The Breakers’ magic touch against Portland didn’t come through tonight. Poor Boston’s lone bright spot last season was their uncanny ability to *bring it* against the Thorns. And that special talent doesn’t seem to have made it through the off season. Portland dominated and won 4-1.
The first half was a chippy affair, and the Thorns netted two. Sinead Farrelly scored off a corner kick to make up for a stolen goal after some fine clutch defending by Kassey Kallman saved a chip off the goal line. Mana Shim, a PDX favorite, doubled the score a few minutes later on a cross from Kendall Johnson. Boston answered 20 minutes into the second half when Stephanie McCaffrey netted a brilliant strike – in her first pro game, no less! But PDX opened the floodgates soon after. Allie Long scored two pretty breaks in quick succession, and the game was sealed.
In the 2014 season, Portland seemed like a team full of superstars who were just unable to gel when it came time. Too many personalities. Paul Riley seems confident that his new 3-4-2-1 formation will provide the tactical glue to make the team cohere, and it did seem like a promising beginning overall. Like so many other Thorns games, the stars were relatively quiet tonight, but strong performances by the likes of Allie Long made up for it, and the formation was successful. Also, Michelle Betos stood out in goal for Portland, which should alleviate concerns for the Thorns as they face down most of their season without German International Nadine Angerer.
The poor Breakers. I hope for more from them this season, and it might be that their new Brazilian player and Stephanie McCaffrey will step up and produce. I love Kassey Kallman, and she proved a good addition tonight; she is still one of the most exciting young defenders in the league. Still, despite some heart and fire, they played like a frustrated team tonight.