Tobin Heath

Thorns rebound in a big way against Houston

Thorns rebound in a big way against Houston

How do you rebound from the worst loss in franchise history? By coming out and taking down a pesky Houston Dash team to lock in a trip the playoffs. It was a much-needed three points for Portland, and "much-needed" way be an understatement. After two straight losses, Portland found itself in search of its identity and in fear of falling out of the playoff race. A loss to Houston would have still left the door open for both Utah and Reign FC to jump the Thorns. Not anymore.

The win locks in the playoffs, and also keeps the Thorns in the hunt for a postseason home game. Portland (39pts) now sits just two points behind second-place Chicago (41pts). The Red Stars have just one game remaining, while the Thorns have two. All this means is that Portland controls its own destiny - Win out, and you're guaranteed to finish in second place (North Carolina has already locked in first place).

All of this is just a long way of saying this was a big, big win for the Thorns. 

Smaller score, bigger match:

Last match the Thorns and Courage combined to score six goals - too bad the Courage scored all six of them. On Saturday the Thorns wiped that bad taste out of their mouth and held Houston scoreless. Said Thorns' star Tobin Heath, who happened to score the only goal of the match, "the team came out with a lot of fire and character, and a good response from last week. That was really positive." 

After that loss to North Carolina, Coach Parsons talked about how his squad needed to find its identity. They needed to remember what it meant to be a Thorn. It's something he says his team did on Saturday. "We can build and look to improve our quality and look to improve our strengths, and how we can play a little bit better while taking care of the most important thing, which was fight and work like Thorns. I thought we did that tonight."

Bigger than Soccer:

Prior to Saturday's match, the team sported special "I'm not done yet," t-shirts to support teammate Emily Menges. Menges and her family started the Bobby Menges "'I'm Not Done Yet" Foundation after her younger brother Bobby lost his battle with cancer. The foundation raises funds to help "adolescent patients with serious, long-term, and chronic illnesses transition from pediatrics to adulthood." The Thorns showed their support by wearing these specially designed shirts during warm-ups. Fans can purchase them as well, with 30% of all sales going to support the foundation. Unfortunately, the shirts are sold out right now but may be restocked in the near future. You can find where to purchase them HERE.

Next Up:

The Thorns return to the pitch on Sunday, on the road in Tacoma. This could be one of the tougher matches of the season, with Reign FC likely needing a victory to hold on to hopes of making the playoffs. You don't want to miss it. Kickoff is set for 11:00 am at Cheney Stadium. 

20,000+ watch as Thorns chase the Shield with 3-1 win over Washington

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Portland Thorns Twitter

20,000+ watch as Thorns chase the Shield with 3-1 win over Washington

More than 20,000 fans once again packed Providence Park for tonight's Thorns game, this time to see them host the Washington Spirit. 

Portland played at the level we have come to expect of the #1 ranked team in the NWSL (currently with 33 points). You can watch all three of the goals here:

The Thorns are chasing their first NWSL Shield since 2016, which is awarded to the team with the best regular season record. 

If you missed the game, or just want to watch it again, you can check it out over at Yahoo Sports. 

Social Media was abuzz after the game as the excitment builds towards the postseason as well as a milestone night for Tobin Heath:

https://twitter.com/GregFawver/status/1162945856779120641

Next up for the Thorns is a match vs. the Red Stars on the 25th. 

Portland Thorns shine at Providence Park and at the Rose Bowl

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USATI

Portland Thorns shine at Providence Park and at the Rose Bowl

Portland Thorns players were on full display on Saturday night. 

Not only did the Thorns pick up another point with a draw (1-1) vs. New Jersey at Providence Park thanks to a Christine Sinclair penalty kick goal in the first half but fellow Thorns, Tobin Heath & Lindsey Horan, were busy scoring goals at the Rose Bowl where the Women's National Team was taking on Ireland in the first game of their post-World Cup Tour. The Thorns now sit in 2nd place in the NWSL standings just behind North Carolina. The two teams will face off on Sunday next week. 

Sinclair's goal for the Thorn's came after this foul:

Heath and Horan both knocked in pretty goals in the exhibition: 

The Portland Thorn's players making headlines Saturday night is no surprise. Both Heath and Horan were key pieces to the Women's National Team bringing home the FIFA World Cup and Christine Sinclair (who plays for Canada) has been holding down the fort with the Thorns and has now notched a goal in four straight games. 

The Thorns are back in action against the Reign on Wednesday at 7pm. 

The National Team tour picks back up August 29th vs. Portugal at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. 

July 2019 proclaimed Thorns FC Month by Mayor Ted Wheeler

July 2019 proclaimed Thorns FC Month by Mayor Ted Wheeler

Four representatives from the Portland Thorns were invited to this morning's City Council meeting so that Mayor Ted Wheeler and the Council could proclaim July 2019 Portland Thorns FC Month in recognition of their outstanding efforts at the FIFA World Cup where the four Americans brought home a title and five other Thorns competed for their home countries. 

Watch the video above to hear from the Thorns on their experience in Paris and the proclamation from Mayor Ted Wheeler. 

BRACE yourself: World Cup Thorns return to Providence pitch in grand fashion.

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Portland Thorns

BRACE yourself: World Cup Thorns return to Providence pitch in grand fashion.

Soccer City USA was on full display on Wednesday. For the first time since the World Cup ended earlier this month, a full-strength Thorns squad took to the pitch at Providence Park. 

Nine different Thorns represented their respective countries during the World Cup, including four on the championship United States squad. 

As they returned home they had quite the welcoming committee. A Portland Thorns record 22,329 fans filled Providence Park, the second-largest crowd in NWSL history.  "Unbelievable. On a Wednesday night, a new Thorns record and only 700-800 away from a new NWSL record," said head coach Mark Parson of the supporters. "Riveters, Portland Thorns fans, Portland as a city, this community... I feel like it's every couple of months they set a new standard and then they smash a new standard. 

Chants of "equal pay" rang through the stadium and the crowd got louder and louder as the opening kick approached. The chants turned to roars as the returning national players were honored during a pregame ceremony. The electric atmosphere in the stands was somehow surpassed by the electric play on the field. 

A full-strength squad for the Thorns is a force to be reckoned with and on this night the Houston Dash played the role of the sacrificial lamb. 

Goals came and they came fast. Just 23 minutes into the action Portland had not one goal, but four. That's right - FOUR! Scoring four goals in an entire game is impressive enough, but to see it in just more than 20 minutes of action is unreal. It was like watching a video game. The Thorns scored goals at will. Haley Raso, fresh off representing Australia in the World Cup, tallied a brace, scoring the team's second and fourth goals of the match. 

"That first 25-30 minutes was full-throttle Thorns. Electric football." said Parsons, "I feel bad for Houston in the sense they were facing a Thorns team that was flying on all cylinders" 

The team was flying both figuratively and literally. Lindsay Horan flew threw the air for a spectacular bicycle kick that was just inches away from scoring the best goal of the NWSL season. Even as a near-miss the attempt was a jaw-dropper. 

"We haven't all been home together in so long," said Horan, "We just wanted to come out and put on a show."

Horan wasn't the only returner turning heads. Tobin Heath played her first game back with the Thorns and along with Team Canada's Christine Sinclair, helped anchor the Thorns attack. 

"I think that was the best half of football that Tobin (Heath) and Sinc (Christine Sinclair) had between the lines... great night for everyone being back together, " said Parson. 

Speaking to Thorns' announcer Ann Schatz after the game, Heath said of her and Sinclair's performance, "Mark (Parsons) was saying something about Sinc and I, and we were just like, 'we just missed each other, that's all it was.' It's just great to be back."

They miss each other, we missed them, and a 5-0 victory over the Dash was a great return gift. 

It was a great night for the players to be back and it was a great night to have them back. However, the return will be short-lived. The four players representing Team USA - Heath, Horan, Emily Sonnett, and Adrianna Franch -  will miss the Thorns' next match while Team USA plays a friendly against Ireland at the Rose Bowl. 

Tobin Heath brings 2016 to a close on a high note

Tobin Heath brings 2016 to a close on a high note

Written by John Stupak

It’s something we’ve known all throughout the year, whether we watched the Portland Thorns or the Women’s National Team, but it can now be declared with little doubt; we have the best women’s soccer player in the nation.

With little fanfare and minimal media coverage, Thorns midfielder Tobin Heath has been named the 2016 Soccer Female Player of the Year.

Tobin’s award marks a welcome high point in what has been an up and down year for sports in Oregon. The Oregon Ducks football program was atrocious most of the year. But, the Oregon State Beavers finally won a Civil War game. The Portland Trail Blazers had a promising 2016 but has underwhelmed going into 2017. The defending MLS Cup Champs, the Portland Timbers, saw its championship trophy being handed over to the Seattle Sounders (ouch!). Tobin’s own NWSL team, the Thorns, had a record-breaking regular-season but lost in the playoffs at home.

Tobin’s accomplishment, while individual, marks a final high note in 2016 for not only the Thorns, but for Oregon sports in general.

Heath had a NWSL-record 10 assists this season, which is amazing considering she missed a significant amount of time with the national team where she also recorded a career-best six goals and eight assists while playing the second most minutes on the team. She helped the Portland Thorns win the regular season title and was named to the NWSL Best XI. She also recorded two assists during the 2016 Olympic Games. Not a bad year by any stretch.

At only 28, Heath should still be entering her prime soccer years, which bolds well for the Thorns’ bid to win another championship. Heath was able to flourish under first-year coach Mark Parsons; she awed the Providence Park crowd with her footwork and perfect set-ups. Nearly a decade into her career, Heath can still dazzle amongst the best while embracing her new role as a leader among teammates. Without doubt, Heath is as much fun to watch as any soccer player on the planet, men’s or women’s.

So, let’s give some yuletide cheer to Heath as we wrap up this most uneven year. She deserves it. The fans deserve it. Portland deserves it. There will be no parades in downtown, they would all be canceled due to weather, anyway. 2016 was not the year we were have all hoping it was going to be for a variety of reasons. But, it should be said one last time before we close it out, we do have Tobin Heath.

 

Thorns remain undefeated with 2-0 win over Red Stars

Thorns remain undefeated with 2-0 win over Red Stars

There were no magic second half equalizers this time around for the Red Stars. In fact, there were no goals at all. Portland held the Red Stars scoreless in a dominating performance to extend their club record undefeated steak to 10 matches.

The Thorns wasted little time getting on the board in this one. Six minutes into the match Christine Sinclair intercepted a Chicago dribble just feet from the goal, and in one smooth motion sent the ball to the back of the net. It was the third straight match the Canadian National Team star has scored a goal, and the second straight game in which her goal ended up being the eventual game winner.

With the early lead all the Thorns needed to do was finish with smart defense, and they did just that. Much like the last time these two met, the Thorns held the Red Stars at bay. For much of the game Chicago struggled to get in a real flow. When they did have a chance to walk through the door, the Portland backline and goalkeeper Michelle Betos would slam the door shut.

To their credit, the Chicago defense was strong as well. Both defenses force turnovers, and for much of the game it was a back and forth of possession changes.

When Portland eventually founds another chance to score, they took full advantage, Portland picked up a nice little cushion in the 25th minute, scoring goal No.2 two off a beautiful set piece. Tobin Heath sent the corner kick into the box where Amandine Henry was waiting for the header. Henry’s header ended up bouncing off Nadia Nadim’s head and into the net. Nadim was credited with the goal, Henry with the assist.

Speaking of Amandine Henry, the newest Thorn had quite the debut. She looked comfortable on the pitch, was not afraid to push the ball, and had a few key defensive stops to help Portland pick up the clean sheet. It was exactly what the Thorns needed to pick up the win.

Final Score: The Thorns remain undefeated and move into first place in the NWSL with a 2-0 win over the Chicago Red Stars:

Standout Thorns: To no one’s surprise Christine Sinclair had another standout game. Sinclair has been in rare form as of late, and it was no different tonight. She scored the games opening goal, marking her third straight match in which she has sent the ball home. It was also the second straight game in which she scored the first goal for the Thorns, both eventual game winners. She almost had a brace as well, but her second shot just skimmed the cross bar. Brace or not, it was another wonderful game for the Portland striker.

Next Up: The Thorns don’t have much time to rest before traveling to Florida to take on the Orlando Pride. Kickoff is set for 2:00pm on Sunday, June 26.