The Washington Spirit held on for a 1-1 draw against the Thorns in the first Friday night match of the season. The construction crane was lit up red to match the hue of the crowd, if not the team, which wore the new white kits.
The Riveters enjoyed being dry and coat-free, but appreciation for the pleasant conditions was tempered by the missed penalty kick and follow-up header which left two points on the table. Concern for the health of everyone’s favorite Canadian also muted the evening. But drama-free soccer would be boring, and nobody wants that.
The notable outside-the-lines events of the week related to basic human needs: food and clothing.
Need #1: Food
Just before kickoff, rumors began that the viral #SaveTheTots campaign was succeeding. Ben Forsythe, the director of operations at Providence Park was spotted in concourses and may have seen this:
Confirmation from Forsythe arrived via Twitter on Saturday: tater tots will return to Providence Park!
Need #2 – Clothing
The Thorns wore their new white kit for the match and it looked pretty sharp. There are two versions available at the store—the authentic in women’s and youth cuts only, and the replica also available in men’s sizes. There is a vast difference between the two, with the authentic being clearly superior.
First to the eye is the width of the hoops, which are much thicker in the replica, to the point that the all-important two stars are nearly invisible. Next, the hoop color is different, with the replica kit being darker and thus further hiding the stars. On the replica, the Providence logo is smaller and off-center vertically, and the Nike swoosh is shifted inward. The general reactions I saw were meh-to-negative on the replica kit, and muted-to-excited for the authentic. We will see how many of each begin to appear in the stands in the coming weeks.
The Eisbär FC scarf sold out in one day, a first for Riveters’ merchandise. A rerun is coming soon, but it may go quickly also. If you want one, I would suggest checking at Fanladen before each match.
The attendance at Providence Park was 14,485, which is fourteen whole people more than last year’s second home match. After two gamedays, Portland’s attendance is up 335 over 2017, an increase of one percent. The Thorns are still well below last year’s season average. While that doesn’t seem too good, it’s notably better than the rest of league, which had a rotten week.
Orlando’s 3,890 was their lowest attendance ever. They were competing with a state youth soccer tournament, which probably drew off a chunk of their core support. Chicago hosted two games last week and drew 4,740 for the pair. North Carolina also had two home games and drew a total of 6,969.
Season-to-date league attendance now is up 27% over last year’s average—that figure was 47% last week.
Lifetime’s ratings again failed to break into the top 150 shows on Saturday in spite of offering an entertaining match between the Utah Royals and North Carolina Courage.
The Thorns first visit to Rio Tinto stadium near Salt Lake City is this coming Saturday at 6:00 pm. The broadcast is on GO90 and the official viewing location is North 45 Pub not far from Providence Park.
We’ll see how good the Royals really are, and what type of hosts the Court are. A fair number of Riveters are making the trip. There should be some interesting stories from the Wasatch Front for next week’s edition.
Onward Rose City!