Thorns FC: #$!#%!

In this edition of TFC: I really wanted to go deep into the Thorns’ improbable playing-with-ten-for-over-an-hour-in-the-August-heat-and-smoke 2-1 win over the formerly top of table North Carolina.

This was such a good match, and I wanted to have hard numbers on who on the club did the most to reverse what in the 19th minute seemed like Portland-doom; Kelli Hubly ejected for a “denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity”, Tyler Lussi scoring off the ensuing free kick, giving the Damned Courage the lead and the opportunity to sit back and throttle a Sophia Smith-, Crystal Dunn- and Hina Sugita-deprived Portland.

I can’t.

Because fucking Paramount “plus” made an utter shitshow of the stream.

There’s about a total of ten minutes available; a blink in at the 6th minute – less than sixty seconds worth of tape – and another in the 14th – showing the DOGSO but not the free kick and goal – then about three minutes between the 37th and 41st minute, showing Hannah Betfort’s equalizer, and then nothing until the 53rd minute.

I got about four minutes there, then the sonsofbitches jumped again; saw Smith come on in the 67th and score in the 69th, then another jump into the 83rd minute, thirty seconds there and then it was the final whistle.

That was all,.

A total of 10 out of 99 minutes.

I’ve seen Paramount-minus screw up before – the Impressionist painting images I’ve shown here before aren’t exactly an unknown thing – but this is the worst I’ve ever seen it.

I have nothing I can rely on to do any sort of real analysis of it.

Which is too damn bad; this might well have been the most impressive outing this squad has put together so far this season.

Despite the sending-off the Thorns didn’t lose shape. The midfield, especially, supported the backline and kept Carolina from overrunning the defense. The defense kept The Damned largely in front of them, forcing Carolina to rely on attempts from distance. The entire back six, particularly including Sam Coffey and Raquel Rodriguez, were where and when they needed to be.

Bella Bixby came up big several times – including a massive 58th minute 1v0 stop on Olivia Wingate – and controlled her penalty area well in general.

Olivia Moultrie and Morgan Weaver provided lovely service on the goals.

And Betfort and Smith with the finish.

Mike Norris’ substitutions were timely – especially yanking Christine Sinclair for Meghan Nally in the 22nd minute – and effective.

I’d purely love to have had the PMRs for this game; I think there might have well been some performances-of-the-season-to-date. I wanted to apologize in hard numbers to Sophia Smith for thinking she’d still be dragged from the World Cup, and to relish the clever partnership she’s crafted with Weaver. I wanted to celebrate Hannah Betfort’s pluses that, in her own way, show how much she’s grown into a very solid striker.

And I certainly wanted to hand Norris a rose for his role in turning what could have been an utterly devastating match into a thumping win.

In other words, I wanted to post a good, solid “Thorns FC” piece.

“Plus” my ass.

Now, though, comes the hard part; hanging on to the momentum from this win.

If this squad has had a constant this year, it’s been inconsistency. Form hasn’t held for more than a game or two. Play a blinder, then fall apart. Stink up the joint one week, then sweep all before them the next.

This has the potential to be a season-maker. A take-off point for the club to run wild through the final six matches of the season and into the playoffs.

I’d like to think that’s going to happen.

Let’s go to D.C. next week and find out.

John Lawes
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14 thoughts on “Thorns FC: #$!#%!

  1. Just want to join the Paramount Minus chorus. So mad we can’t re-watch the game! But that night, being in the stands was incredible! What an amazing match!

  2. When I got notice of price increase I cancelled the Paramount+ subscription. Just finally ran out of my last month the last couple of days. Hoping new year contract is a new provider. It is almost like Paramount already knows they lost out on the future contract and stopped trying. The NWSL international feed kept working so they should be able to get the full game up there, but aren’t. They were never trying very hard for the NWSL in the first place. It shows given their Men’s Champions League coverage.

    I Plan to go to bar/restaurants to see the remaining 3 away games.

  3. I was ready to give up on this game at about the 20 minute mark because of the Paramount feed and red card, but being an optimist and thinking maybe the only way to go was up, I stuck with it. Paramount did not improve, but Thorns only got better. Having 10 players seemed to focus them and I knew a tie was inevitable and maybe a win. This was a great win and has to be a confidence lifter. Nally came in a did the job. Porter came in and did a good job. Reyes of course was good and Sophia Smith, no words. We also got to see how much Weaver and Betfort have improved this year. I almost forgot how good Rocky is as it is almost impossible to take the ball off her. When Nahas pulled O’Sullivan that seemed to me a white flag moment. He recognized that even with one less player the Thorns were the better team.

  4. That has to be one of the most entertaining and satisfying games the Thorns have played. I almost didn’t go because of the smoke and the fact that I was tired and the fear that it would just be another uninspired underperformance against a team that always seems to have our number. But my wife really wanted to go, and I’m so glad she dragged me along. What a gritty, disciplined performance. And I don’t remember PP ever being louder. I’d really like to watch the game again, but it looks like that won’t be possible. Way to go Paramount-.

  5. Hi John!

    Thankfully for you ima crazy person and tracked down an international feed version of the entire game, dramz and all. There’s just some Spanish language commentary over the top but you can mute him. It’s on twitch. You shouldn’t need to sign up or anything to watch. I pulled it up on my phone just clicking on the link but I’m sure it would work pulling it up on a laptop just the same! Game actually starts around the 10-minute mark. Maybe you can deeeeep dive after all, for the benefit of us all! ::)

    1. Thanks for that I missed the most of the remaining first half after the penalty. Damn Paramount Plus is terrible. But it may be karma, I was going to to the game but the AQI put me off. But 22,000, that is great crowd they deserved to see a great game!

      1. Same. I had already had a nosebleed walking to work downtown earlier in the day and wasn’t keen on another so I stayed home. I was leaning towards going, but my partner reminded me of my seasonal/situational asthma and I decided I didn’t need to feel like garbage for two days for a game I wasn’t particularly optimistic about. I’m quite bummed we weren’t there, but my dog was happy to have us home.

    2. Thankyouthankyouthankyou!!! I’m watching maajeeestic’s stream right now, and I’ll update the TFC: with the goods by tomorrow night. Thank you again!

      1. His Spanish is way too fast for me to follow, but I swear that late in the first half he (and maybe a caller???) were chatting about the food at one of the local tortillerias. Wish I had a transcript, because it seemed like an odd time to be discussing lunch…

        1. I took 3 years of it in high school (and grew up in LA county) but what remnants remained of speaking/reading it are quite a long ways gone. If I could find some Mexican food in Portland that rivaled SoCal Mexican food….not sure if Mr. Magestic is local though….I did hear him mention Angel City quite a lot and guessed he may be from LA.

          1. I’m pretty sure he’s not local. Not sure if it’s SoCal or even further south – he rolls his “r”s very like the locals do down near the isthmus, so might even be Central American? Dunno…but glad he (and you) had the stream. Revised TFC: now up. Thanks again…

      2. I’m so glad it worked for you! I was quite pleased to find it myself. That dopamine hit when you’ve found what you’ve been looking for…!

        But mostly, we all win because your recaps are my favorite post-game content to consume. Apologies for being a bit MIA for the prediction game- I’ve had a schedule change at work and haven’t quite found a routine for doing those regularly. But, glad I can at least contribute in some way.

        Thanks again for all of your work! I haven’t gotten to read your previous Riveting article, but I plan to soon. Just a suggestion…but I’d love if you posted a few times in the STF comments when you’ve published an article to give that community a heads up. It would get some more eyeballs on your work (you do great work!) and would let us know when we can check out something new! I do have to sign up for the whole STF subscription thing, which I haven’t gotten around to doing but I will soon.


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