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OCT 27
3:30 PM ET
ESPN
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Highlights from the Thorns at Media Day
The Thorns and Courage will meet in the NWSL Championship on Oct. 14
Tobin Heath speaks with the media ahead of the 2017 NWSL Championship. (Photo credit: Jeremy Reper/isiphotos.com)
Tobin Heath speaks with the media ahead of the 2017 NWSL Championship. (Photo credit: Jeremy Reper/isiphotos.com)

By Katelyn Best

Orlando, Florida — Portland Thorns FC spoke with the media ahead on Friday ahead of the NWSL Championship match against North Carolina (Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET on Lifetime). Here are some highlights from the afternoon:

On scouting North Carolina: Emily Menges

“They’re scrappy. They’ll never let down. They’ve definitely got the passion and the athleticism and all that. They’re annoying to play against. Other than that, I think their forwards, at least defensively, we’ve watched to where we know what they bring—whether we can stop them is different. They’re fast. They’re strong. They all have eyes for goals. We know what they’re going to bring, so there are no surprises coming from them.”

Emily Sonnett

“They’re an athletic team. They do not give up. I would say going forward in transition is to their advantage, with how athletic they are up top and the people they can bring off the bench. So I’d say limiting their space behind, and if the ball does come to the front and to their midfield, then limiting the midfielders’ space, and giving appropriate pressure is going to work in our favor.”

Hayley Raso

“Yeah, obviously every game’s a challenge with them, and we know this one’s going to be the same. We just have to continue what we’ve been doing, playing our style, playing the same way. Their forward line, their back line, their whole core of defenders is really strong. So we just have to match that on the day.”

On Portland’s league-leading defense: Tobin Heath

“The defense has been huge. I think it’s very collective, I think everyone’s on the same page. It’s almost like if one person gets beat, there’s another person, and another person, and another person. It’s a really great mentality to have. We always talk about defense winning championships. Our defense has done an amazing job, and it’s shown in our performances. It’s just a really hard group to break down.”

Menges

“I’m confident in our back line, but I’m confident in the way we’ve been defending as a team all year. It starts with our strategy up top, not letting them play out. It breaks down their team. It breaks down their momentum. It’s been the entire team’s defensive effort.”

On whether this is a chance at revenge for the Thorns (after last year’s semifinal loss to the Flash): Sonnett

“I wouldn’t say it’s a revenge match. I think both teams are at their peak right now, and I think it’s going to be a great game. Our first game was great. Our second game was great—they went 1-0. Then we went 1-0, and I just think these two teams have a tremendous amount of quality, and it’s going to be a good one.”

Nadim

“Definitely. Last year broke my heart, the way we lost. I think we’re a great team, but on that day their tactics worked. I hope it’s not going to work this time.”

Menges

“For sure. We’re a similar team to last year, as they are, but I think we’re a better-grounded team this year. We’ve overcome more than I think we did last year.”

On watching the league change since 2013 (the last time the Thorns played in an NWSL Championship match) Heath

“It’s cool, because the league’s evolved so much in those years. It’s changed a lot. To see those little growths, and look back on it, is special. Everyone here has contributed to that growth. It’s special to see that, and we just want to continue pushing that forward.”


Watch more highlights from Media Day as NWSL Media talked live with members of the Thorns:

 

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