Wow, how time flies! I feel like the allocation announcements were just yesterday. I remember that moment vividly. I was down in Los Angeles and had just finished training with a group of girls at the StubHub Center. Oddly enough, Tobin [Heath] and Alex [Morgan] were there with me. As a West Coast girl with my husband located in San Diego, I literally screamed for joy when I found out I was going to Portland.
San Diego will always be my home, but I have quickly come to learn that Portland is really awesome! I am an outdoorsy person and love the endless options for hiking and exploring. And can we talk about the public gardens here? Although I know it can be gloomy and rainy in the winter, it leads to some seriously beautiful greenery. I am a flower person and I'm in love with the International Rose Test Garden. I have literally taken every out-of-town visitor to check out the roses. I must have over 50 pictures of roses on my cell phone by now. At this point, I should probably make a rose collage or something.
My husband, Bobby, recently moved up to Portland to join me here for the rest of NWSL season and offseason. Thank god for that! Although we have done long distance on and off for many years, it was harder than ever to be away from each other after getting married last November. Bobby helps give me perspective and balance, and I am so lucky to have him here with me to share this experience. Bobby is also a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet wizard; he has put his skills to good use, organizing all the restaurants, hikes and scenic drives we need to try.
Despite the wonderful restaurants and outdoor activities, the most amazing thing about playing in Portland is the fans. Portland truly is Soccer City, USA. Week in and week out, our fans are behind us, cheering with all their might. Their passion and commitment is inspiring. I will never forget when they dropped an immense banner with all of us painted as super heroes.
What an incredible gesture and piece of art work! I was blown away. A large group of Rose City Riveters even traveled to Seattle for our last regular-season game on Aug. 17. It turned out to be quite an exciting match, but luckily for us, Sinc (Christine Sinclair) was on fire that day. My favorite moment of the game was when the fans started cheering, "Oh Sincy, you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind. Hey Sincy!" As a big fan of '80s music, I loved that one.
We are now finally ready to start our postseason play, and what an inaugural season it has been! Three teams tied with 38 points at the end of the season -- that is so awesome! Every game mattered and every team fought until the end. Take the last two games of the regular season: Chicago upset Kansas City and Washington battled to the end with Sky Blue. For all the teams, the level of play has continued to improve throughout the season. From a league longevity and player development standpoint, that constant progress is so promising!
I am getting really excited for our semifinal match against Kansas City on Saturday. I can't believe the playoffs are already here. We have had highs and lows this season, as every team does, but it has been an incredible journey. We have already played KC four times; they are a great side, but so are we. I know it is going to be a tough match and can't wait to get out on that field Saturday and give it everything we have. I suspect there might even be a few Thorns super-fans there to cheer us on.