros will surely be dispersed to their new clubs, leaving the U-23s as the “college all-star” team we saw last year.
I suspect they’ll be decent at that level but no better; there’s a fair amount of talent there – a bunch of the underclasswomen played in the 2022 U-20 World Cup last year – but that squad (which included Thompson and our Olivia Moultrie) never got out of the group stage, losing to both the Netherlands and Japan juniors.
What about the other NWSL clubs?
As I talked about in the Louisville piece, I think that Racing still hasn’t solved the problems that left them below the red line last season. Their attacking signing, Wang Shuang, seems unproven. Adding Paige Monaghan, Abby Erceg, and Carson Pickett should help them with the sieve that was their defense last season, but I still don’t see where the goals are coming from, so that’ll be something to look out for.
Seattle, OTOH, is a brute, and – as I pointed out in the preseason piece – has significantly improved since we drew them twice early in 2022. Their attack of Huitema, Balcer, Lavelle, Rapinoe, Latsko, and King is a steamroller, and the Reign defense posted the best GA in the league last season and returns the same group in 2023. So it’s not so much that there’s anything or anyone in particular to look out for, but it’ll be worth eyeing the Damndelions to see how forward they look compared to our squad (and Louisville’s).
Thorns FO: Komi Can’t Communicate
The thing that gets me about this is how it was done.
Someone named Mike Whitemarsh showed up at a Riveting! Facebook post with the games. I was all “Whuuuuttttt? Are you sure? Nobody official has announced this!” because I’d checked the club page and my usual suspects (Linehan, Yang, Kassouf…) and crickets. Then I looked into my SeatGeek app and, sure enough, there they were.
And that’s the MOST Peregrine Thorns FO thing I can think of.
This club has someone named “Collin Romer” who’s listed as Vice-President, Communications, but the joker might as well be Komi Shouko for all that he actually “communicates”. I know, I know, that’s just the Way of the Peregrine, but other than all the “sweep out the Paulson Crap” I’d like to see from the new owners, finding a communications director who actually believes that communicating with the public is their first job?
I’d like that.
But. The good news is, we WILL have preseason games to go see.
And I’ll see you then.
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5 thoughts on “We Have A Preseason Sighting!”
When I got my yearly check in call from the ticket office, I asked about pre-season. They kind of stuttered a little and said “keep checking the website schedule for updates”. Honestly, even coming of a championship season, I feel like we are “dead man walking” this year. Hope the sale happens soon.
I think you’re overthinking this.
First, the FO has ALWAYS been like this. I’ve complained for years how bad they are at getting simple news releases out. Re-signings. Deals. How you have to parse the training snapshots to figure out who;s re-signed.
Second, they ARE selling. So I suspect that the Peregrine folks have been told to back away from the Thorns, and so they’re not going to be doing the work. Irking? Yes. Surprising? No.
So not “dead”, or, at least, no more than usual. The sooner the sale the better, yes. But better a decent deal for the new owners than a rushed bad deal.
I reached out Wednesday asking about a preseason and if/when I should hear something, also wishing they were safe since I had just gotten home while the snow was dumping about 1 PM on the east side of Portland.
I got a reply from my ticket rep that day that the stadium was fine and to look for an email sometime in the next couple of weeks about a Thorns preseason. That email came today so it was within a couple weeks. Seat Geek first, social media yesterday, and an email today.
Looks like Hubbard didn’t make the roster: “Portland Thorns announced that defender Chaylyn Hubbard and midfielder Sydney Pulver, who were in preseason training camp as non-roster invitees, are no longer with the club”. Too bad, after yr article I romanticized the idea that maybe we picked up a fantastic player kinda on the sly
Are we starting the score prediction game for Sunday’s game against Louisville? I don’t think we would but wanted to check in to see if it would be happening again this season.