What They’re Saying After Saturday’s Loss in Portland

Washington Spirit  |   May 6, 2024
What They’re Saying After Saturday’s Loss in Portland Featured Image

In its second match of the week, the Spirit fell 1-2 to the Portland Thorns on Saturday night. Interim head coach Adrián González, forward Lena Silano, and defender Gabrielle Carle share their thoughts on the game.


Adrián González



On a slow first half: 
“Obviously, we didn’t have the best start this game. We need to learn from this situation, and the best way to do it is here against a great team, in a big environment, with a lot of fans. Starting a game losing 1-0 is hard; it’s a matter of detail and set pieces. When we started losing 2-0, we knew we needed to react. The first half we didn’t find players in the middle and this was tough for us. We needed to attack more.”


On a competitive second half: 
“Overall, in the second half we had more reaction and more energy. Playing two games in three days is hard. We had a lot of players with a lot of minutes and travel. It’s not an excuse; it’s reality. We knew that today would be hard. We had to stay positive and fight until the end. We created a lot of chances, but we could only score one goal. Playing like we did in the second half is how we need to play moving forward against other teams.”


On different formations in the second half:
“We knew we needed to switch it up. Since Kate (Wiesner) is coming back from an injury and to avoid risks, we couldn’t play her more than sixty minutes. Casey (Krueger) has been trying to push through her pain within the last few games, her tendinitis and knee pain is getting worse, and she couldn’t play today. We had to find a way to adjust, and that was putting Gabby (Carle) in left back and pushing Hal (Hershfelt) back. We expected this to happen. Yes, we had some risk playing with three in the back, but we were able to progress high with Gabby and Trinity (Rodman).”


On finishing in the final third:
“We need to improve finishing in the final third. We are creating chances every game; this isn’t our first time doing it. We have stayed consistent in giving ourselves a variety of chances since our first game in Seattle. I would be worried if we weren’t creating enough chances, but our movement is positive. It’s a matter of confidence, fatigue, and hope. We need to be aware of our improvement and continue to push ourselves. Some teams don’t need a lot of chances – we do. We will remain humble and continue to work and improve on utilizing our opportunities.”


On conceding of early goals:
“There isn’t just one factor that goes into this: It could be emotions or new environments. We know we need to fix these easy mistakes and play harder, earlier. It’s easy to say, but when you’re playing in front of fifteen to twenty thousand people, it’s not simple. Playing under pressure and against a great team isn’t easy, and we need to learn from this. We cannot concede goals within the first five minutes. When we start like this, we need to put in extra effort. We need to learn from this and avoid it in the future.”


On the good performance of the team:
“We need to be proud of ourselves for how we competed today. It wasn’t an easy game. Playing in a new environment along with lots of playing and travel under our belt is hard, and we couldn’t recover properly. We knew it would be tough, but we need to be proud of how we played, especially in the second half. There is something we can learn from every game. There were a lot of positives. We can’t just look at the results. The way we want to play and compete, has been improved from today’s results and experiences.”


On Portland Thorns forward Sophia Smith:
“In terms of Sophia, we were able to avoid lots of tough situations with her. She has scored in the last few games and has been preforming amazing. She is a very good player, and we defended her the best we could. It wasn’t enough to get the three points, but being able to defend players like her helps us improve and is a positive for us. “


Lena Silano & Gabrielle Carle



On conceding early goals:

Carle: It’s definitely something we are working on. Obviously, we know it is something that happens. We don’t like that it happens, but we are aware of it, and we are working on it. Again, this game it happened, but we will just have to figure something out. We know as a team that we can work on that, and we can get better with that.


On what allowed the Thorns to dominate the first 30 minutes of the game:

Carle: I am not exactly sure what it was. I don’t want to make excuses. Coming from the Midwest, the legs were maybe a little bit tired but clearly, they came out harder than we came out, and I think it manifested in maybe us being a little panicked, not playing the possession we have been playing as well for those first 30 minutes. So, it definitely took us longer to settle into the game than the Thorns, and I don’t think we were as ready as they were. Once we settled in, though, I think we created some great chances, and we were unlucky.

Silano: To add on to that, the Thorns is an amazing team so every time we play them, it’s going to be a hard battle. Anyone can win in this league.


On Lena’s goal:

Silano: What an awesome experience to be able to come into the game and impact and make it a closer game than it was. I think that we were knocking on the door the whole time in the second half. It was a totally different game. I trust Trin, she’s the assist leader for a reason, and I positioned my body into the right place and trusted her and it went in. Definitely want to go back for more.


On how you take the positives from a loss:

Carle: As Lena said, this is the NWSL: On a given day you never really know what’s going to happen. Today, it didn’t go our way, but if you look at our second half you think, ‘Wow, how did they not put more goals in? How did they not win, honestly?’ This happens in the NWSL I think as a back line, as a team, we did a great job containing Sophia Smith and then creating chances, but, unfortunately, we didn’t put the goals in the back of the net.


On Lena coming in and having impact after not having a lot of minutes:

Silano: I am really grateful for my role, and I am really grateful that I had an opportunity to come in tonight. I’ll do whatever it takes to help this team and get us closer to winning and winning the championship. So, whatever they ask us to do, I’m going to do.

Carle: Lena is a great competitor, great teammate, and we all believe in her, and we know that she can make a difference. We also believe that of all the players on our team, so having the depth that we have, we know that when people come on the field they can make a difference, and tonight Lena did.


On if they expected to be at this point at this stage of the year.

Carle: From the beginning of preseason, it was clear how we wanted to play, and we built to it. I don’t think necessarily we are thinking, ‘Oh, we are going to be at this place on the table.’ We were thinking more about the process and how we want to play. I think right now we are playing the way we want. Obviously, there are improvements here and there but in terms of playing style I think it’s looking good. When you play well the results come, tonight we were a bit unlucky.

Silano: We are definitely playing some great soccer. It’s super fun to watch, super fun to be a part of. At the end of the day, it’s about the journey not the destination, and I think we’re taking it one game at a time and trusting the process. We trust the resources that we have, our coaching staff and it is definitely going in our benefit and our way.

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