Last November, we learned of the creation
and the birth of a local franchise, Portland Thorns FC. Local media
gathered up their Alex Morgan B-roll and then settled into a
regular-season holding pattern that drifted between indifference (a
certain journalist slumped in the Jeld-Wen Field press box at every home
match as if waiting to get his teeth cleaned) or total absence (ahem).
An email from Willamette Week
lit up my inbox at 8:07 pm a week ago, evoking memories of that tepid
stew. The gist: Hey, weâre writing about which team rules Portland, the
Timbers or the Blazers? But then we thought, oh yeah, thereâs also the
Thorns. Wanna write about them? Oh, we need it in two days. Oh, and you
have 200 words.
But so be it. I asked for 300 words, and they were granted, but then I realized I only needed one: âTrophy.â
The Thorns are the
first pro sports franchise to bring a major-league championship to the
Rose City since 1977. They did it via a remarkable playoff run,
culminating in a 2-0 victory over the Western New York Flash on Aug. 31
for the inaugural National Womenâs Soccer League title.
It was a dazzling season, and this teamâs parts sparkle with individual brilliance.
There is spunky
midfielder Mana Shim, the self-proclaimed âlezziest lez in the league,â
who scored her first professional goal in front of 13,802 spectators on
Portland Pride day.
There is defender Kat
Williamson, who sees the town through the wide eyes of a Texas rookie,
but who shuts down superstars like a steely-eyed vet.
There is the rock,
Becky Edwards, whose midseason knee-ligament tear crushed our spirits
but not hers, as she toted teammatesâ water bottles all season while
limping in a leg brace.
There is the
trickster, Tobin Heath, who cracked a 30-yard, bending, blistering,
miracle of a shot that ended up being the championship game-winnerâ¦with
an injured foot.
There is red-Mohawked
Karina Le-Blanc, who guards her goal like a pit bull; the dreadlocked
Courtney Wetzel; the laconically loping Allie Long; the wispy Angie
And there is, of
course, Canadian legend and University of Portland product Christine
Sinclair, as kind a soul as you will ever meet. Unless you happen to be
between her and the goalâthen sheâll happily rip out your heart, place
it on the penalty spot, and strike it into the back of the net with a
There are more
players, but, you know, word count. Letâs just say you know youâve got a
hell of a team when you donât even need to mention Morgan.
Can you really argue with that? You certainly canât argue with hardware.
But most importantly,
you canât argue with the average of 13,320 red-clad, raging fans that
rattle the Jeld-Wen bleachers at every home match.
always been in on the secret: The Portland Thorns run this town, yâall.
Some of us already knew. Everybody else just needs to catch up.
[All Rip City Vs. No Pity articles are collected here.]
Jonanna Widner is, among other things, the Portland Thorns beat writer for StumptownFooty.com.