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Thorns defeat re-christened FC Tucson Women

Defense proves strong, but can't withstand experienced Portland soccer side

A well-organized back line kept FC Tucson Women in contention against the Portland Thorns FC in the local soccer team’s very first match under their new name, but the pros from Rose City came away with a 2 – 0 win.

The Thorns many tries to get in the box were stymied by FC Tucson’s defense, which featured University of Arizona player Mykaylin Rosenquist and Analisa Marquez, a former Wildcat who has played for the Boston Breakers and Atlanta Beat.

They still kept the ball in the Tucson half of the field, and all of that possession was going to lead to a goal eventually. U.S. national teamer Allie Long dished the ball to Jodie Taylor, who found one of the few spaces that Tucson’s defense allowed to score in the 24th minute.

Tucson had only a smattering of chances in the first half, the best came from a breakout by Samantha Monahan, who has played professional soccer in Finland. It was one of the few times Thorns keeper Nadine Angerer had to come off her line to break up the play.

Angerer, a former FIFA player of the year who will be between the pipes for Germany at the World Cup, came off the field for Michelle Betos.

Tucson, formerly known as TSA FC, saw more time in Portland’s half of the field, especially after a late change saw seven trialists get into the match.

Even so, Portland had the next goal and it came from one of the trialists. Lasalle University standout Kelsey Haycook managed to slip through a crowded box to find a goal late in the match.

The Thorns play one more match in Tucson on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. against the Arizona Wildcats. FC Tucson Women’s schedule has not been announced.

Tinker Taylor...

The Thorns were without Christine Sinclair, Alex Morgan and Rachel Van Hollebecke. They had plenty of other formidable players, including Jodie Taylor.

Taylor is expected to represent England at the World Cup this year, but barely has half a dozen appearances for the Three Lionesses. She’s made the most of them. On March 6, her hat trick against Australia sent England to the final of the Cyprus Cup. England went on to win the final against Canada.

Taylor played for the Washington Spirit, but wanted to return to the west coast and is new to the Thorns this season.

“I’ve been here a week now and things are really good. I’m pleased to be a Thorn,” she said. “Hopefully I will be for many years to come … it’s a club that’s got big visions.”

Taylor said that the team is “gelling” well, but consistency will be a challenge for a side that will lose so many players to World Cup duty.

“There’s no denying that it’s going to be quite hard. There will be faces going in and out all season,” she said. “Every club is in the same boat, so it’s not going to be an excuse for anyone. It’s just a matter of getting more players opportunities.”

Four in the back

The FC Tucson back line performed superbly given two facts: they were playing against a savvy, well trained side and FC Tucson had only been together a day.

“When you have experienced players that are mature that love the game they are able to adapt,” said coach Amy Garelick. “That was the key.”

UA player Mykaylin Rosenquist took the pitch in last year’s match against the Thorns where the Wildcats were thumped 10 – 0. Rosenquist had the unenviable task of covering Canadian national team star Christine Sinclair in that match. She told her team mates what they were up against.

“I told them to expect a lot of pace and a very quick game and girls with a lot of skill,” she said. “I know that they are missing a couple of players from the national team, which I think helped a little bit.”

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“We connected offensively a lot more than we did last year,” she added.

“It was a good game, a very good result,” she said.

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Nicci Radhe

Portland defender Emily Menges prepares to take the ball up field.

FC Tucson Women vs. Portland Thorns FC

Kino North Stadium

  • Scoring summary
  • POR - Jodie Taylor (24')
  • POR - Taylor Haycook (88')
  • Misconduct summary
  • FCT - Analisa Marquez (caution, 22')
  • FCT - Jordan Davidson (caution, 53')
  • Portland Thorns FC: Nadine Angerer (Michelle Betos 45') - Courtney Niemiec (Taylor Comeau 63'), Kat Williamson (Kate Bennett 77'), Emily Menges - Hanna Terry (Kelley Monogue 63'), McCall Zerboni (Sarah Robbins 63'), Sinead Farrelly, Kendall Johnson (Tessa Andujar 63'), Allie Long (Alyssa Kleiner 63'), Mana Shim (Sarah Jackson 63') - Jodie Taylor (Kelsey Haycook 63')
  • FC Tucson Women: Sarah Dilling - Mykaylin Rosenquist (Nicole Acosta 83'), Analisa Marquez, Brooke Denesik (Jessica Nelson 32') - Soli Gomez (Stacey Rodwell 27' ,Chelly Kauric 70') - Nikki Petracca (Caroline Shevlin, 60'), Savannah Berry (Ali Doller, 63'), F Sam Monahan (Mallory Miller 37') (Emily Lai 90'), F Melissa Fernandez (Karina Camacho 83'), F Zuri Prince (Jordan Davidson 53', Alex Skidmore 83')