The Portland Thorns suffered their first loss of the season. As good as it might have been, it wasn't only due to Sky Blue FC's great defense. In truth, the entire Thorns squad last night had a very disconnected feeling to it. I'm not sure what was happening behind the scenes, if anything, but the team at large seemed completely incapable of stringing together a series of events that would lead to a solid goal. Which is also probably why we saw so many long balls being hoofed up to Alex Morgan.
Not exactly the brightest of intros to a Woman of the Match thread, but there you have it. Here are our picks:
Ryan: Kat Williamson
On numerous occasions last night Kat had to make a defensive stop on one of the fastest women on the pitch and each time she was up to the task. Her 1v1 defending allowed Nikki Washington to play offense rather than track back and help Williamson defend a speedy player. It could have been a lot more lopsided of a result if it wasn't for Williamson's defense.
Jonanna: Rachel Buehler
Frankly, no one really stood out in this match, but Buehler continued the stalwart backline play that's been growing more and more stellar as the season has progressed. Several times she ran down and cut off a potentially dangerous Sky Blue attacker --at one point, she used her strength to push a Sky Blue player upfield about ten yards, out of the penalty box, and out of any threatening area. The game could have been much worse had it not been for her work.
Geoff: Danielle Foxhoven
It might seem a bit surprising to give my pick to a forward, let alone a substitute, but really I was seeing nothing meaningful happen in the final third until Foxhoven came on in the second half. The Thorns' best chances came from her intelligent forward positioning. it's a shame that nothing came of them, but that's soccer for you. In the future, I certainly wouldn't mind seeing the Fox in the Box starting games.
Those are our picks, but what's yours? Who stood out to you last night?