Two Portland Thorns FC players — Natali Kuikka and Rocky Rodriguez — made starts for their respective national teams on Tuesday. Kuikka started for the Finnish national team while Rodriguez got the nod for the Costa Rican squad.
Kuikka played 90 minutes for the Boreal Owls in their last EURO Qualification match. Finland dismantled Cyprus 5-0 in a match that saw Finland top Group E. Finland was coming off two 90+ minute winners against Scotland and Portugal, respectively, to secure qualification for the EUROS for the first time since 2013.
The Boreal Owls made Cyprus pay early. In the fourth minute, Kaisa Collin squared to Emma Koivisto, who knocked the ball into the back of the net. Two minutes later, Emmi Alanen played a through ball that exposed the Cyprus backline. Linda Sallstrom ran to it and doubled the Owls’ advantage.
Adelina Engman met a cross at the back post and headed the ball at the Cyprus keeper. The goalkeeper misplayed the ball and pushed it into her own net to make it 3-0.
Engman grabbed an assist in the 31st minute. Collin drifted in front of her defender and headed in a fourth goal for Finland. The Boreal Owls added one more in the second half through Juliette Kemppi.
Rocky Rodriguez started in the center of midfield for Costa Rica against Mexico in the Centro de Alto Rendimiento. Rodriguez was deployed as the creative midfielder but drifted all over the pitch. She worked hard defensively and helped link the midfield and attack.
It was a much tighter affair than the sides’ previous meeting when Mexico won 3-1 in the Estadio Azteca. Mexico had the better of the chances but Costa Rica created danger of their own although neither team could capitalize.
Rodriguez was replaced in the 77th minute. The match finished 0-0.