ASU soccer uses exhibition against Portland Thorns to prepare for fall

Most teams have training camps and intersquad scrimmages to prepare for their seasons, but the ASU women’s soccer team has an entire spring schedule to prepare for the fall.

The Sun Devils are playing college teams from Texas to California and one scrimmage against a professional team.

Sunday afternoon, the Sun Devils fell to the Portland Thorns, last year’s champions of the National Women’s Soccer League, 5-0 in Tucson. The Sun Devils, who were outshot 21-4 with all four of their shots coming in the first half, were clearly outclassed by the professionals in the match.

 

 

The Thorns’ goals came from midfielder Allie Long, who scored two, forward Christine Sinclair, forward Jackie Acevedo and forward Jessica McDonald.

Redshirt freshman midfielder Lucy Lara thought her team played well enough against the Thorns considering the circumstances.

“As a team, I don’t think we did bad,” Lara said. “I feel like we stood our ground, they obviously outworked us and outplayed us, but there were times when our team also had them on their backs.”

Despite the final score not favoring his team, coach Kevin Boyd is more concerned with how his team looked than the outcome of the match.

“It was great,” Boyd said. “My main focus was going to be individually how we were matching up. A couple players like (sophomore forward Cali Farquharson), I wanted to see what she looks like against a pro, because I think she is a pro.”

Farquharson has professional aspirations herself.

“I would like to (play professionally), yes, let’s hope so,” Farquharson said. “I’ve got to keep working though.”

Boyd does not seem to be too concerned with the large senior class changing because seniors leave from every team each year.

“That’s the nature of college, right,” Boyd said. “Your seniors go out, you get your freshmen, they come in and you start again.”

Boyd is hoping for the spring season to help his team improve going into next season.

“We’re trying to evolve our systems a little bit, so we can interchange systems a little bit better,” Boyd said. “We’re working on one in particular right now and seeing if we can get that better and then it’s about the individual development.”

Lara has been thrust into a big role in the new system, despite not being a major contributor last season. Lara, however, is relaxed on the field in her new position.

“I felt comfortable. Last year, I was playing forward, and this year, now that I’m playing my position, I’m getting more comfortable,” Lara said. “My teammates help me out a lot, and if it wasn’t for them communicating with me, I’d be lost as an attacking mid, because they see everything behind me and tell me where to go, so props to them.”

Lara is the attacking midfielder in the new system that Boyd has put in place for the Sun Devils.

The Sun Devils and Thorns play the same system, so Boyd was happy for his team to see what the system looks like going against them.

“It was great to play them because they play the same system,” Boyd said. “The difference was that their No. 10 (Long) and their attacking left and right were so interchangeable that it caused our team defensive nightmares, and we didn’t do that to them.”

Boyd realizes what his team will miss from the departing seniors, but also knows what the incoming class can do for the program.

“We lose that big heading presence that (forward) Devin (Marshall) gave us, but we’re going to gain some other things from our incoming freshmen,” Boyd said. “What we’re lacking right now is that we pulled two of our six seniors into this game just to help us with numbers, but the other four are all gone, and we don’t have any of our freshmen, so if you look at what is our strength right now compared to what we look like in the fall, we’re maybe 30 percent or 40 percent.”

Reach the reporter at mtonis@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @Tonis_The_Tiger