The Rose City Loves Their Portland Thorns

Portland Thorns – A True Team

Sports has the ability to heal and bring people together. It can make you feel every single emotion imaginable. It’s a masterpiece that the players and staff have decided to share with those who love them the most, the fans.

Soccer in its purest form is a work of art. It is called “the beautiful game” for a reason. The game allows the viewers to see a story told through the lens of its team. It captivates the audience to engage, feel, and support the main characters. The players, coaches, and staff have all come together to create their ending.

Unfortunately, all our main characters are facing adversaries who seem unbeatable or quite frankly, invincible.

Through no fault of theirs, players have been asked to carry a burden that is utterly impossible on their own.

The Portland Thorns have been processing the Sally Yates report like the rest of us, but had to endure more than any professional athletes ever should.

Luckily, they are at their strongest, together as a team.

“We focus on what we have which is special , which is each other. For us to feel that support means a lot, it does” said superstar Rocky Rodriguez.

A Fanbase Unlike Any Other

For a team that has the support of a fanbase unlike any other, nothing is impossible.

The Riveters are regarded as the best supporter’s group in women sports, who have made it clear that they will support this team, and its players, through thick and thin.

As every player walked into the stadium, they were greeted with unwavering support.

Before the opening whistle, they were just getting started. The Rose City Riveters unveiled an amazing Tifo themed from the movie Coraline. The movie was produced by LAIKA, an Oregon stop-motion animation studio, and is based on a children’s book where a girl learns that some people, and places in our lives are irreplaceable.

The Ultimate Chess Match –
Stoney vs Wilkinson

Both teams sticking to their latest starting lineups just seemed too good to be true, and it was. As we should expect from two premier coaches in the NWSL, they would continue their chess match throughout the game.

Casey Stoney opted to start Sofia Jakobsson and Rhian Wilkinson countered by adding Yazmeen Ryan into the lineup.
Both coaches opted to boost their attacks. These playmakers led their teams in assists with 4 and 5, respectively.

Rhian Wilkinson on starting Ryan:
“The past two weeks Janine and Yazmeen have been training so well. Trying to decide between those two was really, really hard because they have been so fantastic. Yaz through the season, you could see her development. She’s still a very young player who is developing her game, but the confidence she has, her athleticism, the way she sees space, it was fantastic to watch her do her thing.”


Rose City Riveters and the city of Portland:
The near sellout crowd gave their Thorns the boost they needed to mount a comeback from a goal down.
22,035 fans packed Providence Park and made this an unforgettable game.

Sponsors Make it Clear and Obvious Where They Stand
If you were wondering if the sponsors for the clubs would speak up any further. You do not need to wonder or wait any longer.
Portland Thorns and Timbers sponsors are united in their support of the players!

Coaching Excellence:
Huge shoutout to NBC Sports’ Alex Azzi for noticing a first for the NWSL. Casey Stoney and Rhian Wilkinson marked the first time two female head coaches met in a playoff match.
This is a reminder that the league still has work to do.

Elite Bench:

Rhian Wilkinson on her starting XI decision:
“Every time I put out a starting lineup, I am disrespecting people who have earned the right to be on the field. We have more than 11 starters. Every time I tell someone they are not dressing, I break someone’s heart. They’re professional players, these are their dreams. Unless they are starting every game, they are annoyed with me, but what they don’t do is take that frustration out on their teammates. In cultures that aren’t functioning it becomes very toxic very quickly because you blame the players that are ahead of you instead of coming to me or my staff and having a conversation about it. That is why I think it is working, it doesn’t mean that people are happy when they don’t start. Not at all. It’s a very challenging thing to try to balance, but what a wonderful situation to be in that I can bring in a Crystal Dunn, Christine Sinclair, or Janine Beckie off the bench. They’re the ones that won the game for us.”

Janine Beckie and Yazmeen Ryan duo:
“That poor side, you know. Their left side must be like, ‘I’m done. Here we go because another incredibly athletic player who likes to take players on.’ I think we wore them down. It’s hard to take players off when they’re doing well and Yaz was, but getting fresh legs on the field in the way we’ve been giving players opportunity this year means that we can balance those minutes. Think that has helped us today, it will also help us in a week’s time because my team has not been the same XI through the season.”

Elite Defense:
When you are facing a team that has the best goalkeeper and defender in the NWSL, goals will come at a premium. Kailen Sheridan, Naomi Girma, and their defense did not allow any scores in the run of play. In order to get past Sheridan, Portland needed to score two GOLAZOs! Their excellence is going to be why San Diego Wave will constantly be in the championship picture for the next decade.

Taylor Kornieck is a world class set piece defender. She had the first and or second touches on both of Portland’s goals. In the preview for the match, Becky Sauerbrunn reiterated “it will take a lot of defensive cover. Taylor is gifted in the air. You have to assume she will win the majority of the aerial battles. Are you picking up second balls?” The Thorns only managed to score on second or third chances.

Scoring Timeline

8th Minute – Taylor Kornieck from Alex Morgan
If the league offered a Most Improved Player Award, it would go to Taylor Kornieck. There is no player who has improved more than she has. Expect regular appearances for the national team very soon.

This header quieted the crowd. How good has Kornieck been against Portland? That was her 4th goal in 5 games against them.
“You know what they’re going to, you just can’t stop them… We trained for that for two weeks” Wilkinson said on her team’s preparation for San Diego’s attack.

20th Minute – Rocky’s GOLAZO!
Raquel “Rocky” Rodriquez is having one of her best seasons in the NWSL. She has been excellent all season for Portland.
This goal is one of the best you’ll ever see!

90’+3 Crystal Dunn Says No to Extra Time!

On May 20, she gives birth to baby Marcel.
On October 23, she puts Portland Thorns in the NWSL Final.

Db level at the time of Crystal Dunn's goal
After Dunn scored the game winning goal, Providence Park erupted to 109 dBs! Credit: SM

How loud was Providence Park when Dunn scored her goal? 109 dBs!

Dunn on where this game winning goal ranks in her career:
“This was a pretty incredible one. This one is probably placed at the highest… Given everything I’ve gone through, it wasn’t an easy year… To come back and score a goal to send to the final, I’m like this is exactly why we play, why we train, why we practice. It’s to be available for these moments and to execute it.”

Why We All Love This Team

Often times we are reminded how amazingly strong sports truly are. The Rose City Riveters and City of Portland showed up for this team. The coaches, players, and staff put in everything they had to make everyone proud.

In order to create a work of art, it can’t be done alone. The Portland Thorns do not have to carry this burden on their own, we all do it together.

When everyone unites, that is the true masterpiece.

That is why we all love this team because the clubs belong to all of us.

Bella Bixby:

Crystal Dunn:
“Everyone knows it’s been a long hard year for not just our club, but the entire NWSL. For every game we step into, we remind each other that this game is fun. We enjoy playing this game, we find so much joy in it.”

Rocky Rodriquez: 
“We’ve come together for many different reasons. It’s been a couple of years that have been rough, but the fact we are able to come together for what we love that most, and for what we’re doing right now, which is playing soccer. The fact that we had the support from the fans and the city. It means a lot for us, the players… It’s more than soccer at the end of the day… Coming together made us stronger and I think that’s what’s special about this team.”

Morgan Weaver (Attacking Third):
“All season we’ve really been working towards our offense, also defense. For us offensively, we all have the fight and want to score. Honestly for us, we don’t care who scores. It’s just who’s going to get that goal? Who’s going to get us the lead? Who’s gets the assist? I think we are just really happy about that. It’s really cool, something special this team has because we all want to win. No matter how we do it, we’re going to win.”

Rhian Wilkinson: 

Portland Thorns VS Kansas City Current
NWSL Championship

Phuoc “Francis” Nguyen

Portland Thorns & Portland Timbers #BAONPDX #RCTID