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I have spoken to Washington Spirit many time; looking to the end of the national womens soccer league regular season I find a few simple point, to them. First, the Washington Spirit had a woeful off season organizationally. The players like Krieger they let go, the desire to get Pugh they sacrificed for long term is an example to a gamble. this coming off season, I want to see what the plan is to build around Mallory Pugh for the Spirit, if they don't truly build around Pugh then next season will be filled with as many losses as the current. To that point, Pugh is a midfielder. She is not a winger cause she does not have the speed absent the ball for that. She is not a forward cause she does not have the strength or speed against the most athletic defenders for that. She is a midfielder who can play center left or right or cut into the forward area. Thus, Washington spirit need a powerful number 9 atop Pugh. You need at least one aerial outlet. They need wide players in defense or midfield to maintain width no matter where Pugh end up and who offer overlapping play or moving targets between the lines for Pugh's passing. WashSpirit need at least one enforcer in midfield. Whenever any team play a player in a free role that player leaves defenses gaps that will require termination. We shall see what Washington do over the winter break.
Portland Thorns is a team built to lift trophies. Christine Sinclair, the historically dominant number 9 in the N.W.S.L. only bettered by Sam Kerr who is having a breakout season. Amandine Henry the U.E.F.L. Champions League winner in Olympique Lyonnais. Nadia Nadim a hard midfield worker who loves to cut into the opposing lines and make cutting passes, who is a high quality penalty taker. Allie Long or the currently injured Tobin Heath who are box to box midfielders that when healthy offer the best midfield balance to Amandine Henry. Portland as a team is athletic/mature/has the goal bug. In terms of administration, what Portland places on the field is an administrative superiority to Washington Spirit and thus the match result. Each goal was inevitable if you watch Washington Spirit. A penalty earned by the spirit keeper behind a slow to react back line. A reaction goal from Sinclair. A free header from a corner. None the Spirit defended well and each was straight forward for the Thorns. Aly Wagner side Jenn Hildreth or Dalen Cuff on Lifetime television said it best. The speed off the ball, the free flowing passing from Portland was what they needed before, aside Nadim or Henry fit and in sync to the squad. Portland have no excuse to compete till the end.
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