Portland Thorns

Portland Thorns star Lindsey Horan helps lead USWNT to Olympic qualifying win

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Portland Thorns star Lindsey Horan helps lead USWNT to Olympic qualifying win

The U.S. Women’s National Team national team are Concacaf champions again! 

With a 3-0 victory over Canada at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, the USWNT secured its fifth Olympic qualifying title.

Second half goals from Lynn Williams, Lindsey Horan and Megan Rapinoe helped extend the United States’ undefeated streak to 28 goals. The USWNT has not conceded a goal in five qualifying matches.

Horan, a midfielder for the Portland Thorns, gave the U.S. a second goal in the 48th minute when she dribbled through two defenders and found the back of the net. Horan scored six goals total to finish second in scoring in the tournament.

Horan ran to her Thorns teammate, Tobin Health, to celebrate the moment. These two are the definition of friend goals. 

Up next, the USA will host England, Spain and Japan for the 2020 SheBelieves Cup from March 5-11.

Ann Schatz has all the respect in the world for Portland's soccer fandom

Ann Schatz has all the respect in the world for Portland's soccer fandom

Few have had the illustrious career of sports broadcasting legend Ann Schatz who not only was the first woman in sports broadcasting in Portland but even got an exclusive interview bite with Tonya Harding at the height of her scandal. Now, Schatz works for the Pac-12 Network and Portland Thorns. 

On the latest episode of The Bridge Podcast, host Justin Myers was joined by the Portland Thorns broadcaster who talked about what makes the Portland market so special compared to other parts of the country.

What a tip of the cap to the city of Portland that understands great soccer. And it is nongender specific: If you can play we are going to come watch you, we're going to cheer like the dickens and we're going to keep coming back. And that's this town. And that's why I love this city so much for what it has done. It's come one come all. If you can play, we're going to come. 

Schatz went on to say that due to the knowledge of Portland, commonly referred to as Soccer City, USA, they were able to fall in love with the Thorns in their inaugural season because of the stellar skill displayed by Canadian National Team forward Christine Sinclair. 

The Portland Thorns, when they began playing in the NWSL back in 2013, and the US Soccer Federation allocated certain soccer players to each team, the Portland Thorns got some terrific allocations and it started with Christine Sinclair: Canada's finest and had starred at the University of Portland and that carryover... being the captain [of the Thorns] and the face, along with Alex Morgan... [Sinclair] brought in the soccer purists and Morgan brought in those that were curious about this league... It was a perfect storm...

It probably helps that the Thorns won the Inaugural NWSL Championship in 2013 and then again in 2017. That type of play has kept the Thorns' fanbase highly engaged in the product, and that support greatly moves the longtime broadcaster who had to deal with a lot of hatred in Portland when she began her career here. 

When you go to home games and there are 16-17,000 people at a match to watch a women's game? It still blows me away. I get the chills. Sometimes it makes me cry. I am so grateful to say that I lived to be working in a franchise in a city that attracts over 15,000 per home game for a women's event. I never thought I would see that day. It is something. 

You can listen to the full podcast below.

Portland Thorns, head coach Mark Parsons agree to multi-year extension

Portland Thorns, head coach Mark Parsons agree to multi-year extension

The third-winningest coach in NWSL history is staying in the Rose City. 

According to the Portland Thorns, the club has signed head coach Mark Parsons to a multi-year contract extension. 

“Mark has done a fantastic job, and this extension is a well-deserved recognition of his results and potential,” Thorns FC owner Merritt Paulson said in a statement. “We are excited and proud to have Mark here long term and look forward to seeing his continued development as a top soccer manager.”

In his four seasons with Portland, Parsons has overcome many feats. He was named NWSL Coach of the Year in 2016 in credit to the Thorns 12-3-5 record, including an 8-1-1 mark at home. His team claimed the 2016 NWSL Shield, finishing top of the league in the regular season. 

In 2017, Parsons and the Thorns hoisted the NWSL Championship trophy after a physical match against the Courage at Orlando City Stadium. The following year, Portland made its second back-to-back appearance in the NWSL Championship. This time, the Thorns lost 3-0 to the Courage. Thorns FC made their fourth-consecutive playoff appearance and their sixth appearance in seven seasons in 2019. 

“I am humbled for the opportunity to commit long term to this incredible club, and I am very grateful to Merritt and Gavin for their trust and commitment,” Parsons told Richard Farley of Timbers.com. “It’s an honor to work alongside such talented staff and an ambitious group of players who relentlessly chase improvement each day. My family is proud to call Portland our home and be in such a special community with the best fans and atmosphere in women’s sport.”

At 33, Parson's time in Portland has just begun, and Thorns FC believe he's not only the coach of now, but of the future as well. 

Thorns add elite talent with addition of two-time World Cup winner Becky Sauerbrunn

Thorns add elite talent with addition of two-time World Cup winner Becky Sauerbrunn

When the Portland Thorns drafted forwards Sophia Smith and Morgan Weaver, as well as defender Meaghan Nally, in the NWSL Draft in January, the team’s future already looked bright. 

Now, a long-rumored deal for Becky Sauerbrunn has come to fruition, bringing tremendous leadership and experience to the Rose City. 

The Thorns announced Tuesday the acquisition of Sauebrunn, a two-time World Cup winner, via a trade with the Utah Royals. The Royals received defender Elizabeth Ball and $100,000 in allocation money as well as future compensation considerations in the deal. 

Sauerbrunn’s lived in Portland over the past five years despite playing for the Royals and now defunct Kansas City FC, now she gets to return home for good. 

“As a player, I’ve lived my life in two parts, where my life with my team has been away from where I (otherwise) lived,” Sauerbrunn said in a statement via the team. “Going to Portland at this point in my career, having lived there for five years, that changes. This move allows me to play at home.”

Sauerbrunn’s career began with Kansas City, where she won two NWSL championships in 2014 and 2015. She’s a four-time NWSL Defender of the Year, two-time league champion, Olympic gold medalist, and seven-time all-NWSL defender. 

Sauerbrunn shared a message for Thorns fans in a post on Twitter:  

“I’ve fallen so much in love with the city of Portland and I can’t wait to represent all that is good about it and playing in front of you will be such an honor,” Sauerbrunn said in a video on the Thorns’ Twitter account. 

Welcome home, Becky. 

Portland Thorns star Lindsey Horan kicks in a basket before Nuggets game

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Portland Thorns star Lindsey Horan kicks in a basket before Nuggets game

When she shoots, she scores, no matter what court or field Lindsey Horan is on.

The USWNT midfielder and Portland Thorns star recently took her soccer talents to the hardwood at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

Before the Nuggets tipped off against the Los Angeles Lakers, Horan wanted to get in the first shot of the game. This shot, however, was different than those who have come before her.

Horan kicked in a basket from the free throw line, drawing the applause from the Nuggets crowd.

“After last time I did the first shot, @nuggets said I could only come back if I didn’t use my hands,” Horan said in a tweet containing the video.

Horan makes this look too easy. Here's another look at the jaw-dropping moment:  

If the Nuggets need another shooter, count on Horan to deliver some trick shot magic.

Christine Sinclair nets 185th goal to become all-time international goal scoring record holder

Christine Sinclair nets 185th goal to become all-time international goal scoring record holder

Move over Abby Wambach, Christine Sinclair has just broken the all-time international record in goals.

The Portland Thorns forward and former University of Portland alum scored two goals in Canada’s Olympic qualifying match against St. Kitts and Nevis Tuesday in Edinburgh, Texas.

She now has 185 goals total in her international career, passing Wambach as the most prolific scorer in international women’s soccer.

The five-time Women’s World Cup veteran converted a penalty kick in the seventh minute for Canada’s opening score. Then, in the 23rd minute, Sinclair finished from the center of the box to give her team a 4-0 lead.

Both the Thorns and Pilots took to Twitter to congratulate Sinclair on making history! Well done, G.O.A.T.

Portland Thorns draft first teenager in NWSL history

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Portland Thorns draft first teenager in NWSL history

At 19, Sophia Smith has already accomplished more than most people do in a lifetime.

The forward out of Stanford has scored 24 goals and 11 assists across two seasons with the Cardinal. She has also spent time with the U.S. women’s national team, where she took part in training camp this month in Tampa, Florida. 

On Thursday, Smith accomplished another feat when she was selected as the No. 1 overall pick by the Portland Thorns in the 2020 NWSL College Draft. She is the first teenager to be drafted in league history.

Moments after she was selected, Smith discussed her decision to go pro.

“I just felt like this was the best time for me to take the next chapter of my life and my career, and I think there’s no better time to do it than now,” Smith said in a video on the Thorns Twitter account. “I went for it and followed my heart.”

Smith will be joined by a familiar face, forward Morgan Weaver out of Washington State, who was taken with the No. 2 pick. Portland traded the No. 15 and 16 picks, plus allocation money to the Chicago Red Stars to pick Weaver.

The 22-year-old had 43 goals and 12 assists in 85 games for the Cougars and helped lead WSU to the semifinals of the 2019 College Cup.

“It was a tremendous opportunity to be in a position to acquire a player of Morgan’s quality,” head coach Mark Parsons said in a press release. “She’s had an incredible six to 12 months, showing the physical, technical and tactical qualities of someone that has an extremely bright future. We are getting someone who has no ceiling and brings an incredible mentality to how she plays the game.”

Defender Meaghan Nally was selected in the third round, No. 25 overall, out of Georgetown University. In four seasons, Nally made 88 appearances, scored eight goals and had six assists. She is considered one of the elite defenders in the Big East conference.

Another trade was announced in the final moments between the Thorns and Reign F.C. The deal will reportedly bring a Reign player to Portland in exchange for the 34th overall pick. Parsons teased the move on Twitter Thursday.

It is rumored that the Thorns have acquired defender Christen Westphal.

While it's still too early to determine how the latest draft class will impact the Thorns success this season, one thing is obvious: the additions are likely to improve Portland's attack. 

 

World Cup Champ and Portland Thorn Meghan Klingenberg joins The Bridge Podcast

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World Cup Champ and Portland Thorn Meghan Klingenberg joins The Bridge Podcast

Meghan Klingenberg came to the Portland Thorns in a very unique way. In what turned out to be a 'ping-pong' type adventure, Klingenberg was first traded from Houston to Seattle in 2015. Then in 2016 was traded to Orlando but then Orlando turned around and traded her to Portland (in the deal that involved Alex Morgan). She has appeared in 55 games as a defender for the Thorns and also logged seven years ('11-'17) on the US National Team with 74 appearances and three goals. 

Justin sits down with Klingenberg to talk about everything from the NWSL, to her time on the national team and one of Klingenberg's favorite moments while playing for Team USA. Klingenberg and Justin also talk their shared love for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the food network.

Klingenberg also has her own podcast, "Meghan Klingenberg is your BFF" where she talks about whatever is topical, "whatever that I would be shooting the sh** with my best friend about... that's what I want to talk about on my podcast." One of the many topics brought up as an example is the pay situation in the NWSL. 

Just recently, it got announced that the NWSL would be increasing player salaries and increase allocation money which is used to attract top players:

- Non-allocated player salaries will go up from $46,200 to $50,000 

- Minimum salaries will go up from $16,538 to $20,000

- Overall team salary caps were raised to $650,000 (a nearly 20% increase)

- $300,000 in additional allocation money was given to each team

According to an article by Anne Peterson, the allocation money is used for "...players with contracts larger than the league maximum who are not allocated. Other criteria must also be met, but it may help the league's teams attract high-profile international stars."

You can listen to the entire Bridge podcast below:

Thorns FC's struggles continue in postseason, fall in NWSL Semifinal

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Portland Thorns

Thorns FC's struggles continue in postseason, fall in NWSL Semifinal

 

The Red Stars hadn’t defeated the Thorns since 2013, until today.

The third seeded Portland Thorns FC traveled to the midwest to play the second seed Chicago Red Stars in the semifinals of the NWSL Playoffs. In the win-or-go-home match, the Red Stars scored early off a long run by forward and NSWL’s leading scorer Sam Kerr in the eighth minute. Kerr’s goal proved to be the difference as Thorns FC was shut out in a 1-0 loss.  

At halftime, Thorns FC coach Mark Parsons told the broadcast that his initial lineup “didn’t stretch” the Red Stars like he had anticipated so he substituted midfielder Elizabeth Ball for striker Haley Raso. 

The substitution made a difference since Portland created much better chances in the second half. In the 63rd minute Raso made a run in the box but her shot was saved to keep Thorns FC scoreless. Three minutes later, a Portland free kick was on goal but was also saved by Red Star goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher. Then, in the 67th minute Parsons substituted off midfielder Andressa Cavalari Machry for midfielder Margaret Purce. But it wasn’t enough as the Thorns could not put one in the net.

Only four points differentiated the teams in the standings, but head to head matchups have been dominated by Portland including two 3-0 victories over the Red Stars at home. But, this game was played on the road where the teams tied 4-4 early in the regular season. 

Portland Thorns FC entered the playoffs in a slump highlighted by a 6-0 demolishing from the hands of the North Carolina Courage in Providence Park. Their poor play ultimately cost them a home semifinal game. By the game's end, Portland had surpassed over 300 minutes of gametime since their last goal. 

The Red Stars will go on to play the NWSL Shield winners, the North Carolina Courage who defeated Seattle Reign FC 4-1 in extra time on Sunday. 

Thorns partner with Social CBD, a first for the NWSL

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Portland Thorns FC

Thorns partner with Social CBD, a first for the NWSL

Portland Thorns FC has partnered with Social CBD in a landmark sponsorship that will set a precedent for other teams to follow. They are the first team in the NWSL to be sponsored by a CBD company. 

Social CBD has a presence in over 10,000 locations nationwide. They aim to lead a global conversation on CBD and professional athletes with this partnership. The company promises product with 0.00% THC.

The President of Business for Thorns FC, Mike Golub had the following to say: 

"We are excited about the opportunity to be the first women's professional sports team to partner with a growing, Portland-based CBD brand, which has become a leader in the industry and look forward to collaborating on more elements in the near future,"

President of Social CBD, Angelo Lombardi also chimed in:

"We are excited to be the exclusive CBD partner of one of the most successful women's professional sports teams in the world. With a product promise of 0.0% THC and setting standards for testing and strength across the industry, Social CBD is honored to be the first and trusted CBD brand to partner with the Portland Thorns FC."