I am a season ticket holder for the Portland Thorn – the women’s professional soccer league that is in its second year.
Last year, The Thorn won the championship.
This year has been rocky. They have a team with the FIFA Female Player of the year – Nadine Angerer, who is also a German National Team player. We have the Spanish National Team star (who is also up for FIFA female player of the year this year) – Vero Boquete. We have three US National Team players – Allie Long, Alex Morgan, and Tobin Heath. And we have the Canadian National Team start Christine Sinclair. And Jackie Acevedo who is a Mexican National Team player. Outside of those who play on the elite national teams, we have people who have played in and won national championships in college as well as part of teams in other world cup and olympic teams. Hell, one of the leading scorers in the league this year is a sub on our team. This is a very good team ….on paper.
But this year has shown that all the talent in the world cannot make people play together well. It shows how much change can create challenge. They have had fabulous games – and they have had some head scratchers as nothing seemed to come together resulting in them being overtaken by the other team.
It has been hard to watch at times.
Sunday, they came into the last game having to win. There was no scenario other than winning that would keep them in the hunt for the championship again. And the toughest part? They were going up against the #1 in the league team – a team they have lost to several times already – a team that has a great record in the league mainly because they spent part of the season undefeated.
This team on Sunday was calm – they passed – they were where they should be – they were not making mistakes – they were focused on their goal – to win. And even when the ref and line judges were or were not calling things in their favor (they denied a goal that should have been allowed) – they kept calm, kept to their plan, and kept to their mission.
In the end, Angerer (the keeper) kept Seattle from finding the net. And Morgan finally found the back of the net.
17,000+ people in the stadium erupted – the cheers kept on until the last whistle blew. And the celebration continued long after the other team left the field as The Thorn walked around the field waving and applauding their fans.
Next Sunday they go up against a team they have played 3 times and won 2 of the 3 times – the last matching resulting in a 7-2 win. Their chances look good. I would love for them to pull it out again and win it all. It won’t be easy – but if they pull together and play like the champs they are again – then their chances are good.