Today is the first day of the WICC, and the Portland Thorns will play a Mexican team for the first time ever.
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WICC: Portland Thorns upset by C.F. Monterrey
The Women’s International Champions Cup, which is being held at Providence Park for the second consecutive year, arrived in August faster than we anticipated.
Chelsea and Rayadas de Monterrey are among the invitees for 2022, compared to Barcelona, Houston Dash, and Lyon who were all welcomed by the Portland Thorns last year.
When Olympique Lyon returns to town, this time one of their roster includes a player on loan from Thorn.
Amandine Henry, a former Thorn, and Lindsey Horan are working together once more to win the ICC championship for Lyon, something Portland denied them the previous season.
Thorns fans feared that the team’s prospects would not be as promising as they had been at the start of the previous season.
Longtime coach Mark Parsons passed away after helping Portland win three of the four available trophies in 2022, including the WICC.
But those worries turned out to be unfounded because NWSL rookie coach Rhian Wilkinson is showing to be more than capable.
The WICC: Does Portland Really Need It? It ought to be. No matter who is on the field, The Thorns have already proven to everyone that they are a competitive squad.
Sophia Smith is the focal point of the offense, but the rest of the team has shown they can step up and make a difference on the field and in the scoreboard when necessary.
However, for this club, competition is not enough. Portland was only getting warmed up when they had an unceremonious departure from the Challenge Cup at the beginning of the year.
Now that we can see the big picture, even if the team always aspires to win championships, we can see how the coach made the difficult choice to put preparation ahead of performance at that particular time of the year.
We observe the results of such choices months later. Portland has prospered while the Challenge Cup finalist teams, the Washington Spirit and North Carolina Courage, have struggled.
This does not imply that a team cannot both win the Cup and compete throughout the regular season. Portland accomplished it in 2021, but the situation and team were slightly different.
Despite the absence of important players from the previous season, Wilkinson’s team this year has given Portland supporters new hope.
It’s a younger team with many players who have been in the backseat for a while but are now ready to take the wheel.
Yazmeen Ryan hasn’t been discussed much, but what a season she’s having! She is competing for a starting position and has established herself as a dependable player that fans want to see in the first eleven. Meaghan Nally is another participant worth highlighting.
We have spoken a little about her already, but we can’t emphasize enough how she, like Olivia Moultrie and so many others, has continued to grow week after week.
We can therefore argue that the Thorns are capable of encapsulating all that potential and quality with a trophy at this juncture in the season and given everything these players have demonstrated thus far.
But it won’t be simple. Portland must defeat Rayadas in order to advance to the semifinals, where they will face either Emma Hayes’ Chelsea or the Champions League champion Lyon.
Chelsea, the current FAWSL and FA Cup champions, has been painting London and England blue for the past few years. Under the guidance of coach Eva Espejo, Rayadas won the Liguilla last year for the second time in team history.
Last but not least, Lyon entered the Champions League with a grudge.
Lyon was aware that they weren’t the underdogs while everyone else was losing their minds over Barcelona’s jogo bonito and declaring them the favorites to win the Champions League again.
After defeating the Spaniards 3-1 in the WUCL championship game, the French team showed they were back in the game.
Rayadas’ key players
Although Rayadas and Portland have no prior encounters, we can predict that the game will be entertaining. The Regiomontanas are a good club that can cause Portland some trouble, even though perhaps not many people are familiar with them.
Desirée Monsiváis, the leading goal scorer for Rayadas, left, but a younger attacker stepped up to the plate: Christina Burkenroad. With eight goals scored so far, the former Orlando Pride star is on fire and the league’s leading scorer in Mexico.
Aylin Aviléz, a teenage forward with talent, is another player to keep an eye on. Despite being only 19, she possesses qualities and intelligence beyond her years.
It makes sense why she is known as “La Joyita” (Little Jewel).
We can also call attention to individuals like Rebecca Bernal, the team’s captain. She can score from both open play and set pieces as a center-back. Diana Evangelista is one of Rayadas’ most dependable midfielders, if we’re talking about the midfield.
With the ball at her feet, she is renowned for her ability to run quickly. Evangelista has scored three goals so far this season and is no stranger to the goal-scoring game.
Two athletes with ties to Portland? Rocky Rodriguez and Valeria del Campo, a defender for Costa Rica, are colleagues. Additionally, Daniela Sols played for the Vikings of Portland State University and Sherwood High School in Oregon.
This battle between these two teams tonight will undoubtedly be exciting. Additionally, it will continue to solidify the burgeoning relationship between the NWSL and Liga MX Femenil.
The match will be aired on ESPN2 and streamed abroad on DAZN. It is scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m. Pacific time.