2023 Cup Tie: Matchday 2

Tomorrow evening the Thorns play their second Challenge Cup match of 2023 against Angel City FC.

Neither team is in great shape in this year’s Cup:

Despite it’s position on the table Angel City is actually probably worse off; with the game in hand Portland can jump up behind Seattle with a two-goal win and a scoreless San Diego loss against Seattle. Even a win doesn’t help ACFC if San Diego wins, and if they draw the positions will come down to goal difference, and ACFC is in bad shape there.

With an away game in Seattle Saturday, what will the Thorns squad look like tomorrow? ACFC doesn’t play until Monday, and that’s Chicago at home, so the Angels could send out a squad of circus chimps and still probably get a result. But Seattle away is always a nightmare and the Thorns still need a big win against a good opponent.

So it’s possible we’ll see a heavily rotated Thorns against a mostly-regular Angel City.

I suspect that the opening loss to San Diego has effectively closed this competition off, but there’s always hope and the pot is rich, so it’ll be mildly interesting to see how hard Portland comes at this one.

At the very least? I’d like to see some nice team play and a full 90 of solid no-derp defending, tho.

Consider this your open thread to discuss the Cup and/or any other Thorns-related topics…

John Lawes
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4 thoughts on “2023 Cup Tie: Matchday 2

  1. ACFC comes to town and dropped points late. I am hoping we can do this earlier then the last minute or 2 of added time. Provenzano and Nally is not the central defense duo taking the world by storm. Hogan was okay, maybe should have punched when she tried to catch a fast one but I am not sure even prime Franch could get either goal.

    Vasconcelos, Izzy, and Weaver all officially get on the score sheet. Outside of the removing of Menges at the half, all of the subs made sense for a coach looking to get a win. Menges off makes sense for Saturday. A little sad we didn’t see McGrady but it was not to be.

    Still not convinced Izzy got a touch on that free kick. Izzy thinks she did and google gave it to her, then to Moultrie, and then back to Izzy, so I guess Izzy can have it. A goal is a goal. It was refreshing to not see restart of play after goals be delayed.

    Hogan did a great job closing down and getting that first touch taking it from their feet. The second effort was bad. You miss the ball and grab the player’s ankle that is a PK, regardless of intent, or if the player slips into the path of the keeper already committed.

    A win is a win. A win is a win. A win is a win.

    1. Hogan had another oops in the first half – flapped at a cross she needed to box away or take. The PK foul happens; her CBs kind of hung her out there, and, no, Nally/Provenzano aren’t a good pairing. Neither has pace and Nally in particular tends to overcommit and get skinned. Hogan’s still a solid keeper, and I didn’t see any major issues there.

      Rifer had a good point (https://twitter.com/ChrisRifer/status/1664127587009048577): “Keeping things tighter in those game states is often the best way to pile on. Exploit the opponent’s space in behind when they have to push numbers to try to break you down.”

      On the second goal I didn’t think ANYone inside the box got a touch to it. I just rewatched it and I’m still not convinced. I think D’Aquila’s run froze Isehouer, so I’m fine with giving it to her.

      Overall? As I said below – glad the Gals are still in the money hunt, but otherwise? I’m looking towards Seattle…

  2. Thoughts in no particular order:

    Glad the players are still in the hunt for the Big Payday (other than that I’d be fine if the club went out in the group stage…)

    Holy shit is ACFC bad; even against a heavily rotated Thorns they had nothing going forward except Thompson and were a mess in back.

    That said, there’s something off in the Thorns (players and Norris) – tactics? headspace? both? – when playing from a lead. There’s no way in hell that should have needed a slug of starters to make 93rd minute magic. Forced to chase against that monster attack should have opened space the Thorns could exploit. Up 2-nil could have ended 5-nil but should at least have STAYED 2-nil. If this outfit could figure that out they’ll steamroll to another star.

    Part of that is discipline – way too many people overcommitted and got skinned when they just needed to manage the match. Poor Nally is really struggling with that; she’s just not a clever player.

    I thought Reyes looked good all evening, and D’Aquila was sharp for an hour (couple of late attempts she’ll want back, tho).

    So…now the real thing looms; Seattle away. Let’s thump those wenches and get on the bus.

  3. Just appreciating the understatement: “Provenzano and Nally is not the central defense duo taking the world by storm”. Ahem, agreed.
    No way Izzy touched that ball on its way to goal. Only bothers me b/c Izzy missed those two lovely chances- hope she’s focused on that too (also Moultrie has been so good & deserves it).
    I am slowly becoming a Reyes stan for her Energizer Bunny attitude.
    Given the # of lightning quick forwards in the league, think we should be working on getting a sprinting defender?


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