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  • 08/12/2013 3:59 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    This is the motto that provided the motivation for a friend and me to take a road trip from Toronto down to Rochester to watch Canadian soccer royalty as Christine Sinclair and Karina LeBlanc were bringing their Portland Thorns into Western New York to battle Abby Wambach’s Flash for second place and home field advantage in the semi’s!

    The importance of this match couldn’t be understated at all! To have the honor of hosting a semi-final game in the inaugural NWSL season was something that both teams would battle hard for. I was convinced that Sahlen’s Stadium would be rocking with energy and excitement! Arriving an hour before the 7:35 pm EST kickoff, there was a line of cars waiting to park – a very good sign! I was also expecting to see a large contingent of Canadians because as I said, this was as close as Sinclair and LeBlanc would be to the Canadian border in the east. Sporting our Canadian gear and proudly wearing the flag, we entered the stadium and made our way around the venue to our seats.

    The pre-game warm-ups are always a great indication of how the teams will perform and both teams looked focused and ready to go. As you can see, the sun was shining brightly as the Thorns warmed up, which would definitely be a factor in the first half for whichever team was facing it. My Canadian brethren did not disappoint either as there were many in the rows around me (I just wish they would have sported the red & white a little more prominently)! Also surprising to me was the fact that there were a LOT of Thorns fans who were there to specifically see Tobin Heath … almost everywhere I looked I saw Heath jerseys or signs!

    Sinclair and Angie Kerr going back into the locker room to prepare for the game. This was Kerr’s first game since July, a tough test to come back into the midfield and having to face not just Wambach, but Carli Lloyd as well.

    Both teams coming out for opening kickoff; to a polite round of applause from the Flash faithful – nowhere near the energy I was anticipating. Maybe watching Thorns games online (and hearing the sheer noise that goes along with being at JELD-WEN Field) has skewed my opinion, but for a game this important – everything just seemed too quiet!

    The venue has a seating capacity of 13,768, but as you can see as the Thorns have lined up for kickoff, many empty seats! The Flash are a tremendous team and I was disappointed to see a turnout of 7, 606 (even though it the highest attendance for a game this season).

    LeBlanc directing traffic after an unfortunate miscue between her and her defense – no harm came of it though – thank goodness!

    Getting ready for the start of the second half and there was still no scoring! Thorns had only fired three shots at Franch during the first half – much more would be needed for a positive result.

    It was an absolutely beautiful night for soccer. When all was said and done, both keepers kept clean sheets, and LeBlanc had her highest save total for any game this season. A 0-0 draw was the result as the Thorns are adjusting to life without Alex Morgan for now.

    After the game, the announcer made it very clear that autographs were to be signed in “Autograph Alley.” About ten minutes before the final whistle, the barriers were already packed with youngsters waiting to get a glimpse of their heroes! Despite the fact that autographs were only to be had in the ‘Alley’ many of the Thorns players went over the sidelines to sign for people (very classy). In particular, Sinclair and LeBlanc went up into the crowd of Canadians who were behind the bench to sign paraphernalia. I was totally on the wrong side of the field so watched with envy (hence the blurry shot … but you can see Leblanc in yellow and Sinclair is on the field making her way up)!

    All in all it was a fabulous experience and one that I will repeat again next year (that’s me in the red)!!! I have also added a trip to Portland, and JELD-WEN Field in particular, to my bucket list for next summer!!!

    That's a wrap!

  • 08/08/2013 4:59 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    So we know what we know, now. Alex Morgan is injured and potentially out til the playoffs. The Thorns managed to clinch a playoff spot despite another loss with the help of an abandoned game. We also know that the ability to have a playoff game at Jeld-Wen Field is looking a bit tenuous right now.


    Why are we here again? Why are the Thorns having problems? Well, prepare thyself. We go to the tape, err, freeze-framed shots.

    Let me state something here first: DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS. Now this defense can be an offense based defense in which the team keeps possession of the ball and prevents the other team from having scoring chances. It can be the strong play of center backs in tandem with their midfield. It can be an electric keeper and 10 people in the 18 yard box hoofing the ball out. However you split it, defense wins championships.

    So why is the Thorns defense (and thus their playoff-hosting hope and win/loss record) struggling so badly? In essence, it is poor player marking, poor decisions, and poor tactics. Make no bones, these mistakes aren’t just the provenance of the Thorns. However, as we will see, Portland have become decidedly worse.

    First, let’s take a look at something. How have the other teams caught up to the Thorns long ball tactics? Well, pretty easily.

    Here we have a shot of Christine Sinclair after receiving a long ball from the back and having to settle and cut back the ball without taking it in stride.

    As we can see, two FC Kansas City players have tracked back and her marker is goal side of the player.  Because the long ball has left the Thorns supporting players in the dust, Sinclair has no option but to attempt to “go it on her own” so she faces her player and attempts to create.

    At this point we can see that the defensive support for FCKC has collapsed back and it is two Thorns players (with Alex Morgan making a far post run) against four FCKC defenders. Kansas City has numbers and there is still no support for Sinclair. By the time she tries to fire in a pass/shot that is deflected…

    There are six FCKC players defending and four Thorns players. This is, in essence, why the Thorns long ball tactics have started to fail as they depend on the absolutely perfect over the top ball to get the player running in stride at the goal and beating two or more defensive players while leaving the Thorns midfield attempting to follow up with the Thorns forwards either not having the time to wait for support or the inclination/instruction to do so.

    Now we go to the first FCKC goal.

    It starts out here in the center of the pitch with the Thorns retreating back, but in position with numbers. We have the back four players for the Thorns with Dougherty extremely narrow in the middle of the field marking the slashing FKCK player at the bottom/mid-left of the screen. All players are goal side while Williamson is dragging the line back with her positioning.

    As the play progresses we see that Dougherty is still tracking in the bottom left, and there is an overlap happening on the right side of the field. This is the danger spot as Niki Marshall is pinched in and seemingly covering the FCKC runner with her back to the wide FCKC player.


    We see in the next frame that the ball is now finally played out wide and Marshall realizes that the run is behind her.  The two players for FCKC are being marked in the box by Williamson and Dougherty. Allie Long jogs into the frame in the lower center of the frame.


    The ball is played in as Marshall does not/can not close out the service and is stranded in between the play. FCKC players are still marked but there is a huge avenue in the middle of the box in which to pass.

    Inexplicably, Williamson leaves her marked player to stab at the pass as it is sent through the box. This player is now wide open as Williamson’s gamble fails and FKCK goes up 1-0

    Note that, in the previous, Long is still coming back into the frame and a number of Thorns players are ball watching. Thorns player’s ball watching, playing narrow and caught out of position is something that happens repeatedly in this game.

    Now this ball watching isn’t just reserved for the Thorns defense as we can see here that FCKC gets caught watching as the ball settles in the box for the pass (indicated by the arrow) that supplied the Thorns equalizer in the second half.


    But of course a perfect example of the problem with organization and the Thorns is exemplified on the second goal. Here we see the start of the play as Dougherty has been beaten, Williamson steps out to confront the ball carrier with Buehler marking her player through the zone. We see here at the bottom of the screen how narrow Marshall is playing on the left. The Thorns still have containment as it is two against three with two players (Dougherty and Long) chasing back in support.

    However, Williamson’s challenge fails as the ball slips through two Thorns defenders (Williamson and Dougherty) and FCKC retains possession. The next shot illustrates that despite this, the Thorns still have numbers as Portland still have 4 players against three attacking FC Kansas City players.

    However a slick interplay and passing sequence and poor challenges again from the Thorns allow FC Kansas City to slip through the Thorns defensive position, allowing Lauren Holliday to get in on goal.


    So the Thorns are caught up field with players chasing the play and Kansas City slots another shot home. This is the repeating message as poorly timed challenges, marking and collapsing defensive responsibility doom the Thorns.

    Even on the third goal for FCKC we see that the Thorns players crowd the player WITH the ball leaving both runs outside and inside available as somehow Mewis for Kansas City manages to get a shot off with FOUR Thorns players around her, practically watching her tee up a shot.

    Now granted that Karina Leblanc probably should have done better with this shot but the fact is that Leblanc had a back line/midfield combination that seemed to panic, play narrow, leave their marked players alone and ball watch letting her try to clean up the mess behind them.

    This “Hodge-podge” thorns defense seems to happen at many different positions on the field as we can see a freeze frame of a FCKC attempted possession.

    If the FCKC player was able to pass (indicated by the blue arrow) out of the position she was in to the KC player calling for the ball (indicated in the green circle) she would have the entirety of the field on that side to run with as there is no Thorns player ready to pressure the ball in that area of the field. Fortunately for Portland the Kansas City player doesn’t see how open that side of the field is and plays the ball back instead of out to the wing. With Foxhoven tucked way inside most of the game and Tobin Heath essentially playing as an alternative central attacking midfielder in the middle of the field with Mana Shim, the Thorns played so narrow as to afford Kansas City an enormous amount of room on the wings. There was (at times) zero defense on the right side of the field in front of Marion Dougherty. This really happened on both sides of the field but was extremely noticeable on the Thorns right.

    It is no surprise then that two of the three goals for FC Kansas City originated from the right side of the Thorns defense.

    It really comes back down positioning, marking players on the field appropriately, having a semblance of defensive responsibilities and playing as a team. These are all things that FC Kansas City were able to cobble together and things that the Thorns have been struggling with for some time.

    Congratulations to the Portland Thorns for making it to the NWSL playoffs, but unless these defensive issues get fixed, they are going to have a very difficult time advancing.

  • 08/05/2013 4:58 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    By an overwhelming margin, the Rose City Riveters have chosen Thorns goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc as their Player of the Year.

    With 70 saves over 1,620 minutes in goal, Karina leads the league as its winningest goalkeeper.

    But it’s been more than just her skill and her stats that have endeared her to supporters in Portland. Her personality, her joie de vivre, has been infectious. When Karina smiles, we smile with her. When she dances, we dance with her. When she colors her hair Rose City Red, well, we do that, too.

    So, with this, we thank you, Karina.

    It should be noted that several Thorns made notable showings in the Player of the Year poll. Congrats to Meleana Shim, Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair, each of whom garnered a significant number of votes.

  • 08/05/2013 4:53 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    The 107ist provided the space, the cloth, the paint, and the rigging. It would have been rather more difficult to pull off without these things.

    2013-07-20 14.29.08

    On the (wo)manpower side, CoryHolly, and Lexi came up with the idea.
    Cory designed it and drew all the players. Holly put the drawings into a computer and pushed the pixels around. Lexi and Mike got everything organized and arranged for the space and for people to help. (60.5 hours)

    2013-07-22 21.58.11
    On July 22, CoryHollyChrissieIgor, and Michelle spent a night tracing the first half of the image onto cloth. Then, on July 25, HollyChrissieMichelleRachel, and Nichol spent another night tracing the second half. (43.5 hours)

    2013-07-27 14.13.23 2013-07-27 14.13.05
    July 27 was the big day. HollyChrissieIgorMichelleRachelLexiRichardPatchKevinSaraJoshuaChucklesSatoMirandaRichardBrittneyJustinJadeLukeJohnMarcelloJulieToddVanessaWarrenPaulKristinMoKimMarnieSydJanetPatrickMeganThomasIsabellaTeresaHeather, and Gabby spent a beautiful afternoon indoors and painted the whole thing including the explosion two-sticks. Straight From New York donated a whole pile of delicious pizzas at the painting party. They are Thorns fans and we love them. (186.25 hours)

    On July 30, CoryHollyChrissie, and Rachel went back for another night to do touchups and repaint the green grass which had originally been painted an unfortunate wan shade of guacamole. (22 hours)

    Then, on August 1, CoryHollyChrissieMichelleRachelLexiRichardPatchLukeToddPaulKristinKimMarnieGabby,  Nissa, and Kristen rolled streamers, taped instruction sheets to them, and did some last touchups on the paint and spent some time finalizing the Cindy Parlow Cone element. (42 hours)

    Game day was August 4. CoryHollyChrissieIgorMichelleLexiPatchChucklesSatoToddVanessaPaulKristinKimMarnieJanetTeresaGabbyNickAlexKrisHeidiJohnLaneJonannaToddMikeRyanRhondaDougSaraDennisSunday, Lora, and a ton of wonderful volunteers pulled ropes, lifted heavy things, distributed streamers and flags, and generally pitched in to make the whole thing happen on game day. (20.5+ hours)

    So, 60+ people (374.75+ person-hours) and a staggering amount of donated material. That’s where it came from.

    Please support the 107ist. We would absolutely not have been able to do any of this without them. This organization is a major part of what makes us the best supporters in the league. You can support by joining them or by buying Riveters or Timbers Army merchandise.

    Thank you all so much for everything you did to make this happen. Here’s hoping we need another one for the playoffs. Stay tuned.

  • 08/02/2013 4:51 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    Christine Sinclair. There’s really no ambiguity about how to say that. That’s pretty clearly a hard /k/ sound in her last name.

    Some people call her Sinc. Same consonant sound. No problem.

    Now here’s where things get confusing, because there’s no good way to spell her other nickname. The way it usually appears in print preserves the spelling of her name, but violates the rules of English pronunciation. The alternative, using an actual k, looks stupid. Sinky?

    But the thing is, that’s more like how you actually say “Sincy”. Not like this:


    Course, people started saying it with the /s/ sound around here, and then other people heard that and started saying it too. I think we should stop and fix it.

    It’s easy. Just remember, more like this:


    And less like this:


    Maybe we could even come up with another chant...

  • 08/01/2013 4:49 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    Well, probably not all the things. Just whichever ones I remember to write here.

    Okay. Sunday is match day. This is the last guaranteed home match this season. As of right this second, the Thorns hold second place in the standings and, if that holds, they will host a semifinal playoff match. If they slip to third place, they’ll travel. We’ve officially entered ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN territory here.

    The forecast for Sunday shows temperatures in the low 90s, but your Thorns need you to bring it. They need you loud and proud. They also need you to bring sunscreen and drink lots of water. Hydrate, people. Don’t let them down because you wilted. You know that brand new scarf you just got from the fine folks at the merch Rav4? Even 90 degrees isn’t too hot to wear it – just go soak it in water first. Trust me on this one.

    So, let’s talk a little about location. Ideally, we want everyone on their feet in 106-108. Sing your hearts out, brothers and sisters. If you want to sit and spectate, please to be moving elsewhere. While all of the North End is considered standing/singing/etc., there are some perfectly lovely pockets of 109/110/204/205 that are less active and more appropriate for those who really enjoy the feel of a hard plastic chair or wooden bleacher on their behind.

    As some of you may have heard, we had a little confusion over two-sticks last Sunday. All is well. Bring your two-sticks, but there are two things to remember about this. Please be respectful of those around you and don’t put your two-stick up during the run of play. Secondly, if your two-stick requires twenty-seven interlocking pieces of pvc and six bungee cords to hold it together, it’s best that you just build that particular (peculiar?) fort in your back yard and don’t bring it to JWF. Okay, I guess there’s a third thing: if your two-stick is big enough to drape an aircraft carrier, it might be best displayed hanging from the rail at the front of the 100s. Holly usually has some zip ties. (Someone please remind me to mention to her that I’ve now announced on the internet that she might have spare zip ties to share.)

    Merch! The merch Rav4 will be in the Koi Fusion lot at 20th & Burnside pre- and post-match. It’ll be stocked with scarves, buttons and t-shirts, photos of which can be seen on Twitter (@pdxriveterssg) or on the Facebook page. Please to be buying all the things. Scarves are $15. Buttons are $1. T-shirts are assorted sizes, $15 each, $17 for extended sizes. We’re working toward an online purchase option, but we’re not quite there.

    Tickets! If you’ve got extra when gameday rolls around, please consider dropping them off with the merch crew. They’ll get them into the hands of folks who need them and any donations will go to the 107ist. Oh, do you still need tickets? Go here:

    Freeway! So, because ODOT hates the east side of Portland, they’ve chosen to close I-84 westbound from 11 p.m. Saturday night through 5 a.m. Monday morning. Please plan accordingly. Ride MAX. Timbers match Saturday night? Get a hotel room and just stay downtown all weekend. It’s kind of like a staycation but with turndown service and three footy matches in 24 hours.

    So, that’s all the Sunday stuff, I think. Here comes All The Other Stuff.

    The Riveters are hosting next Wednesday’s away viewing at On Deck in the Pearl (910 NW 14th). Match starts at 4 p.m. and they’ll also show the Timbers/RSL USOC match following the Thorns/Breakers match. Happy hour until 6 p.m. Kids welcome. Wifi available. Please RSVP here so we know you’re coming.

    Playoff tickets! Season ticket holders should have gotten an email about deposits for playoff tickets. To secure your seats, you need to respond by August 9th. Do this. Deposit is $2. TWO DOLLARS. The balance of the ticket price will be charged later. It’s all in the email. If you didn’t get the email, please call your ticket rep.

    Tukwila Away! We’re making another trip north to see the Thorns take on the Reign in lovely Tukwila. Get on the bus. Tickets are available here. Please don’t wait until the last minute. We don’t want you to miss out. Our first trip up was amazing. You don’t want to miss this. Seriously.

    And here’s the thing I’ve saved for last. There’s a pretty epic thing that’s going to happen Sunday. Lots of folks put a lot of hard work into it but, without the help of the 107ist, it wouldn’t be happening on this scale. If you haven’t already, please consider joining the 107ist. Membership is $25 per person and nets you a ton of discounts for area businesses in addition to supporting both the Timbers Army and the Rose City Riveters. Click here to join and tell them we sent you.

    Did I miss anything?

  • 07/29/2013 4:45 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    If you put a lobster in water and turn up the temperature, they will stay. If you try to put them right into boiling water they will try to escape.

    This latest game against Chicago Red Stars was the equivalent of turning up the heat slowly on the fans. At first you get comfortable with the idea that the Thorns have a 3-1 lead, and then suddenly you are bubbling and steaming with anger as three points slip away and a precarious standings situation becomes even more dangerous.

    When the Portland Thorns were winning games earlier in the inaugural NWSL season, they didn’t do this just by scoring more goals than the other team, they did this with a stingy defense that was (at one point) one of the best in the NWSL. As the season has progressed and the teams in the NWSL have gelled offensively they have started coming at the problems that exist within the Thorns defense and have managed to find the spots to attack the back four while the Thorns went through an offensive slump.

    The insertion of Tobin Heath into the Thorns lineup was supposed to fix some of these problems but at one point I pondered what she would fix and what would happen with her addition to the lineup. The issue here, in the end, is that YES, the Thorns offensive lineup needed fixing as the endless long-ball tactics were grating even the most loyal Thorns enthusiast. However, the Thorns back line is also in some difficulty and the way in which the Thorns give up the ball in the midfield, while improved, still places additional stress on a back line that isn’t currently seeing their best days.

    As the game progressed in the second half the Thorns reverted to sending passes further and further up the field and the frustration started to show on the players. Alex Morgan received a yellow card after petulantly flipping a ball over the end line sign board in the 70th minute. Meanwhile the Thorns began to give up possession cheaply in the midfield as Parlow Cone subbed Emily O’Neil in for Nikki Marshall and then a few minutes later Alex Morgan was subbed off for Tiffany Weimer.

    The difference between the organization and positioning of the team in the first half and the organization of the team in the second half is noticeable. As the game progressed the initiation of contact zone retreated and the amount of involvement of the fullbacks (something that traditionally hasn’t been a huge part of the Thorns arsenal) reduced even further.  At the beginning of the game the Thorns were playing a diamond 4-4-2 with Morgan and Sinclair up top, Foxhoven at RMF, Shim at CAM, Tobin Heath on the Left and Allie Long playing DCM. Interestingly enough, when Portland would exercise a throw in, Heath would usually receive the ball (which is how Heath ended up on the right center of the field ready to take the free kick that resulted in the first Thorns goal).  In the second half however, the Thorns started getting stretched and didn’t seem to consistently find that 4-4-2 diamond formation that they had been running in the first half. Whether due to people jogging back into position, the heat on the field, or/and the information passed on by the coaching staff, most of the team seemed to drop the intensity at 74:00 into the game. Almost immediately after 74:00, Chicago scored a header which really was the result of poor defensive marking, the Thorns defense not closing down the player with the ball, and poor positional awareness.

    There is almost no excusable reason as to why the tying goal for the Red Stars happened.  The ball comes in from a throw-in for Chicago, is played through the middle of the field, the Thorns defense separates and Buehler is left to clean up the ball for another throw. The throw comes in and is headed out for another throw from Leon for Chicago. The throw is headed up and then kicked into the box to a group of Thorns and Chicago players. At this time there are two Thorns players marking two Chicago players and the ball comes into a patch of sun remaining on the field and seems to get lost to the group of four, it pops up in the air and Rachel Buehler comes in to attempt to clean up the ball. She attempts to head it out but it pops right down to Tobin Heath who loses position and gets muscled out-of-the-way by a charging Sitch who smacks a very nice shot in for the tying goal. The Thorns, during the play, had seven outfield players in the 18 yard box and Karina Leblanc while Chicago had five. Whether due to communication problems, a lack of focus, endurance, tactics…. The Thorns simply capitulated as Julianne Sitch swept Heath aside for the goal.

    As was happening earlier in the year, the separation between the back line and the midfield grew, the line of initiation changed, and the team, at times, looked like they hadn’t played together.  There were times where the Thorns looked like traffic cones as Chicago pressed up on the ball carrier, pressured them to make the pass, and then attempted to break when they got the chance. So many times there were passes to nowhere, to players that didn’t make a run, to locations where no one was.

    Chicago, in the end, simply outworked Portland. They pressured, kept their self-belief, and took the opportunities that the Thorns midfield handed them. The Thorns three goals were indicative of the way in which they tend to try to score goals (they try to play with skill over brute force even if this means bypassing the midfield to get to the skill). Chicago’s goals were scored because the skill of the Chicago players and the Thorns lack the ability to possess the ball in the midfield and close out games. Simply, there is no reason for a championship caliber team to lose a two goal lead on their home turf, unless that team has some very exploitable flaws in either plan or personnel.

    The main thing that concerns me is that it seems that the Thorns just don’t have seem to have the plan to stop the other team from shutting down the ball carrier, disrupting the attack and then pressuring the Thorns into retreating. Yes, it is early days for the Thorns if we look at this season being the inaugural step in a long journey. However, there are only three home games left and only five games left on the season. If there was a time for the Thorns to have an identity it seems like it should be starting to be decipherable by now.

    Certainly the more that the Thorns play together and bond together they will develop an innate chemistry. With that chemistry you hope that the right plan is in place to utilize the players and the bonds they form. With only 5 games left in the season and 2 games in the post season…. They better hope they effect that chemistry and plan really soon.

    Despite the disappointment there ARE good things at which to look. The Thorns played better for 74 minutes, scored 3 goals and seemed to be doing a better job at trying to have a consistent formation and style of play. However, if they are unable to have the ability to respond to the other team efficiently in the moment of play and dictate the game on their own terms they will have a very short end to the year for such an incredibly talented team.

    Four Quick Notes:

    #1 The 41st minute collision between Long and Mautz was as awful in the stadium as it was on the television later. Mautz came in late on Long without a real chance of winning the ball and left herself open to the judgment of the referee who awarded a yellow card.

    #2 The 14th minute challenge by Tobin Heath on Chalupny was one that I have seen given a red card. It was exactly the kind of challenge that MLS has been cracking down on after injuries to Javi Morales, and it injured Chalupny to the point where the Chicago captain had to be removed from the game.  Fortunately for Heath she, just like Mautz, only received a yellow card on the play.

    #3 Mana Shim has really begun to express herself in recent weeks, especially in goal scoring form, if we are looking for things positive to take away from this match.

    #4 The goal by Weimer was correctly called back due to her straying offside.

  • 07/26/2013 4:44 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    We did this one for the first time at the last match. We’re gonna do it again this weekend. Couldn’t be simpler:

    (To the tune of “Those Were The Days”… no, not the Edith Bunker one)

    Come on you girls in red, come on you girls in red
    Come on you girls, come on you girls in red
    Come on you girls in red, come on you girls in red
    Come on you girls, come on you girls in red

  • 07/23/2013 4:42 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    The last game of this Inaugural NWSL season is nearly upon us. Fortunately, we can attend this game and cheer our Thorns on to victory over the Seattle Reign!

    We’ve chartered a bus to take the loud and proud Rose City Riveters north for what could be one of the most exciting and important games of the season. The way this season is shaping up, we could be playing for home-field advantage in the playoff match!!

    We have space for 50 supporters on the bus and each seat comes with a ticket to the game ($52 for the combo). Plus, we’ve acquired 10 extra tickets at the group ticket rate ($16/ticket) which saves you a few bucks off of the regular price . If you buy the ticket to the match and are not planning on riding the bus, your ticket will be with the bus, so just hang out at Starfire until we get there.

    The bus will be departing from the Oregon Convention Center on NE Holladay between 3:30-4pm on Saturday, August 17th. The itinerary is as follows:

    • 3pm-4pm – Load up the bus, depart for Tukwila (we will have a stop along the way at the rest area just outside of Centralia, WA)
    • 6:30-7pm – Arrive at Starfire Sports Complex
    • 8pm – Thorns v Reign kickoff
    • 10:15 – Load up the bus to head home (we will be stopping at a rest area on the way home)
    • 1:00am – 2:00am – Arrive back at the Oregon Convention Center

    The bus/ticket combos can be purchased at:

    Personal food and beverage is permitted on the bus. We will not be providing a keg on this trip, though adult beverages are permitted as long as they are not in glass bottles. No glass is allowed on the bus.

  • 07/22/2013 4:42 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    Hi, I’m Luke and I had the privilege of attending the Thorns away match in Boston on July 21. It has been a whirlwind last two months, as I was on the road in Europe (check out a collage of photos with my By Any Other Name scarf around famous stadiums), but I wanted to make sure my return to the US coincided with a Thorns away match, and this one worked out perfectly.

    To begin, I should say that my college roommate Max and I were guests of Boston Breakers General Manager Lee Billiard, who is a friend of a friend. We originally had General Admission seats, but ended up sitting on the row right next to the field. Thank you so much, Lee! It was a wonderful day.

    The Breakers play at Dilboy Stadium (a multipurpose venue that has room for about 3,000 spectators), which is in Somerville, Massachusetts. A venue in a city outside of the namesake of the team usually prompts transportation worry for supporters. Fear not with the Breakers, because the stadium is easy to reach via public transport (a train, then bus, then five minute walk) and is about 7 miles from Boston city center.

    Max and I drove to the site and arrived around 3:00 PM, which was when gates were scheduled to open. We immediately noticed the positive sign that the parking lot was already entirely full (kickoff was an hour away). Outside the entrance to the stadium, multiple sales tents were set up:

    Once we came through the gates, we were greeted by another good sign: Ocean Spray (the primary kit sponsor for the Breakers) had a table and was giving out free packets of Craisins. I mean, how can you pass that up?

    We met Lee and were escorted across the track and the field seats. The stadium behind us filled up quickly, especially once the players jogged on the field.

    I know there was a lot of talk about the $4.99 livestream cost. It did look like a fairly professional production from being right next to the cameras and hosts.

    As the national anthem track was being pumped in over the loudspeakers (why not have former Thorn Jazmyne Avant sing?), I noticed a few other PTFC scarves waving around in the stands. It was quite hot in the Boston area over the weekend, so we were a bit worried about sitting directly in the sun to begin the match. Fortunately, the sun went behind the clouds for most of the match and I could see the entire field without shading my eyes.

    I would be hopeless at game analysis, so I will not try, but I did have a few observations that I picked up from sitting right next to the field that I otherwise would not have:

    • In the first half, it was very cool to hear Karina LeBlanc organize her defense. She does a lot of talking: “Right shoulder, Rach!” “Let’s go get another one!” (after the first goal)
    • Kat Williamson was basically slow dancing with Sydney Leroux all game.

    • Everyone calls Tobin Heath “Tobs” on the field.
    • No real chants to speak of from the stands, though there was a very fired up woman behind us with a Timbers Army scarf that was obviously quite into the match. Lots of youth soccer teams were announced, as well as a few birthdays.

    At the half, the Thorns did not go back to the visitor’s locker room – they stayed on the far side of the field and found a place behind their bench to sit on the ground and talk. For the halftime entertainment, a youth soccer team tried to kick balls as close as possible to the center of the pitch, while the Breakers guest drumline (they were great!) kept the crowd into it.

    In the second half, the elements became a much bigger factor. It seemed to me like both teams were pressing and it started raining fairly hard. Of course, this was interspliced with the sun breaking through the clouds, which definitely reminded me of home in Portland. Mana Shim scored in the 86th minute – one of those shots that went off the inside wheel, so it was initially difficult to tell if it had gone in at field level – and prompted a euphoric reaction from the Thorns supporters in the crowd (there were quite a few wearing Portland gear).

    The Thorns held on for the win and then I stuck around on the field to clap both teams off. Alex Morgan ran off right after doing a few interviews (she tweeted that she had to catch a flight). My ultimate PTFC highlight was seeing Christine Sinclair and Dani Foxhoven walk off the field together and thanking the University of Portland duo. I became a fan of women’s soccer after my friend Ruth was a goalkeeper on the 2005 National Championship team – she would give me her player’s allotment tickets frequently, so I saw Christine all the time. Being able to meet her in person was such a pleasure. She could not have been more gracious – came over, shook my hand, asked my name, and beamed when I talked about watching her at UP.

    I was quite fortunate with meeting players and coaches, but I know almost nobody wants to see loads of pictures (if you do, they are on my twitter). I will say that in particular, it was amazing to finally meet Joanna Lohman in person. Joanna wrote this absolutely must-read article in the prelude to the NWSL, which delves into how to grow and sustain a professional women’s soccer league – Joanna Lohman: How to market our new women’s professional league.

    It was this article that had me fired up from the very beginning about Portland having a NWSL franchise, due to everything Joanna wrote about as being necessary to grow the league. I felt confident that Soccer City, USA would rise to meet the challenge and I was inspired to help in every way that I could. This is especially important for me, because, as a high school teacher, I have students write to me all the time about wanting to follow their dreams and play sports professionally. In order for that to be a possibility for many, this league HAS to be successful. Thus, meeting Joanna and her family after the game was an incredible treat.

    The Breakers have a place called “Autograph Alley” (which was announced multiple times during the run of play – I found this to be off-putting and slightly disrespectful, but I know that the current audience for much of the league is quite young) where players go after the game to sign autographs and take pictures. Max and I were standing in the area between the alley and the locker room, watching players get besieged with requests. Every single one that was asked for something in the area obliged, from what I could see. All the players I talked to could not have been nicer.

    All in all, it was a fantastic experience, especially coming away with a sorely needed win. It has been so much fun to follow this team and help create support along with so many others. Hopefully, the ride continues all the way to the inaugural NWSL championship!

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