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Short-handed Thorns have reasons to be encouraged by NWSL Challenge Cup

Photo Copyright Lucas Muller

On paper, in a normal world, the Portland Thorns’ loss to the Houston Dash on Wednesday in the 2020 National Women’s Soccer League Challenge Cup semifinals is a letdown for the Thorns. The Challenge Cup, however, is not anything near a normal setting.

“Today wasn’t a good day, and today we weren’t good,” Thorns coach Mark Parsons said. “But when we reflect, this was a very, very important two, three months for us. I think we’ve made more progress than we have for a long, long time… We’ve had some of the best individual performances from the players who have had to step up, step in, and it looked seamless.”

Assessing Portland’s Challenge Cup requires some nuance, concessions, and willingness to look beyond the month in Utah.

The Dash just secured their most important victory to date

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