This is the Rose City Riveters blog, where members can submit blog posts. 

  • 05/05/2013 5:52 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    Coming into the game versus the Washington Spirit, I thought we could potentially see a lineup change for the Portland Thorns. Angie Kerr had been not been linking up well in the midfield, the large gaps in the interior between offense and defense, the narrowness of the Thorns formation in the first place and the play of Danielle Foxhoven had me believing that perhaps Cindy Parlow Cone would trot out a 4-3-3 formation that would put Foxhoven at the tip of the attack and allow Morgan and Sinclair to create for her.

    However, the move at this time was the aforementioned removal of Kerr for the 22-year-old Meleana Shim who filled the position that Kerr had previously held, namely rotating between playing up top with Alex Morgan and dropping back to provide support to Christine Sinclair.

    It has to be said that we have reached a point where we can admit that contributions of certain players in the Thorns system and Portland as a whole would be lost without the contributions of Christine Sinclair and Rachel Buehler. Sinclair has given up the ability to play simply as a forward and has been the person creating the offense for the Thorns in the midfield. With Tobin Heath not yet an option for the Thorns (and who knows if she will be), Sinclair has attempted to pick up the slack in the midfield and provide the cutting through balls and link up play that needs to happen. Meanwhile, Buehler has been the rock in the back four who has actually cleaned up quite a few of the mistakes that the Thorns have let happen whether through positioning, give aways, early season miscommunication, or just fine passes from the opposing team over the top. Even when it seems like the Thorns are going to be in trouble from a dangerous situation, Buehler seems to ghost in and pick the pocket or pass out for a throw and break up the attack.

    In the 12th minute Morgan settled a long pass over the top, turned her defender into an awkward position and looked to be brought down with a tangle of legs after which a penalty was called. Morgan strode to the spot and dispatched the penalty calmly to the left side of the net to a good-sized cheer from the crowd. This “good-sized cheer” rather irritated the Washington Spirit goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris who made some remarks later on twitter

    Of course the response from many fans in the stands indicated that perhaps Harris is just not used to there being travelling fans as a small group of the Rose City Riveters were there as well as a contingent of fans from the East Coast Platoon of the Timbers Army. There were, as well, a group of Thorns fans right behind the goal (according to reports from twitter). Either way, the Alex Morgan circus continues unabated and Morgan almost scored again as she pressed up against the Spirit defense, picked off nervous defender and fired a shot that just ricocheted off the post.

    The Spirit came right back and created a dangerous chance down the left side of Portland’s defense before Sinclair cleared the ball out and the Thorns blocked the ensuing shot from that.

    A perfect example of the play of Sinclair in the midfield is around the 22nd minute in which she wins a ball in the midfield, and while doing this the ball gets passed off to Dougherty, who passes off to Edwards to Sinclair to Dougherty who plays a ball to Morgan to Sinclair who tried to loft a ball to Shim. She generates that connection that certainly one would hope to see from your attacking midfielder, a position that the Thorns are still in desperate need.

    Even when the Spirit were able to break in the first half, Rachel Buehler was there patrolling the field and punting the kicks downfield for Karina Leblanc. This was a continuation from the second half of the Red Stars game in which Buehler started coming back to kick the ball back into play for Leblanc. While Leblanc hasn’t had the need for too many acrobatic saves this year it is worth watching to see if she has any issues pushing off when going to punch the ball or making a diving save, or if this is just a temporary strain/fatigue issue with Leblanc.

    Now I’ve written a fair few game recaps this season, and I’ve oft belaboured the issues with the midfield, the open space and the (at times) cheap giveaways (those giveaways that somehow Buehler seems to clean up) but it has to be said that so far the Thorns haven’t been challenged yet by that dynamic presence on the field that could take the game to them from the forward position. The game that gave them the biggest problem so far was the first game against FC Kansas City in which Kansas City was aggressive, well-organized and defensively compact enough to shut down the talented players of the Thorns.

    In the first half, Washington had a number of interesting opportunities on the counter attack but were unable to find the connection from the forward position often stranding players up top and seemingly trying to earn corners. Many times the Spirit kept 8 players behind the ball seemingly intent on stopping Portland first and then generating an attack.

    A quick word about Alex Morgan and the “jawing at the referee” that happened in the first half. Interesting to me that somehow we equate this as a special advantage for Morgan when this “leeway” seems to happen to every superstar player whether male or female. There was a decent chance she could have received a yellow card for what happened but, at the same time, it’s a part of the game that exists when you are a considered a “prestige player.” Yes, it might be annoying if you are the opposing team, but from Kobe Bryant to Abby Wambach to Michael Jordan to David Beckham, this tends to happen quite a bit.

    As the second half started it remained to be seen if Washington could generate enough offense to actually make the game… a game. Interestingly enough, they managed to find a dangerous counter within the first five minutes as the shot of the Spirit was only stopped by the thigh of Karina Leblanc.

    Minutes later, though it was the truly hard working Nikki Washington who pounced on what can only be deemed a truly AWFUL pass by Ali Kreiger and struck in a gorgeous curling shot from distance. Nine times out of ten that shot is booted well wide, well over, or struck out for a goal kick but in two consecutive weeks we have seen a Thorns player (Sinclair and Washington) strike home a beauty of a curling goal.

    After the goal, Portland began trying to attack down the right side of their offense while Washington tried to play down their right, but ultimately seemed to end up with a few long hopeless balls that were collected by Karina Leblanc.

    There was a bit of back and forth with Portland having the better of the chances until Nikki Marshall went in for a tackle on the field and came up injured. She limped off the field and was replaced by the multi-talented Jazmyne Avant. Avant was thrown into the fire immediately as the Spirit, already playing down Avant’s side of the field, started making an empahsis of coming down the left side of the Thorns defense. At the other end of the field Sinclair hit an absolutely filthy shot from roughly 20 yards away that Ashlyn Harris palmed over the top.

    Allie Long decided to jump into the yellow card lottery as she was cautioned in the 70th minute and the Spirit attempted a long ball into the box from the restart that ended up with a wide ball into the arms of Karina Leblanc.

    With a substitution and a positional shift, the Spirit went with a three woman back line and tried to overwhelm the Thorns midfield with numbers. The ability of the Thorns to hold the ball and reduce their giveaways allowed them to break away from the pressure and keep possession in the Spirits half for the first 5 minutes of the positional shift as the Thorns do have quite a few very talented players with the ball at their feet.

    Courtney Wetzel came on for Allie Long covering any issues with Long’s yellow card as Becky Edwards received a yellow card just previous to the substitution.

    The Spirit kept up with their tactic of long set piece attempts from deep that were cleared by Thorns players. Even with all the long ball attempts, one of the better tries for the Spirit came from rarely seen (in this game) combination play from forward position as the resultant long distance shot was off target.

    Suddenly the Thorns started giving up cheap possession, the Spirit switched the field and worked on Avant who was beaten by Mccarty who passed to Matheson who Avant probably thought was going to be covered by Rachel Buehler who (uncharacteristically for her recent play for the Thorns) seemingly deadlegged herself and fell down. This cavalcade of errors resulted in Matheson getting taken down in the box for a penalty. Matheson dispatched the shot and the Spirit got a goal to send the game to an exciting finish.

    This exciting finish was helped by the on-screen clock not counting anymore and the ping-pong frenetic play that resulted in the Spirit looking fresher and more threatening than they had for most of the game.

    BLARING CAR ADVERTISEMENT

    Still the Thorns defense stood up and managed to keep the game 2-1 for another road win and another massive statement in the NWSL.

    MOAR BLARING ANNOYING CAR ADVERTISEMENT

    It has to be said that while the Spirit threatened at the end of the game that at times in this game, it seemed like the Thorns’ biggest enemy is themselves. If they continue to play switched on and engaged they have the talent to overcome quite a few mistakes and the lack of a true attacking midfielder to win on the road against a number of talented teams.

    EVEN MOAR BLARING CAR ADVERTISEMENT AND MY C@R WAS BIT BY A M00SE 0NC3

    Oh wait… no… let’s not do that kind of intrusive stupid advertising, for that would be silly and would probably make everyone hate the car company that did that. My apologies for the people who did that above as they have been sacked.

    BLARING LLAMA CAR ADVERTISEMENT AGAIN

    Oh, indeed (llama) that is just very silly…

    See you back in Chicago for “Portland versus the Red Stars Redux“, or “Can Chicago learn how to Stop the Thorns” or… “how I learned to to love the Galumpki at a Polish food festival“.

  • 04/29/2013 5:51 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    If one looks at the tape of  the Portland Thorns versus Chicago Red Stars, one could be confused into thinking that there was no viewer left side of the field and that the right back and attacking left midfielder just disappeared into a black hole as the video for the NWSL game was shot on what appeared to be a tripod through a window.

    Such is life for the fan of the NWSL in the early days of the league as Portland took on Chicago at the Benedictine University Sports Complex April 27th. Beggars cannot be choosers though, and the ability to stream the feed is far better than not being able to watch the games. I can only hope that this league performs well enough that all fans of women’s soccer in North America can eventually make light of the field conditions and the video from the early games of the NWSL as they do now with the older days of MLS.

    Coming off an inspired win against the Reign, Portland looked to ride the momentum from the brief home stand into three additional points away from home. The Thorns continued their experimentation into the weird world of narrow formations as they focused their attack through the center of midfield. Seemingly giving up the outside while keeping their fullbacks back, the Thorns showed their impetus in combination play, groupings, and attempted one touch passing. They also have been dangerous from set pieces as a “How on earth did that not go in?” header attempt by Alex Morgan in the 13th minute was palmed away by goalkeeper Erin McLeod.

    Despite the Thorns’ good forward play and great results (so far), there is still an issue in the midfield as several times Chicago was able to pick up second chance balls and counter attack out to the wings to generate chances in the box.

    Let’s just have a chat about the field for a second as the “primary use for American football gridiron line and bouncy castle surface” jumped the ball up in the air like a basketball on a hardwood floor. At one point I thought Karina Leblanc would pull a Brittney Griner and slam the ball down for an “and-one” jam. Both teams decided to play soccer instead and pushed ahead as the Red Stars tried to pressure the ball when it was played into the Thorns players.

    As we are now into game three for the Thorns, we have started to see the pattern of play for the team. The fullbacks typically advance when the opportunity presents itself to advance but as a general rule they play defensively. Becky Edwards and Allie Long see-saw in the midfield to attempt to win the ball back (with Edwards staying relatively deep) and Nikki Washington and Angie Kerr both pinch in and play combinations up to Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair (that is, when Kerr isn’t playing up top next to Morgan and Sinclair isn’t in the midfield but more on that twist later).

    On the whole, the Thorns play a very narrow formation, even when they have the ball out on the wing the play collapses to that side leaving vast tracts of field open for the switch. With this available space, Chicago was able to intercept and push the ball up but was lacking the ability to find a final ball and this manifested itself in goal kicks and skipping through balls picked up by Karina Leblanc.

    While the Thorns had some very dangerous chances (and one fantastic save kept the game even) they certainly didn’t have much sustained pressure in the Chicago end. Head coach Cindy Parlow Cone, over the course of the first half, moved Christine Sinclair back into the midfield in an attempt to fix the issues with the connection in midfield/service and as the second half started, the Thorns had Angie Kerr further up the field playing as a second forward with Alex Morgan.

    With the Thorns still playing quite narrow, and pushing players up to the top of the field, there was still a sizable gap in the midfield that Chicago was able to exploit as they had two good chances in the second half that the Red Stars were unable to capitalize upon. As the game moved towards the 60th minute, the balance of a win, loss, or draw appeared to up for grabs, that is until the substitution of Danielle Foxhoven for Angie Kerr. With the dangerous Foxhoven playing up top, the Thorns went back to the effective and morphing 4-4-2/4-3-2-1 with Foxhoven up top playing off of and in front of Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair. This move began to reap dividends as the Thorns started to get on the front foot and nearly capitalized off a set piece header down for a one time strike at the 62nd minute that was hit off target.

    As the announcers for Chicago gently mocked the Chicago Red Star supporters group “The Core”, the Thorns took a corner kick that resulted in a mad scramble and another shot hit wide of goal. With the pressure mounting, the Thorns finally capitalized after a uncharacteristically bad pass from Chicago Red Stars back line. Morgan intercepted the aforementioned pass, fired at the keeper who deflected the ball into Danielle Foxhoven’s path and Foxhoven struck the ball home for the opening goal. After that, the Red Stars began pushing every available player into the attack presenting an opportunity for the Thorns forwards and attacking players to go directly at the back line of Chicago. That approach ended up costing Chicago a second goal as a beautiful counter attack by the Thorns ended up with Christine Sinclair hitting a hooked ball into the corner of the net from roughly 19 yards out. The goal surely would have been replayed quite a bit on Ye-Ole-Internets had the game not been streamed through a 1998 JVC Hi-8 video camera.

    Finally Chicago ran out of steam and the game was over with an important Thorns win 2-0. While Chicago certainly had their chances, the insertion of Danielle Foxhoven into the lineup and the progression of the lineup to allow Morgan and Sinclair to play off of the former Pilot gave a spark to the team. It has to be said that Foxhoven has been fantastic when given the opportunity to play and it might be only a matter of time before she starts a regular season Thorns game.

    The Thorns next game is on the road against the Washington Spirit at the Maryland SoccerPlex May 4th. With the Spirit coming off a 2-1 loss to Sky Blue FC, they will be gunning for a home win and it will be important to see how the Thorns lineup progresses with the play of Foxhoven at the forward position.

  • 04/23/2013 5:50 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    The tone of the game was set via Nikki Washington, who charged a lost cause ball down to the corner and pressured the Reign defense into caroming the ball off her back and out for a throw. With less than a minute in the game Portland was showing the pressuring, showing the instinct, and showing idea of a game plan that was missing from the very first game against FC Kansas city. This was followed up by Angie Kerr, Christine Sinclair and Nikki Washington combining for a ball knocked out for a corner, and the Thorns were on the front foot less than 2 minutes into the game.

    There was a subtle tweak in formation as the Thorns came out in quasi-4-4-1-1 with Sinclair tasked to link up with the midfield behind Alex Morgan. This move paid dividends as, while it removed Sinclair from the continued threat of taking on the back line, it allowed her to get on the ball and start that partnership that she had with Alex Morgan at Western New York Flash.

    With Hope Solo out with a long-term injury that will keep her out til late in summer and Megan Rapinoe strategically hanging out with the fine folks in Lyon, the Reign started Michelle Betos in goal and Jessica “I’m trying to fill Levesque’s boots” Fishlock from Wales, who did absolutely nothing in the game to endear her to the Portland crowd. More on that later.

    Cindy Parlow kept Nikki Washington out on the right who consistently made early deep runs in the first half pulling players with her. She also had Angie Kerr threatening who frequently tried to push up the field and combine with Washington, Sinclair, and Morgan while Allie Long played the pivot and create role in the midfield.

    Speaking of which, congratulations are in order to Allie long who pulled in the first yellow card in Thorns history at Jeld-Wen Field on a play where she came through the back of Kaylyn Kyle and promptly received a card, popped up and ran back into position.

    The Reign attempted to threaten on set pieces in the first half but never really could get a rhythm through the active Thorns defense who frequently broke up the attacks towards them and then speedily transitioned to offense. Often time these attacks by the Thorns offense transitioned a bit too quickly and passes would be misplaced into the feet of a dense crowd of players.

    Of course 13 minutes in brings us BIZARRO RAPINOE as Jessica Fishlock put an arm through the back of Becky Edwards, a trend that would be continued as Fishlock was the heart and passion of the Reign for most of the night. Fishlock was the majority of the Reigns thrust on the night providing a holding presence in midfield, an attacking presence and the only goal for the Reign.
    When the Thorns started to drop into gear they became more and more threatening. Offensively the team transitioned between a 4-3-3, a 4-4-1-1 and a 4-3-2-1, depending on the positioning and the situation. At times (on resets) you could see Nikki Washington pushing up top next to Alex Morgan and playing as a RMF , other times she would drop back and you would have Sinclair playing behind Morgan with Kerr next to her. The only issue that happened (at times) in this game was that the Thorns collapsed into narrowness and lacked the ability to spread the ball out wide.

    In this particular game (in the first half at the very least), the fullbacks for the Thorns stayed back and kept defensive integrity rather than bombing up the field. At the 28th minute, off a Thorns corner kick, Portland had their first chance as a rocket Becky Edwards header from a Nikki Washington corner cannoned towards the far post only to be plucked from the air by Betos for a very nice save.

    Even with the positive Portland play, the Thorns still had issues with the connection between midfield and the forward position. Both Morgan and Sinclair were required to drift back to the center of midfield to pick up the ball and knock it back to either Becky Edwards or Allie Long. However, as the game transitioned into the 30th minute, Portland started playing with their heads up and moved their lines further up the field. Dougherty (at right fullback) moved up the field establishing the line of contact at the half way line and preventing much of the attempted break out play of the Reign in the later stages of the first half.

    Then at the 44th minute, another great delivery from Nikki Washington cruised into Marian Dougherty who hit a glancing header through a crowd of players and past Betos for the first Thorns goal at home. The crowd erupted and the Thorns had their impetus for the second.

    From the very first kick of the second half the Thorns were all over the Reign, playing with confidence, and disrupting the passing lanes. Allie Long, Angie Kerr, Alex Morgan all combined with a final shot coming from Nikki Washington and out for another Thorns corner. Fueled by the goal, the Thorns played combinations, triangles, and one touch passing soccer.

    However, this wasn’t the reason for the second Thorns goal as that was the result of a turnover by the Reign and Christine Sinclair hustling into position to deliver a killer ball into a streaking Morgan who slotted it home past the keeper. This play devolved the Thorns attack a bit as they then attempted to play the “get the ball into empty space quickly” routine a bit too often after the goal which allowed the Reign (through Jessica Fishlock) back into the game as the Thorns stopped pressing the back line engagement zone up to the halfway line. Fishlock fouled, passed, and made a nuisance of herself until it all paid off in the 73rd minute as she one-timed a misplayed ball past Karina Leblanc for a goal. She then proceeded to pound the Reign badge, celebrate and overjoy herself a might much for many of the fans in Portland.

    I would be remiss to point out a few items as well including the thunderous applause for Danielle Foxhoven as the Portland Pilot replaced the other Portland Pilot, Angie Kerr, in the 77th minute. This Thorns crowd knew their history and showed their appreciation for the local talent that many watched play just a few miles up the road.

    The game was over, the team saluted the fans, the fans saluted the team and the joy was palpable in the stands. Everything went according to plan, from the fantastic tifo to the beginning of the chants to a Thorns FC 2-1 win. This was the beginning of something new, something amazing, fantastic and, despite all the prognostications and naysayers, it was something organic and authentic.

    Certainly a few songs were something you might hear at a Timbers match, just like many of the songs you would hear at a Timbers match you might hear at a Livorno or Chelsea match. However, the passion, creativity and love shown to the team were authentically Portland.

    A good day for one and all who came together to root on their city and their team. Next up, the Thorns take on Chicago Red Stars in Chicago. The next home game is May 16th and I hope to see you there.

  • 04/22/2013 5:48 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    Were you distracted by all the festivities this week? Did you miss the deadline for the logo contest? Well, today’s your lucky day. We heard about some good designs out there, and we don’t want to miss them. So we are extending the contest until Thursday, April 25, at noon.

    Vector files are best, but a raster file will be okay if it’s at least 12 x 12 inches at 300 dpi. I can answer questions about file types if you have them.

    Email your entry to rosecityriveters@gmail.com before noon on Thursday.

  • 04/21/2013 5:25 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    I’m tired. I’m very tired. But every minute has been absolutely worth it. Thank you all.

    It hasn’t all been easy. At every turn, there were naysayers. “Let it grow organically.” “Don’t force it.” “Don’t try so hard.” “You’re taking this too seriously.”

    Yes. We did take it seriously. And the work put in by dozens of volunteers resulted in what we saw this afternoon.

    We are, as promised, setting the standard for the support of women’s soccer in North America.

    I just got home and received the following email. It is posted here with the author’s permission. And I offer him my sincere thanks. 

    Anyone that felt the Portland Thorns FC supporters group was going to be forced from the beginning, rather than growing organically, would be very pleased by what happened today. This afternoon, we were able to see the fruits of a few dozen people’s labors. It was imperfect. It was awkward. It was committed. It was awesome.
            A true test of the quality of support came early for the Rose City Riveters, as a few members were forced to ask the folks in the 200s – opened up last minute by the Thorns FO – if they would come down for a few minutes to help with the home opener tifo. As it turns out, it’s much easier for 40 people to cut a thousand seats worth of table roll than it is to fill those thousand seats. The Thorns version of the North End is going to take time to figure itself out. But when people are willing to do the prep work for the tifo, and brave enough to ask for help when the GA section is roomier than anticipated, the opportunity for a new supporters group to succeed is great.
            Despite weeks of snarky comments on Twitter and elsewhere, the chants developed for the first printing of Riveters chant sheets were pretty good. No, not all were stellar, but they were fun and new, and – thankfully – not re-workings of old Timbers chants. Yes, there were PTFC chants and Rose City chants that were used word for word, but no chants featuring the word “Timbers” were used at all. This was a huge relief. We were even able to use a couple of anti-Seattle chants in the first home match. That was a nice touch.
            Bottom line, we all have given the Rose City Riveters and its organizers a hard time throughout this endeavor. Turns out they were up to the task, and appear poised to move forward in a positive – and big – way as the main supporters group for the Thorns. Patch and Sunday were the only capos the entire match, and should be commended for reigning in ten sections of fans to the best of their ability. The tifo crew did a fantastic job of planning the display, getting the player two-sticks designed and painted, then presenting them to our newest athletes upon completion of the match. It was nice to be excited and enthused over something that, more often than not, was the butt of so many jokes leading up to the home opener. Yes, there will be snark in the future, as there is with anything related to Portland soccer. But if this group of supporters continues on in the same way it began, I have no doubt Jeld-Wen Field will be home to the two greatest groups of football supporters the world has ever seen.

    Caterjunes

  • 04/19/2013 5:24 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    I went to the inaugural NWSL match in Kansas City this past weekend. I was one of 6,784 people to see two squads battle it out on a high school football field. I saw Christine Sinclair battle her Canadian National Teammate Desiree Scott for 90 frustrating minutes, I cheered on Dani Foxhoven when she came on in the second, and applauded the team at the final whistle. It was great fun. But it was also a very different experience than what will be happening at JELD-WEN on Sunday so I thought I would share a different perspective in the new National Women’s Soccer League.

    I wanted to go to support the new league and it just happened that this first match was a Thorns FC game. From my perspective, everything was lining up so well. I have been traveling to watch the US Women’s National Team play in various US cities for the past year so I’ve made friends with other women’s soccer supporters and 5 of us met up in KC for this match. I was the only one going for the Thorns, though. Fortunately, the Rose City Riveters family is already large and I was able to meet Patricia, Tara, Colby, and Robby from Champaign, IL (a 6 hour drive) and Luke Howitt from Long Beach, CA. Together, the six of us cheered on the Thorns that night.

    I knew there was a tailgate. It was stocked with sandwiches, chips, dips, soda and water. They had music blaring from a couple of cars and cornhole all set up, decked out in “Blue Crew” fashion. It was more than I was expecting for a first ever tailgate, but I was in. I got to know the founders of this supporters group, which got started almost as soon as FCKC was announced.

    The tailgate didn’t have a ton of people attend or stick around, but it was a great way to network fans into something larger. Blue Crew shirts were on sale as a fundraiser so they can start to do more and they were able to sell quite a few from what I saw. People were mingling and talking about women’s soccer and it was all a very good vibe.

    Getting there so early, I was able to see a lot of the set-up for the game. There was a slick Mexican food truck that ended up being one of the concession stands, a band started playing cover songs (and drowning out the tailgate music), Jimmy Johns had a tent and was giving out samples. ESPN had a reporter and a photographer there who interviewed the Blue Crew.

    At one point we even started seeing the teams driving around trying to figure out where they were supposed to be.

    About 2 hours before kickoff, a line at the gate started to grow. By the time they let people in, I’d estimate there were near 300 people waiting to get in. Mostly families of players, hoping to get front row seats. The seating at the Shawnee Mission Stadium is by section, so it was first come, first serve for bleacher seats. I went in and headed toward the top section, as we had a 2 stick that we wanted to keep up the whole game. That and I didn’t see many flags in the crowd so knew we could wave them proudly at the top and not interfere with anyone else’s gameday experience.

    Before the match, as the stands started to fill, the six of us were joined at the top by a couple of youth clubs. These kids were cute, the younger ones interested in our swag (scarves, hats, flags) and the older ones trying to talk smack about the Thorns or talk up KC. It was adorable. We let them wave the flags, we told them about the Rose City Riveters, and we even tried to get them to participate in PT-FC, at least until the older kids realized we were converting them. During the game, the kids went and sat by their parents and we were closed in on by more fans and families.

    When the teams came out for the first time, the Blue Crew got loud. They were having a blast. They even had a Rosie two-stick, though I don’t know what it said. I don’t think it was a slight in our direction, as we had just announced our SG name that week.

    I won’t write much about the game, as I’m not an analyst, but I will say that our players looked tired. The crowd seemed into it, from what we could tell. Again, we were at the top of the bleachers, but we heard the Blue Crew horns and drums for most of the game. A lot of the same songs were played on repeat, and we would interject “Thorns” in where we could to sing along. We weren’t prepared with many chants or all that organized, but we stood and had fun the whole game.

    At half they played a couple of audience participation games and had a couple of mascots come out and interact with the crowd. A lot like what I’ve seen at Pilots games over the years.

    The second half it started to cool down a bit (it had been about 70 degrees at kickoff, cooled down to maybe 50 degrees) and around the 75th minute I noticed that the crowd was thinning out a bit. We started chanting “Game’s not over!!” as it looked like the majority of people leaving were across the stadium, then the people in front of us left. I wouldn’t say it was a mass exodus, as a majority of people stayed until the end, but I was surprised by how many people left before the final whistle.

    After the final whistle, the teams made the rounds to thanks the crowd, as expected. We waved our flags as the Thorns came over. It was a nice moment.

    Then there were The Autographs. A phenomenon I’ve only seen in women’s soccer. Crowds of fans waiting for players to acknowledge them. A lot of FCKC fans looking to get Morgan’s autograph were a little distraught that she was whisked off to the side right away. We didn’t stick around to get any autographs, but it took us a little while to take down our 2 stick that was zip-tied to the top of the bleachers so we saw a lot of the hub-bub.

    We stopped by the merch table on the way out to see if they had any “Inaugural Match” gear but it was all FCKC gear. Some different stuff I haven’t seen from the Thorns yet, like stadium seats, mini soccer balls, lapel pins, and the more basic stuff like kits, hats, tees.

    All in all, I had a great time at the game, wished our team did better but it felt good to get the first match out of the way. Also, we met up with some KC supporters at the local pub, Sully’s and had some good talks about women’s soccer and our new markets. Everything I could ask for from 31 hours in Kansas City, really.

  • 04/17/2013 5:19 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    Let me just start by saying that I was hesitant to post this here. I was considering posting my views on this particular subject on my personal blog because I don’t want the group to have to deal with any backlash it might cause.

    But the backlash began long before I started writing so here we are anyway.

    We, your faithful steering committee, have gotten a couple of inquiries as to whether or not the Rose City Riveters will be more “family friendly” than the Timbers Army.

    If it were entirely left up to me, my stock answer would be,”Well, that’s going to depend on your family.”

    Sports fans – and soccer fans in particular – tend to be a tad saltier than the general populace. We yell louder, we sing louder, we live louder and, yes, sometimes we might swear. In public. Where people might hear us.

    And, for those who harbor ill feelings toward the Timbers Army because of its choice not to police (aside from instances of racism or homophobia) the language of supporters in the North End of Jeld-Wen, I’ll happily point out the 5,000+ volunteer hours the TA has performed in the community over the last year.

    I’ll also point out dozens of kids who have grown up in the atmosphere surrounding the Timbers Army. They’re good kids. Smart kids. Kids whose parents have explained to them the difference between regular, everyday language and stadium language. Their parents consider this a learning opportunity, a chance to learn about loyalty, community pride, and about how people sometimes have differing opinions.

    So, there it is. Taking a cue, as we so often already have, from our brothers and sisters in the Timbers Army, we will be on the lookout for racism and homophobia, but we’re not going to tell you not to drop an occasional frustrated f-bomb.

    For those who believe the potential for questionable language will damage the future of our team and/or its league, I humbly suggest you click here for a little insight.

  • 04/14/2013 5:18 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    Two minutes and seventeen seconds after the ball was put into play in the inaugural game of the National Women’s Soccer League, the players for FC Kansas city celebrated together just outside the 18 yard box. Two minutes and seventeen seconds into their first game and the Portland Thorns nose was bloodied.

    Coming into the first game of the year many pundits declared the Thorns championship contenders, but all it took was a ball played into a dangerous area, Rachel Buehler making a mistake and suddenly Renae Cuellar slotted the ball past Karina Leblanc for the first goal in NWSL history.

    Suddenly all the prognostications, ideals and guesses went out the window and the Portland Thorns reached that point of realization that they were indeed playing competitive soccer against a very good team and they indeed had to work at this. However, the reality is that this is a team (right now) in name only.

    This Thorns 2013 season will be a work in progress as evidenced by the issues with passing, connection and positioning on the field. During the first half, possession was squandered repeatedly with long hopeful balls up the field as the Thorns seemingly intended to bypass their midfield and get the ball into the feet of their two most dangerous players, Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair.

    When they did have the ball in the midfield, several times Allie Long and Angie Kerr had problems linking up and finding the ability to switch the field to open up the play.

    Certainly one must give credit to FC Kansas city as they pressed through the midfield with the wind of a opening game, a sold out crowd, and the intent of disrupting the time that the Thorns had on the ball. The tactic worked as frequently the Thorns were turned back at connecting through the midfield or launched hopeless balls up-field  Seemingly the Thorns were trying to “get up” at FC Kansas City quickly through the air, but the back two pairing for Kansas City were able to blanket and neutralize Sinclair and Morgan leaving them isolated up top.

    However, at the start of the second half, the Thorns started showing their qualities with better link up play and better pressing. While still missing that complete telepathic connection necessary to really be able to play with trust, the Thorns started connecting passes through the midfield a bit more than they had in the first half.

    The introduction of Danielle Foxhoven at the 64th minute and the small shift of the Thorns to a quasi 4-3-2-1 with Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair (at times) settling in behind Foxhoven seemed to provide a better attacking formation that allowed the Thorns to begin testing the FC Kansas City back line. Foxhoven became the tip of the spear and the move paid off almost immediately as Foxhoven was bundled over by Lauren Sesselmann in the box and the Thorns were awarded a penalty kick. Now this wasn’t the most stonewall penalty that you are going to see, but the intent of Foxhoven and the pass from Allie Long forced Kari Seitz to make a call and make a call she did. Thorns captain Christine Sinclair stepped up to the ball and dispatched the very first goal in Thorns NWSL history.

    There were times in both the second and first half where the brilliance would shine, the Thorns would keep position, they would pass, move, connect and threaten, but this style was few and far between and the ability of FC Kansas City to press, recover and hit on the counter attack disrupted the flow of the Thorns. Truth be told, the play was very scrappy at times for both teams as they looked like two groups that were still feeling out how to play with their new teammates. Given the high number of international players on both teams, the plain fact is that many of the players (like Morgan, Sinclair, Leblanc, Cuellar, Cheney) were playing with their National Teams these past few weeks rather than solely working on the bond with their new club teammates. I would posit that the real shape of both Portland and Kansas City will not be known until much farther along in the season.

    Going forward into the home opener against that fishing village to the north, the Thorns will hopefully be able to use the next week to work on the communication, spacing and positioning issues with the back four and the midfield. Given that the full team only had roughly two full games together in the pre-season (minus of course the absent-til-summer Tobin Heath), it makes sense that the Thorns would look choppy. Fans can look forward to the gelling of the starting 11 and a better representation of the Thorns playing style in the future. Next week at Jeld Wen Field I expect a raucous crowd of (potentially) over 15,000 pushing the Thorns on to a great performance.

  • 04/12/2013 5:14 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    Good day, gentle people of Portland, I greet you from a new location (the By Any Other Name Blog) roughly 24 hours from the very first kick of the National Women’s Soccer League.

    I’ll be writing recaps of games and general analysis here, and I do hope that you will join me after the games to talk Thorns.

    Having said that… what do we talk about right now?

    We talk about Portland and the Portland Thorns.

    Now there has been hubub about everything in regards to the Thorns, the NWSL, the league structure, players (Oh HAI Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan), supporters group names, scarves and even what t-shirt that the common supporter should wear to the game.

    What can be lost in all this drama is the reason we support.

    The Portland Thorns are new, yes. However the history of women’s soccer that exists in Portland is long and its legacy great. In my mind, the reason to support the Thorns has very little to do with simply “needing to support the NWSL” but rather everything to do with Team and Town. Now, you may notice that in the equation we don’t have the “RCR”. That’s because the foundation of that organization in every form is being built NOW. Right now,  the plans are being laid in place for the shape of the support for the Thorns.  If you have ever wanted to paint new flags, create new traditions, sing new songs that show your love of town and team, now is your opportunity. The slate for the Thorns is clean, but backed up by the experience and wealth of knowledge brought to a bubble by the 100+ year history of the game in Portland, and (for many) the years of experience within the construct of the Timbers Army.  The demand for and love of soccer in this city is such that fans can’t wait for even the first kick to show their love of this city and the women that play for it.

    And that brings us to the crux of this matter:

    This city and the women that play for it. There is history here with this squad. This isn’t just some loose organization of player with no tie to the area. Rather there are players here who truly love this special place.

    They (the NWSL) asked for four cities and my four cities were Portland, Portland, Portland, and Portland” – Christine Sinclair – Extra Time Radio Interview

    Christine Sinclair arrived for college in Portland in 2001. She did just about everything possible that could be done on a collegiate level for the Portland Pilots. She was Freshman of the Year, won two national championships,  won the Hermann Trophy (top women’s soccer player of the year in college)  TWICE, won the award for college woman athlete of the year, and set the all time division 1 goal scoring record. For some she is the best player in the world (although many could point to the OTHER forward for the Thorns, Alex Morgan). The ties between Sinclair, the Portland Timbers, and local Portland soccer extend as the coach for Sinclair at the University of Portland was the irreplaceable Clive Charles. Charles passed away of prostate cancer the year after Sinclair and the Pilots women won the 2002 NCAA National Championship.

    This was no small incident of one man having a small impact on someones life though as Sinclair indicated in an interview on the Portland Thorns website.

    Being recruited by many schools, he was the only coach that seemed to care about you as a person first and an athlete, second or third. My parents used to rent a house from him up in Burnaby well before I was even born. It’s just a small world. I have known Clive for my whole life, not very well at first, but when he came up to recruit me, he wanted to go hang out with my grandparents. It’s just weird how it all happened.

    The first thing that crosses my mind always is winning Clive that National Championship. It being the last game he ever coached and just seeing him hugging the trophy after they presented it to our team, 

    Read the full interview here on the Portland Thorns website

    You can see the love that Sinclair has for Charles, and for Portland when she talks. To me, it isn’t just talk as she showed when she was back in Portland for training.

    Christine Sinclair visits Clive Charles grave

    This  is the continued legacy that we ask for,  the connection the Portland fans demand from the players: an understanding of the town, of the people who shaped soccer in the area, and a love of the things that make Portland a tremendous place to live.

    It isn’t just Sinclair but players like Danielle Foxhoven and Angie Kerr (both Portland alumni) who bring that connection of Town and Team. It is up to the fans to reinforce the triangle and bring the connection of all three ideals of supporting the Thorns, Portland and the Rose City Riveters to light as we all gather to watch the Thorns play their first few games.

    There will be bumps in the road, both in terms of team and support. However, the unifying tie of Portland, the love of the beautiful game, and the bonds of friendship that this close community will create are what bring us together in the stands.

    This isn’t just a women’s team, or a men’s team. This is a team that represents Portland. It may be new, but it is ours.

    New isn’t a dirty word, it isn’t a word indicative of something bad, it is a word that means “Not existing before; made, introduced, or discovered recently or now for the first time.”

    Whilst the Thorns may not yet be entrenched in your heart, that is because this is a first date. Some of us will fall in love at first sight, some of us will fall in love when we learn the personality and character of our date; and some of us might swoon at the play. To grow in love is to experience life together, to share in that common bond of highs, lows and to understand those items that not only are positive, but (as well) negative.

    As Joe Strummer once said “The Future is Unwritten.

    We are creating this future, one brick at a time, one email at a time, one player at a time and it is on the backs of the fans that this team will grow.

    Now, let us gather once more to root on Portland, to sing for our city and our team as we have before.

    Onward.

    ~

    John Nyen

  • 04/11/2013 5:13 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    Hey, artsy types. We need your help.

    Now that we’ve settled on a name, we’re going to need a badge. We need something that represents us, that tells our story, that helps people understand all of the things we stand for.

    Here come those words again: dedication, strength, perseverance, loyalty, community.

    You can do this.

    Please send your designs to rosecityriveters@gmail.com by noon April 21st. We’ll pick the top four or five to present to the world and the winning design will eventually be used, well, EVERYWHERE. For your trouble, we’ll set you up with the new scarf when it comes out as well as copies of whatever items your crest appears on this season. In addition, you will receive FAME and GLORY. And, if you’re of age, someone somewhere will probably buy you a beer, though that’s not guaranteed.*

    Here’s the fine print: any and all submissions become the property of Rose City Riveters and may be reproduced in the future at the discretion of RCR.

    *Okay, if you win, I’ll buy you a beer. But I’ll need to see your ID first if you look like you might be under 30.



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