The Thorns visited Chicago again and picked up a point in a 1-1 draw. While we in Portland were enjoying the petrichor from an afternoon rain, the Thorns were trying to play sportsball in a windless sauna. A highlight of the match was the return of Hayley Raso who tore around the pitch for the last fifteen minutes looking pretty much her old self. There were 15-20 Riveters in the southeast corner of the stadium making themselves heard, especially on second-half corner kicks.
Riveters and WoSo news and events this week worth noting:
- The Pride Parade was well-attended as the Riveters joined the Timbers Army serenading a large crowd on a lovely day. In a first, our participation was sponsored by Alaska Airlines. We marched behind their loud float, doing our best to be heard. Many thanks to the proud fans and members in the crowd who joined in as we marched past.
- In case you’ve been under a rock at the bottom of a well for the past week, the 2026 Men’s World Cup was awarded to a joint USA/Canada/Mexico bid. US Soccer then announced that they will redouble their efforts to land the 2027 Women’s World Cup as a complement. Portland will NOT be a venue for the 2026 event – Seattle and San Francisco are likely hosts – but it’s not impossible that 2027 could see matches at Providence Park.
- If you have been under a smaller rock, you may have missed the news that former Thorns great, Karina LeBlanc, has been named head of CONCACAF Women’s Football. She will be tasked with growing the women’s game throughout the region. CONCACAF has a lot of work to do to clean up their image and get back to their core mission. Leblanc seems an ideal addition to the management team to make this happen.
- Three Chicago players were held out of the Portland match as they were expected to be traded. Sofia Huerta, Samantha Johnson, and Taylor Comeau were presumably home packing. On Monday, the announcement came: Huerta and Comeau went to Houston, Johnson went to Utah along with Christen Press, and Brooke Elby moved from Utah to the Red Stars who also picked up a bunch of 2019 draft picks in the process. US international Morgan Brian was at the Thorns match and is believed to be coming to the Red Stars though not as part of the trade.
- Dagny Brynjarsdottir gave birth to a healthy baby boy last week. During her late pregnancy, she had offered unhappy posts about injuries and illness, but thankfully the labor and delivery were quick and easy. The child is currently known as “Boy Omarsson”. A first name must be picked from the official government list within six months. Most Icelandic couples wait at least three months before picking a name, in order to be better acquainted with the child as an individual.
- There was a change in our stadium last week: Levy staff are no longer operating the Double Post and 103 Beer concessions. After complaints of slow and impersonal service, the Pivot Point staff and management are back. Stop by and say hello to your old friends in black.
There have been five matches since the last Hammered Rivets and none of them were notable for attendance. League-wide the season-to-date gate is now +11.8% over 2017.
The vanguard are Chicago (+41%), Seattle (+17%), and Utah, which has nearly matched the 2017 full-season attendance of Boston and FCKC combined. Holding their own are Portland (-4%), Washington (-3%), and Carolina (+6%). The laggards are New Jersey (-22%), Houston (-38%) and Orlando (-41%). None of those three helped their cause with their recent matches.
The Chicago v. Portland match was the first ESPNews Game of the Week. The evening kickoff certainly helped the players, as it was approaching 100 degrees at midday but was 86 and cooling slightly by kickoff. In terms of ratings, we just don’t know. The broadcast did not make the top 150 shows on Saturday, so no numbers are not publicly available. We have yet to see any cross-promotion of NWSL on the other ESPN networks, but it’s possible and could result in a viewership bump.
The Thorns’ next match is at Houston on Friday night at 5:30; webcast on GO90. The official viewing party is at Punch Bowl Social in Pioneer Place downtown.
The team is not returning to Portland this week, opting for more nights in hotels than hours on airplanes.
Both rosters are unpredictable. On the Houston side, the big trade is done, and they may have their new players available. For the Thorns, Emily Sonnett and AD Franch traveled and could start if coach Parsons believes they’re ready to play a full ninety, or if he’s willing to risk a defensive substitution. Hayley Raso will surely get more minutes, if not a full game’s worth. Tobin Heath and Midge Purce are both out with ankle sprains. Lindsey Horan will not play due to suspension for yellow card accumulation.
Our next home match is the following Wednesday, June 27th at 7:30 pm, when Sky Blue comes for the first meeting of the year. The Jersey Girls are still winless and hopefully will go back home that way. It will be Pride Night for the Riveters, so expect a loud, colorful, and generally fabulous evening.
Onward Rose City!