2023 CUP Tie – Matchday 1

So tonight the Thorns travel to San Diego for the first round of Challenge Cup games.

The money’s good, I’ll grant that; if I was a player living in a three-bedroom apartment with two teammates and eating ramen every Tuesday I’d want a piece of that.

OTOH, there’s no real pull for me, a fan. I’m not getting a piece of the jack, and to play San Diego again? Yawn. See ya in the league.

I still think the NWSL needs to rope the W-League and even the semi-pro leagues into this gimmick. Give it some zing, some fun, some REAL “After Dark” energy.

The Cal FC Open Cup game is still one of my “big” Timbers moments. A good one? Hell, no. But one of those “I was there when…” kinds of things, like bouncing off the walls in the cheap motel in Medford, watching the SKC playoff penalties I was forced to miss in person back in 2015, or Head-Chara against LA that season, or the first MLS game in 2011.


We don’t have that, we got this.

So consider this an open forum to discuss what happens tonight.

John Lawes
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8 thoughts on “2023 CUP Tie – Matchday 1

  1. Three of the top four teams in the table are in the Western division, and only one or two can advance. Not to mention that if LA can really shore up its midfield with BOTH Ertz and Henry, they could become a top contender as well. So balance was clearly not high on the priority list.
    OTOH if some teams go all in on the Challenge Cup there could be some interesting upsets – great soap opera material.
    On the whole, a dramatic sideshow may sell tickets, and grab attention, more easily than the steady strategizing and execution of the regular season.
    I really like watching the teams plan and maneuver (and play) for a top record over the course of the whole regular season, but the Challenge Cup should be interesting, as a sideshow.

    1. I’m gonna watch and hope for a good match. But unlike league matches if we lose? Meh. I’ll feel sorry for the players, but I’ll walk away whistling.

  2. my starting b-team 11:
    Izzy – Hannah – Leon
    Liv – Sinc – Rocky
    Reyes – Provenzano – Nally – Beckman

  3. So SDW gets a Nally own-goal and runs off 1-nil. As far as the Cup goes? Meh.

    But I think this one brings up some questions about tactics and rosters.

    Several players had poor games, but frankly, I think there’s more here than Betfort-vs-D’Aquila or who’s at the #9 vs who’s a winger.

    This is the second game in a row where the Thorns had a tactical advantage and couldn’t finish then let the opponent ship a crap goal on an error. Another game where the passing and movement came apart when the opponent pressed. Another game where the defense missed marks, lost duels, and looked disorganized at times.

    I think the bottom line is that we’re not as good as we thought we were; I think Orlando and Kansas City were that bad.

    Are there positional and player issues? Yes.

    But I think this is a systemic issue, a team play issue, and I hope Norris & Co. are thinking hard about this.

  4. This seemed like a great opportunity to trot out the WC replacements and give them some time together. Instead, it was a cluster F**k of rotation madness. Truly forgettable. Although I did like seeing what Leon could do. What are your thoughts on her 1st performance as a Thorn?

    1. I thought Leon looked fine. Aggressive, smart. Tended to pass to a blue shirt, but so did the rest of the team. Thought Reyes had a decent match.

      The issues I had were with team play, not really with any particular individual (tho Betfort really isn’t working as the nine…).

  5. Betfort was a defender in college, yes? Wilkinson did some nifty position shifting with Coffey, but it’s not working with Betfort. She really doesn’t seem effective as a 9. Why does she keep being up there? I imagine it would be a thankless role to be a 9 on a team with Sophia Smith, but this is a WC year. Erg.


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