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Hammered Rivets: Pride and precipice

After the Thorns match we take a brief look at happenings off the pitch.

The Houston Dash proved to be generous hosts, parting the defensive seas in front of their net for the Thorns to pour in goals. The 3-1 final score flattered Houston, but surely disappointed the few fans attending on a steamy Friday night. The various viewing locations in Portland may have nearly matched the number in the BBVA Compass Stadium stands.

The Thorns were themselves generous hosts the following Wednesday, giving up a poorly played 1-1 draw to the worst team in the history of the league. But it was Pride Night at Providence Park, so there were consolations for the many Riveters in the house.

Zarek Valentin started off the Pride Night celebrations by working with the Riveters table service crew to hand out rainbow ribbons in support of the Sexual & Gender Minority Youth Resource Center (SMYRC). The concourse was jammed with folks lined up for selfies and ribbons. On a related note, Hayley Raso wore a rainbow ribbon in her hair for the match.

The table service crew plus a celebrity
Zarek says “You need a ribbon”

Pre-kickoff, the Riveters displayed another first: a tifo with a tutu (sorta). The stage banner wore a tutu also. See the lead photo above.

As explained by the official Riveters social media account:

For those curious about the Tifo display and would like more detail:
The top row of flags are: asexual, transgender, straight ally, genderqueer
The lower row of flags are: pansexual, genderfluid, bisexual, and the modified LGBT rainbow with added black and brown stripes
We hope to express inclusivity and truly celebrate diversity- that we acknowledge the value and identity of people beyond just a letter in an acronym.
We see you. You matter. You are our family.
We are truly proud and happy to have you with us. We love you. So much.
And we all have our differences, but there is an incredible, unifying joy when we come together in our shared love and enthusiastic support for Portland Thorns FC.

During the match, we were graced by a visit from ex-capo Hailey Kilgore, now of Broadway fame. Ever since Hailey left Portland, the Riveters have shown a sash on the main stage banner dedicated to Hailey and her future Tony award. She signed that sash on Wednesday, adding “There’s no place like home”.

After the match, Meghan Klingenberg brought Maryn Chapman, mounted on her shoulders, onto the main stage to exchange high-fives with the Riveters. Maryn, aka #MightyMaryn, is a seven-year old girl from Salem who is being treated for a serious brain cancer. The night’s match was dedicated to her battle. You can read the details of her day with the Thorns here.

The night ends with tifo returning to the factory

The Numbers

There have been seven matches since the last Hammered Rivets. Two of these -- Utah’s 8,504 and Washington’s 4,005 -- were their respective teams’ highest attended since opening day. Portland’s 18,237 was a season high.

As a result of those good turnouts, the league-wide season-to-date attendance is now up to 13% over 2017, reversing the declining trend of the past couple months.

The game-of-the-week broadcast was Washington hosting Orlando, on ESPNews. It did not make the top 150 shows on Saturday so no numbers are publicly available. With the Men’s World Cup dominating the sports atmosphere, a lot of the top shows were about soccer — just not NWSL.

The big media news this week is the impending demise of GO90. Verizon made it official; they are pushing GO90 over the cliff on July 31. Their announcement provided no details on plans for alternatives, except that their NFL and NBA content will shift to Yahoo Sports. They did note that all their content providers have been notified. Will NWSL move back to YouTube, shift to Yahoo Sports, bring the streaming in-house, or move all media operations to ESPN? Will Vista Worldlink still be doing the production? Or will each team do their own again? No word yet from the league, but the abyss is growing closer by the day.

Up Next

The Thorns next head north to take on the Reign as the nightcap of a Saturday doubleheader. The Riveters will be taking four buses, one for the Reign match and the other three for both Timbers and Thorns. This means almost 200 bus riders — the most ever for Reign away. In addition, lots of Riveters will be making their own way to the fishing village in time for the match.

Hayley Raso broke the Curse of Memorial last year. Here’s hoping that was the first in a long streak of Thorns wins in Seattle.

Our next home game is Friday, July 6 at 8:00 pm versus the Utah Royals. Gates will open at 6:30; the game will be one of the remaining few to be shown on GO90.

Onward Rose City!