Pro

Blazers start playoff surge

Portland beats Dallas for its sixth-straight home game
Staff Report

PORTLAND - Damian Lillard hit his first nine shots - including seven 3-pointers - and scored 31 points to lead the Portland Trail Blazers past the Dallas Mavericks 117-108 Saturday night at the Moda Center for their sixth consecutive home win.

Lillard, who didn’t miss a shot until late in the third quarter, went 10-of-15 from the floor and handed out nine assists to lead the Blazers. CJ McCollum scored 26 points, while Evan Turner had 17 points and Al-Farouq Aminu added 13.

Portland tied a season high with 18 3-pointers. Six Blazers made at least two each, led by Lillard’s seven, which many saw as a statement he should be on the Western Conference All-Star team after two years of essentially being snubbed by the conference coaches.

NBA All-Star reserves, voted by the coaches, will be announced Tuesday. Portland’s next game isn’t until Monday, and by then, many coaches will have already voted. Saturday’s performance might have been Lillard’s last All-Star statement.

Lillard didn’t see Saturday’s game as an All-Star audition, but rather, what he’s supposed to do.

“I gotta play at a certain way and perform at a certain level for us to be able to win games,” he media members after the game. “That’s why my job is. I don’t have anything else to say about it.”

Turner spoke up on Lillard’s behalf.

“He’s been playing at a high level,” Turner said. “An All-Star level. They screwed him the last two years, right? When’s the make-up call? They owe him a couple. That’s case enough.”

Former Blazer Wesley Matthews led Dallas with 23 points. Dirk Nowitzki and Dennis Smith Jr. scored 21 points each, with Nowitzki setting a season high.

Portland led by 18 points in the second half but had trouble putting away the pesky Mavericks. Dallas whittled away at Portland’s advantage during the fourth quarter, getting as close as five points with 36 seconds remaining. A dunk by the Blazers’ Ed Davis with 17 seconds left put the Mavericks away.

The win improved the Blazers' record to 25-21, and 13-10 at the Moda Center - a relief to fans as the team was once 7-10 at home and were the only potential playoff team with a losing record at home.

Portland  plays Dallas, 15-31, twice more this season, with both of the games in Dallas.

 

Jackie keeps impressing world

Oregon native finishes third in downhill
Staff report

Jackie Wiles reached the podium again Saturday afternoon.

The Portland native finished third in the World Cup downhill race at Cortina D'Ampezzo, Italy, where teammate Lindsay Vonn won by nearly a second.

Vonn clocked 1 minute 36.48 seconds on the sun-drenched Olympia delle Tofane course for a 0.92-second advantage over Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein.

Wiles finished 0.98 behind Vonn for her second career podium result. She was on course to finish second - trailing Vonn by just 0.30 seconds at the penultimate checkpoint - but then drifted too wide on a turn and lost a big chunk of time.

Wiles placed third in a downhill last year in January as well.

The win was Vonn's record 12th win in Cortina and 79th in her career, moving her within seven of Ingemar Stenmark's record 86 World Cup victories.

At 33, Vonn became the oldest woman to win a World Cup downhill, beating the previous mark established by Elisabeth Goergl, an Austrian who was 32 when she won in 2014.

A super-G on Sunday rounds out the racing in Cortina before the circuit moves to nearby San Vigilio di Marebbe for a giant slalom on Tuesday. Then there are two more weekends of racing before the Pyeongchang Olympics begin Feb. 9.

 

 

Timbers introduce Gio to Portland

New Portland coach talks of his first experiences in the Rose City
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

PORTLAND - Giovanni Savarese said all the right things in all the right ways during his first press conference as head coach of the Portland Timbers Monday at Providence Park.

Savarese flew into Portland this past weekend and has been getting a fast introduction to the city, including getting his hair cut.

"The lady cutting my hair asked where I was from because of my accent," said Savarese, a native of Venezuela who speaks four languages. "She told me it was easy to spot because I had walked in with an umbrella. I know now people from here don't use umbrellas."

Savarese is the team's third head coach, and follows Caleb Porter, who guided the team to the MLS Cup title in 2015. Porter left the franchise following the 2017 season after a dispute with management.

After five seasons as coach of the New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League, which came with three league titles, Savarese, 46, said the move to Portland was the right fit.

"This is a great franchise, and I think any coach would love to be here," he said during the 25-minute press conference. "I've had other opportunites to move from the Cosmos, but this just felt like the right move at the right time."

Portland begins it's eighth season in Major League Soccer March 4 in Los Angeles against the Galaxy, and plays its first home game April 12 against Minnesota.

 

Savarese ready for Portland intro

Timbers get 2018 moving with new coach, schedule
Staff report

PORTLAND - The Portland Timbers plan to introduce new head coach Giovanni Savarese to the public Monday through a press conference at Providence Park. This comes a week after announcing the team’s schedule for the 2018 season that begins March 4 in Los Angeles against the Galaxy, and at home April 12 against Minnesota.

A Venezuelan international and distinguished scorer during his own 18-year playing career, which included 52 goals in 121 MLS regular-season and playoff appearances with the MetroStars (now New York Red Bulls), New England Revolution and San Jose Earthquakes, Savarese becomes the third full-time head coach of the Timbers’ MLS era, succeeding Caleb Porter, who departed Portland shortly after the conclusion of their 2017 campaign.

The 46-year-old arrives from the NASL’s New York Cosmos, where he enjoyed five years of sustained success in a variety of circumstances, leading the Cosmos to league championships in 2013, 2015 and 2016 as well as a trip to this year’s championship game, where they fell to the San Francisco Deltas. He departs the club with an overall regular-season record of 65-26-51.

“We are excited to bring Gio on board as the club’s head coach. Gio brings a wealth of experience across all levels of the game, and his playing philosophy aligns with the expectations of the club and suits the playing personnel,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers. “His leadership and man-management, coupled with his core values and previous accomplishments, made him the right fit for this club, and we are delighted to welcome him to the Timbers.”

Though born in Caracas, Savarese carries a deep knowledge of the US soccer landscape. He played college soccer at Long Island University and coached in the MetroStars’ and Cosmos’ youth systems before ascending to the professional level. He also logged extended time abroad as a player, most prominently with Swansea City and Millwall in Great Britain.

“I am both excited and proud to become the head coach of the Portland Timbers, and this is an ideal fit and outstanding opportunity for me as I take the next step in my coaching career,” Savarese said. “The passion, ambition and support surrounding this club is truly inspiring, and I am sincerely honored and grateful for this opportunity to lead it on the pitch and to build on the club’s history of success for the community and the incredible supporters of the Portland Timbers.”

MLS Cup winners under Porter in 2015, the Timbers finished first in the MLS Western Conference standings during the 2017 season but fell to the underdog Houston Dynamo in the conference semifinal round of the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, wracked by a devastating postseason injury crisis. Playmaker Diego Valeri won this year’s Landon Donovan MLS MVP award, while influential midfielder Darlington Nagbe left the club via a blockbuster trade with Atlanta United last week.

MLS honors Valeri, Portland

Portland's top scorer and community hero earns MVP Award
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

PORTLAND - The Portland Timbers missed out on their season-long goal of playing in the MLS Cup, which is set for this weekend, but the team got a league-wide honor Monday.

Midfielder Diego Valeri took home the league MVP Award in a ceremony at the Adidas Village in North Portland.

In his fifth year with the team, Valeri, 31, scored 21 goals and had 11 assists to lead the Timbers to the top record in the Western Conference, although those marks did not transfer into a playoff series win over Houston, which ended the season. Valeri scored a goal in nine consecutive matches in midseason, setting a league mark in the process.

Timbers players voted him the team MVP, fans voted him the team's MVP as well as its Community MVP. He is only the second player in the 22-year history of the league to score more than 20 goals and record more than 10 assists in the same season.

Valeri, an Argentine national, was the MLS Newcomer of the Year in his first season, 2013, and scored the fastest goal in MLS Cup history in 2015 - 29 seconds, leading the Timbers to the league title that season. He earned the MLS Cup MVP Award in that game.

Portland has signed Valeri through the 2019 season.

 

 

 

 

Blazers hitting mid-season ice storm

Denver hands Portland another home loss
Staff report

PORTLAND - A scorching loss to Denver Friday put the Portland Trail Blazers in an unusual spot - struggling at home.

After falling 102-85 to the Nuggest at the Moda Center, Portland sat at 16-16 overall, and in seventh place in the Western Conference. But, they're 7-10 at home, making the Blazers the lone playoff-bound team with a losing record at home.

Last season, the Blazers were 25-16 at home.

Portland will look to battle out of a three-game losing streak at the Los Angeles Lakers, a team it's beaten 14 consecutive times, Saturday night - in Los Angeles.

SATURDAY

Portland plays at the Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota plays at Phoenix, Denver plays at Golden State, Oklahoma City plays at Utah.

 

DAME DRAWS ROAD TRIP IRE

Damian Lillard drew national attention Tuesday for ... reacting to fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves following Portland's 108-107 loss in Minneapolis Mondday night.

While walking to the team bus, bystanders began shouting what has been described as anti-gay insults in the direction of Lillard, who played 37 minutes in the game. He finished with 17 points and 13 assists, but was visibly unhappy with media regarding the officiating during the game.

Lillard, an All-Star point guard, attempted just one free throw in the game and his teammates had just four others. Minnesota attempted 21 free throws.

His last-second attempt at a victory fell short. The incident at the bus was not 30 minutes later.

"I don't bother nobody," Lillard told ESPN. "They were straight disrespectful."

Cellphone video captured an irritated Lillard approaching the hecklers, asking, "Which one of you all said that?" A woman in the area pointed out one of the individuals, and that person apologized. Sources at the scene say no action was taken against the fans.

Athlete Ally, a non-profit group trying to end homophobia in sports, issued a statement on Tuesday.

"The use of these homophobic slurs have no place in sports or in society," Executive Director Hudson Taylor said. "Fan sections remain one of the most unsafe places for the LGBTQ community, and will remain so if these slurs aren't met with condemnation and continued education."

Portland, 16-14 and in fifth place in the Western Conference, returns to action Wednesday at the Moda Center against San Antonio, 21-10 and in third place in the conference.

 

Timbers hire Savarese, schedule opener

Portland addresses the 2018 season and beyond
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

PORTLAND – The Portland Timbers needed only a short time to fill it’s coaching vacancy, tapping Giovanni Savarese as the club’s head coach Monday.

Savarese becomes the team’s third head coach, replacing Caleb Porter who resigned in November following a disappointing playoff exit.

Savarese brings over 25 years of professional experience as a player and coach, most recently serving as the head coach and sporting director of the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League, where he led the club to three Soccer Bowl championships in five seasons.

Savarese, 46, will be formally introduced as the Timbers new head coach during a press conference in early January.

“After an intense coach search, I am very pleased to introduce Gio Savarese as the head coach of the Portland Timbers,” said Merritt Paulson, owner of the Timbers. “Gio is an intelligent, attack-minded coach and is a driven individual who is both a great fit with us on and off the field. We are extremely pleased to welcome Gio and his family to Portland.”

“We are excited to bring Gio on board as the club’s head coach. Gio brings a wealth of experience across all levels of the game, and his playing philosophy aligns with the expectations of the club and suits the playing personnel,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers. “His leadership and man-management, coupled with his core values and previous accomplishments, made him the right fit for this club, and we are delighted to welcome him to the Timbers.”

The Timbers announced they will play the LA Galaxay at the StubHub Center in their 2018 season opener, March 4, and their home opener, April 14, against Minnesota United FC, at 7:30p.m.

A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Savarese developed the Cosmos into one of the most successful clubs in the NASL, compiling a 65-26-44 record in 135 regular-season games, including a career-best 20-7-5 record in 2016.

Additionally, the Cosmos scored 223 goals during Savarese’s five seasons at the helm, which rank as the most in the NASL during that stretch. Savarese led the Cosmos to four Soccer Bowl appearances, claiming the 2013, 2015 and 2016 championships.

Savarese guided the Cosmos to a 10-7-15 record in 2017 and their third straight appearance in the NASL championship match. They fell 2-0 to the San Francisco Deltas in the final.

“I am both excited and proud to become the head coach of the Portland Timbers, and this is an ideal fit and outstanding opportunity for me as I take the next step in my coaching career,” Savarese said. “The passion, ambition and support surrounding this club is truly inspiring, and I am sincerely honored and grateful for this opportunity to lead it on the pitch and to build on the club’s history of success for the community and the incredible supporters of the Portland Timbers.”

Savarese enjoyed an 18-year professional playing career, including five seasons in MLS. He scored 159 goals in 322 games played in various leagues in the United States, Venezuela, Italy and England. At the international level, Savarese earned 30 caps for the Venezuela National Team from 1989-2001, scoring 10 goals, including a notable finish against South American rival Argentina in 1996.

Porter, who led the Timbers to the 2015 MLS Cup title, stepped down after guiding the Timbers to the top record in the Western Conference this season, but lost to Houston in their first playoff round.

 

Bell shines, sparks Warriors' win

Oregon alum helps Golden State stymie Lillard, Portland
AP Report

Dunks, blocks, and the gravity of being in the perfect place at the perfect time. It would be easy to say that of course Jordan Bell can do this on a great team like the Warriors, but a roster like that should be even harder to crack for a rookie. Yet here he is fitting in like he has been playing in the system for years. That’s impressive.

As some of the Warriors other stars get old, which will happen eventually, the front office can be happy knowing it got someone like Bell to fill the roles. If he keeps making plays like this, maybe he’ll become a Warriors headliner.

Bell isn’t likely to win a regular spot in the Warriors starting lineup this season. But, over the last five weeks, Bell has evolved from occasionally being relegated to the inactive list to earning semi-regular minutes to becoming a very valuable member of the bench.

And his coach, Steve Kerr, also has evolved from benching Bell for learning purposes to saying he deserves more minutes to, this week, announcing that the forward/center is been “outstanding” in his rookie season.

The latest examples came Monday night, in a 111-104 win over Portland. With Draymond Green sitting out due to sore right shoulder, Kerr inserted Bell into the lineup for his third start. His numbers were excellent: 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting, six rebounds, two assists and one block over 26 minutes. He was plus-14, best of anyone on the team.

But, as often is the case, Bell’s performance includes moments that astound the observer. In this instance it’s a third-quarter chase-down block of a layup by Blazers star Damian Lillard, the trailer on a two-on-one fast break.

Bell, who concedes that his bad-pass turnover triggered the Portland break, immediately remembers a sequence last week in New Orleans, where a Warriors turnover gave the Pelicans a three-on-one break.

“They missed, got the rebound again and missed again,” he recalled. “I was just standing there and coach was like, ‘Get down there. You’re a rookie. That’s how you have to be successful on this team. You have to play hard.’

“I was about to walk down. And then I was like, ‘Oh, I’m going to get taken out.’ So I just ran down and happened to be in the right place.”

It’s one of several highlight plays for the Warriors. No, it was more than that.

“That chase-down block after the turnover was spectacular,” said Kevin Durant, who drained a jumper seven seconds after the block. “That play kind of got us going.”

If Lillard makes the layup, it trims the Warriors lead to nine, 66-57, with 9:32 left in the quarter.

Instead, with Oracle Arena roaring and the team energized, the Warriors turn up the energy and, less than three minutes later, have a 21-point lead, 80-59.

 

Are paid athletes the answer to society's evil?

Kneeling at football games might be the start of a revolution
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

If there's anything somewhat progressive coming out of the social battle involving NFL players taking a knee during the National Anthem of their games, it's the attention and potential it might have to create a national, even international, revolution against history's greatest evil - bullying.

Addressing the issue of bullying is the key for players taking a knee - almost all of whom are black - to get their issue the greater attention it deserves, and the President and America's elected officials can be the starting point for progress.

Bullying is a tremendous issue in America's government, and if elected officials won't address it, maybe paid athletes can because they have voices that are regularly more well heard than those of elected officials. And, society tends to react more readily to those athlete's voices.

Kneeling at football games is the flash point so far, one made much more of an issue by the President because he he is using it as a way to divide America into those who see it as dishonoring the nation and it's troops, and those who support it as a way to address the social issue of black people, primarily men, being shot by police simply for being black.

Where the movement of kneeling is missing out is it's lack of greater focus. The issue has divided teams, in fact, into those who kneel - almost all of them black, and those who don't - basically all the white players. The larger issue is bullying, which the President is showcasing his significant ability to accomplish. Bullying is the key to the social issue that turns into deadly shootings, and it's separating America powered by the President.

There's no better way to address the issue of bullying than by focusing on the President, and his elected followers.

The President has focused attention on kneeling because it dishonors the flag and America's military in the process. So, kneeling is about a lack of honor.

Now, let's go to the President, and his commitment to honoring America's military and the flag through his actions.

This past week, the President responded to comments that he hadn't remembered the name of a fallen soldier when talking to his widow by telling the media, and therefore world, that he did use that soldier's name many times because someone had written it on a chart and put it in front of him to read off. Then, he promoted he remembered the soldier's name because he has a good memory, and then pointed to his head to, apparently, remind everyone that's where his memory is located. This was not a way to promote honor or integrity as the ultimate leader of the U.S. Armed Forces.

These types of press conferences, of course, are repeated enough that 24-hour news channels have increased their ratings significantly in the past two years. Late night talk-show hosts have an endless supply of material. How this is allowed to continue is the issue players need to direct the public's attention toward. It's allowed to continue through the evil called bullying. They don't need to attack the President, either, just challenge the main group allowing itself to be bullied - Republican Senators and Representatives.

Start with Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. You might remember them better as "Lyin" Ted and "Little" Marco from the 2016 campaign after the President came up with these playground names for them. He has never apologized for using those names, and they have not called for him to apologize, either. To apologize, we all know from the President's past, is to show a sign of weakness.

So, he continues to create playground names for individuals on an international level.

The President insults members of his own party regularly, members of his own cabinet regularly, international leaders. And when his plans don't work out right, he blames Congress for not doing it's job. It's their fault. This would be like a coach addressing the world after a loss and saying his players sucked. He/she had the perfect game plan, the players just sucked. Imagine practice the next day.

"Lyin" Ted and "Little" Marco have the ability to do something about this uncontrolled bully, though - they can vote him out of office using the 25th Amendment. Do they have the character to kneel on the White House lawn, demand an apology and address the evil of bullying?

Do the members of Congress, and this is primarily those who are in the Republican Party, have the character to address why they say nothing when the President comes up with these names as though he were a bully on a playground?

What about the President's wife? She made bullying a point to combat upon reaching the White House? That campaign does not seem to exist.

Bullying is a key to Capitalism, so it's not an easy issue to tackle. And being a bully basically involves someone or a group telling someone to do something regardless of what it means to that person or group simply because they/it tells it to. Harrassment? Force? There doesn't need to be any logic involved, any thought of compassion to those involved, just the outcome. People with political or social power don't want that to change, either, so they don't make any kind of issue out of it.

"Do it because I tell you to. And don't complain."

How white police officers have abused their power is a key to the issue black players want addressed. But, it has turned into a black vs. white issue. "Black Lives Matter." And, now "White Lives Matter." The President has done some passionate work to move this issue of black vs. white forward ... through bullying. 

Black Lives Matter has some passionate logic behind it, but ultimately it does separate people by color, which is what White Lives Matter is doing. White Lives Matter, of course, doesn't have to mean White Nationalism - it can mean white people who support better healthcare or better public schools or fewer pot holes. Or even vote by mail so you don't have to stand in some long line. People of all color can promote they support all these things, along with an end to government by bullying.

Bullying isn't an issue of color it's a societal issue and one that black and white football players, heck all athletes, can address at the National Anthem.

Stand Up To Bullying. Take a knee before the anthem, then stand up for the anthem to promote the campaign.

England already has a Stand Up To Bullying Day. The U.S.has a campaign, but it hasn't gotten beyond Massachusetts.

Black players in the NFL have the world's attention, but it's largely being lost as an issue that only relates to people of one color and the issue of honoring America's military by kneeling during a song. They need to move the issue from kneeling to the evil of bullying and make that the issue. They need their teammates of all color to join them. Take a knee before the anthem, then stand for the anthem and make that a social campaign. Stand Uo To Bullying.

How do you think the President would respond to this campaign? Black players taking a knee on the sideline, then standing up for the national anthem? Where's the dishonor there? What if their white teammates did that, too? White players stood up to bullying because it's an issue that affects white people, too.

A worldwide revolution can start from this campaign and challenge injustice on just about every issue. Congress? Why is it that as soon as someone gets elected and arrives on Capitol Hill, they immediately fall in line? Every issue is Us vs. Them. Democrat vs. Republican. Liberal vs. Conservative. Obamacare? It has to be repealed and replaced because it's broken. It's falling apart and was never a good idea in the first place, in spite of all the people who did achieve affordable health care. Millions of people. But, it's a terrible system that should never have been approved. That's a bully speaking.

An effective politician might say, "if it's broken, fix it."

If your car were damaged and struggling to run, would you just keep driving until it stopped and leave it on the side of the road to go get a new one? Or would you stop at a repair shop and work on making it run better? Especially if you knew the problem was simply a lack of gasoline.

The bullying that involved sacrificing Obamacare has gone so far that Republican leadership wouldn't even tell the nation what it was working on before voting on it. "It's going to be great because we tell you it's going to be great." That sounded like someone making a degree from Yale or Harvard look quite valuable. And making the framers of the Constitution quite proud. Lots of honor there.

This kind of bullying - "repeal and replace because I tell you to" - is making Yale, Harvard, Cornell, The Ohio State, Penn State, every college for that matter that's got a degree on a wall of an elected official, look terrible. America has no strength to think for itself, especially these days.

Stand Up To Bullying by getting Congressmen and women to think for themselves, using logic and compromise to better the nation, not just the people who voted for them. And not just people of one color.

Then, we're off.

Obamacare. There's a single-payer health care system in America's future, and if Obamacare is going to be fixed, this is the fix it needs. Capitalism and health care just don't mix for much of the public - the part that's old and/or sick.

How about the Military Industrial Complex? That's a biig one, but ... wow an issue. For starters, why does the U.S. have such a large military? And, apparently getting larger. We're not getting invaded. We can play police for the world, but does that need so many aircraft carriers and nuclear submaries? And, why is Russia our enemy, by the way? Heck, what is Communism? I think it's a nation run by one person, or a ruling party, that severely restricts the freedoms of its citizens to keep them under control. "Do it because we tell you to." Sound familiar?

Communism might be a bad way to run a nation, but Russia isn't invading the U.S., and really has never been close to invading our territory and putting Communism in place. So, why did the world need all those thousands of nuclear missiles? Why do we need them now? The answer is Capitalism and the need to keep factories and ports building the elements that power the military. Without wars and enemies, there's not need for tanks and fighter aircraft.

Of course, the companies that produce tanks and aircraft could be reformed to produce ... better roadways or spacecraft, renewable energy sources etc. Capitalism can survive a changing military direction.

Education. When I watch sports, there's an endless supply of commercials relating to the military. Either join up, or get insurance or health care or great loans because you were in the military. There's nothing wrong with any of those, but I often think what if they had the same commercials for ... teachers? Become a teacher, or get great health care and access to loans because you are or were a teacher. Education should be a much greater focus for the nation.

Gerrymandering. This is one of the main reasons elected officials get re-elected so often and regularly feel the need to just ... get re-elected by voters in their party rather than work together between political parties for a better nation.

Thorns capture second championship

Portland's 1-0 win over Carolina ends memorable season

ORLANDO, Fla. – Midfielder Lindsey Horan scored in the second half, and goalkeeper Adrianna Franch made five saves as the Portland Thorns beat the Carolina Courage 1-0 in the 2017 NWSL Championship at Orlando City Stadium in front of a crowd of 8,124.

Portland's win was its second league title after the team won the inaugural championship in 2013.

Horan's performance earned her the NWSL Championship Most Valuable Player Award.

Portland Thorns FC earned a berth to their second NWSL Championship in five seasons with a 4-1 win against the Orlando Pride at Providence Park on Oct. 7.

Thorns FC received goals from midfielder Amandine Henry, defender Emily Sonnett and forwards Hayley Raso and Christine Sinclair. Henry and Sonnett helped Portland jump out to a 2-0 lead, scoring a pair of goals in a three-minute span in the first 15 minutes, while Raso and Sinclair added goals in the final 20 minutes of the match.

The championship match featured the top two defenses in the NWSL. Portland and Carolina combined for 23 shutouts during the regular season, while allowing 20 and 22 goals, respectively. Offensively, Thorns FC tallied 37 goals, while the Courage scored 38 goals in 2017.

Individually, goalkeeper Franch set an NWSL single-season record for shutouts (11), while Sinclair became Portland’s all-time leading goal scorer (31) and Allie Long became the first player in club history to appear in 100 games.

As a team, Portland had the top defense in the NWSL for a second consecutive season, allowing the fewest goals (20) with the best goal differential (+17) and finished tied for the lowest goals-against average (0.83) in league history.

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