August got here quicker than we thought and with it, the Women’s International Champions Cup that is being held at Providence Park for the second one 12 months in a row.
After the Portland Thorns welcomed Barcelona, Houston Dash, and Lyon closing yr, this time across the invitees are a bit bit specific: Chelsea and Rayadas de Monterrey are a number of the % in 2022. Olympique Lyon involves metropolis again, this time with a Thorn participant on loan in among that squad. Lindsey Horan is yet again teammates with former Thorn Amandine Henry and the search is to offer Lyon what Portland denied them remaining 12 months: the ICC identify.
At the start of the season, Thorns fans dreaded the destiny of the crew wasn’t going to be as bright as it become the 12 months before. Long-time educate Mark Parsons changed into long past, and in his last dance he helped Portland to win 3 out of 4 viable trophies in 2022, the WICC amongst the ones.
But those fears were unjustified as educate Rhian Wilkinson is proving more than capable in her rookie year within the NWSL. Is the WICC a need to for Portland? It must be. The Thorns have already established to all of us they may be a aggressive team— regardless of who’s on the sector. And although the attack has been constructed round Sophia Smith, the relaxation of the team has proved they can step up and make a distinction on the sphere, and within the field score, when needed.
But being competitive is not sufficient for this membership. Although Portland had an unceremonious go out from the Challenge Cup at the beginning of the 12 months, they had been just warming up the engines. We recognize now how the coach turned into searching at the large picture, and although the club continually wants to win trophies, they had to make tough choices and prioritize education over consequences at that point of the 12 months.
Months later, we see the final results of those decisions. While the groups that played inside the Challenge Cup very last (Washington Spirit and North Carolina Courage) are not doing very well, Portland has flourished. That doesn’t suggest a crew can’t win the Cup and be aggressive in the season too. Portland did it in 2021, however the instances and roster were a piece specific.
Although gamers that were key ultimate yr are gone, the organization that Wilkinson has gathered this 12 months is one that has made Portland enthusiasts trust once more. It’s a more youthful organization with a variety of players that have been inside the backseat for a while but now are prepared to move as much as the driver’s seat. We haven’t talked a whole lot approximately Yazmeen Ryan, but what a season she’s having! She’s pushing for a beginning spot and has grow to be a reliable player that fans want to look inside the beginning eleven. Another participant really worth mentioning is Meaghan Nally. We have talked a bit approximately her already, however we can’t spotlight enough how she has kept developing week after week, as has Olivia Moultrie and such a lot of others.
So at this point of the season – and with these types of players have proven to date – we can say that the Thorns are able to crystalizing all that talent and best with a trophy.
It won’t be smooth, even though. Portland now not best has to beat Rayadas within the semifinal, however in the event that they do it, they’ll ought to play in opposition to both Emma Hayes’ Chelsea or Champions League winner Lyon.
Chelsea has been dyeing London and England blue in the beyond couple of years, and they’re the modern-day FAWSL champions and FA Cup champions. Rayadas won the Liguilla ultimate year for the second one time of their history and have hit a brand new gear beneath instruct Eva Espejo. Last but now not least, Lyon performed Champions League with a chip on their shoulders. While all people changed into losing their minds for Barcelona’s jogo bonito— rightly so— and pundits and fanatics claimed they were the favorites to win the Champions League lower back to returned, Lyon knew they had been no underdogs. The French facet proved they have been lower back in enterprise after beating the Spaniards 3-1 inside the WUCL final.
Rayadas’ key gamers
While there’s no history between Rayadas and Portland, we can say it’s going to be a amusing suit. Maybe many don’t realize lots about the Regiomontanas but they’re an amazing team which can supply Portland paintings to do.
After the departure of Rayadas top goalscorer Desirée Monsiváis, a more youthful ahead rose to the task: we’re speaking about Christina Burkenroad. The former Orlando Pride participant is on fireplace and is the pinnacle goalscorer inside the Mexican league up to now, with eight dreams scored.
Another player to observe is the younger talented ahead Aylin Aviléz. She’s most effective 19 however her fine and intelligence are past her age. She now not simplest can score golazos like this one:
But she also can do things like this:
No surprise her nickname is “La Joyita” (“Little Jewel”).
We also can highlight gamers like the captain of the team Rebecca Bernal. She’s a middle-back and can also rating dreams from set portions and open play. If we speak about the midfield, one in all Rayadas’ maximum reliable midfielders is Diana Evangelista. She’s recognized for how rapid she can be strolling with the ball at her toes. Evangelista is not any stranger to scoring both and has 3 dreams in the season so far.
Two gamers which can be related to Portland? Defender Valeria del Campo is teammates with Rocky Rodríguez in the Costa Rican country wide group. And Daniela Solís has played for Oregon’s Sherwood High School and the Portland State University Vikings.
It’s definitely going to be an exciting game between these two aspects this night. And it’s one which will also keep strengthening the partnership that is growing between NWSL and Liga MX Femenil.
The game is about to kick off at eight:30 P.M. Pacific and may be broadcast on ESPN2, and is capable of be streamed on DAZN across the world.