Thorns Drop Points at Home to Winless Sky Blue FC

THE SCENE

The Thorns came back to the friendly confines of Providence Park for the first time in almost a month! They welcome Sky Blue FC, who are still winless on the season (0-2-9, 2 points).

This will be Hayley Raso’s first match at home this season, as she returned on the most recent road trip (1-1 at Chicago, 3-1 W at Houston), which was fairly successful, helping the Thorns stay in the thick of it.

They sit fourth in the standings coming into this one, tied with that team up north, who also have a game in hand, and advantage on goal differential. While North Carolina might be too far ahead, there’s still plenty of games left (11) to move up.

FIRST HALF

This one started much as you’d imagine, with the Thorns applying pressure early. However, it started to resemble more Sky Blue was having trouble stopping them, rather than amped up pressure.

Andressinha had two nice shots from distance in the first eight minutes, with Ana Maria Crnogorcevic missing a couple chances as well. Mallory Weber made some excellent crosses, both just narrowly missed by teammates.

Captain Christine Sinclair got in on the fun as well, having a great chance in the 20th minute deflected by the Sky Blue Defender. All credit to the visitors, as they seemed to collapse on the ball when needed early on.

The Thorns looked sharp on the defensive end as well. Lindsey Horan made a great defensive play to stifle a Sky Blue push, then quickly converted into attack mode, giving Crnogorcevic a great chance at the other end.

As the half dwindled down to the final ten minutes, the chances kept coming for the Thorns, but nothing was getting through yet. Sky Blue created a beautiful opportunity, but as you can see, thank Gaga for Adrianna Franch.

Right at the end, in the 45th minute, it finally came. Meghan Klingenberg’s free kick from the right side of the Sky Blue was headed by Sinclair, then redirected again with a Horan header and into the net. Thorns got their breakthrough, and that’s where the half ended.

SECOND HALF

The Thorns came right out of the gate to start the second 45 minutes of this one. Angela Salem subbed on for Emily Sonnett, which wasn’t surprising, considering the Thorns head to play that team up north this Saturday.

While the home team controlled early on, the visitors got some chances as well. In the 56th minute Sky Blue had a corner kick, and got a good header on it, but it was an easy save for Franch.

In the 57th minute, Weber made way for Raso, and to say the Thorns faithful missed the Australian would be the understatement of the year. A huge cheer, and the “Raso Raso Raso Oy Oy Oy” chant could most likely be heard in Hood River.

The Thorns started to dictate the tempo at this juncture. Not to say Sky Blue was just holding on, but the Thorns sped it up and slowed it down at will. Although, with Raso and Andressinha on the pitch at the same time, it was mostly sped up.

In the 76th minute Sky Blue had a chance, and Thorns player Celeste Boureille closed in on the attacker, and a PK was given to the visitors. This was a real head-scratcher, considering the challenge was not malicious, nor was it aggressive, and taking into account the referee had let much more go throughout this one.

While the Thorns continued the pressure, Sky Blue didn’t fight for the draw. They were definitely searching for their first win on the season. They had a few great chances, and only didn’t go ahead due to a shot that went too high.

When the final whistle blew this was much more of a loss of two points than gaining one. Just a gutted feeling in the stadium, on the field and in the stands.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

The Thorns definitely did not have issues creating chances, that’s for sure. Those were bountiful and seemed to be coming from every direction. Andressinha, Horan, Sinclair, Crnogorcevic, Weber, and Klingenberg were all creating chances throughout this one.

The Defense also looked strong, and well-positioned throughout. When Midfielders and Forwards needed to come back they did, but they never got to the point of hurting a possible counterattack.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Not capitalizing on more of those chances. When you can’t convert more than once you leave yourself open to having one defensive lapse, or bad call take points away, and that’s what happened in this one.

The call for the PK was questionable, but with the amount of quality chances the Thorns had in this one, there’s no excuse. They should have converted more, and that PK would have been a laughable response in the postgame question session.

BEST TAKES

I mean, Jamila’s not wrong here.

Can’t be all doom-and-gloom!

Pride on hand!

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE

Another very short turnaround for the Thorns, which seems to be happening a lot this season. They travel on Saturday to face that team up north, in the second matchup of the season between the rivals.

Luckily the team behind the Thorns in the standings, the Chicago Red Star, were a game up, and tied on points. No movement from below as Utah gained one point in their draw and are now one point behind the Thorns.

As mentioned before, there’s still 11 games left this season, but with results like this, 1-1 draws to bottom dwellers cannot continue.

PHOTO CREDIT TO JODY LIM, ASIAN REPORTER

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