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Match Preview: Portland Thorns FC v Sky Blue FC

Thorns look to make history in New Jersey with NWSL playoffs looming

Portland will hope some late season heroics from Alex Morgan will once again help earn a playoff spot.
Portland will hope some late season heroics from Alex Morgan will once again help earn a playoff spot.
Jeremiah Mitchell Braeback

Last Meeting: 1-0 L @ SBFC

Overall Record vs Sky Blue: 2-3-3

Just three matches remain in the 2015 NWSL regular season and Portland Thorns FC are currently not heading to the postseason. Portland currently holds fifth place in the league table, just three points back from fourth place FC Kansas City and six points off second place Washington Spirit and the Chicago Red Stars. However, all eyes will be focused towards Saturday’s match against Sky Blue and the three points on offer.

Playing their second-consecutive road match, Portland (6-7-4, 22pts) is coming off a 3-0 loss to Kansas City which gave the FCKC sole possession of the final playoff berth and snapped a three-game winning streak for the Thorns. Portland heads to New Jersey with a 1-1 record against Sky Blue FC this season, with both sides claiming wins at home. Allie Long and Sinead Farrelly tallied goals in a 2-1 win at Providence Park on July 3, while Sam Kerr scored the decisive goal to give Portland a 1-0 road loss on July 11. The Thorns have never beaten Sky Blue at Yurcak Field, earning two draws and a loss in three visits.

Sky Blue (4-7-6, 18pts) earned a 1-1 road draw against Chicago on Aug. 12 in their last match. However, Sky Blue currently sits in eighth place in the league and would be eliminated from playoff contention with anything less than a win on Saturday as the club looks to return to the NWSL playoffs for the first time since 2013. Should Portland lose, they would be shutout of the playoffs for the first time in NWSL history if Chicago and Washington manage to secure a single point from their remaining three games.

Portland should see the return of Alex Morgan to the field after the forward scored for the U.S. Women’s National Team in a friendly match against Costa Rica in midweek, while Long is riding a streak of four goals in four matches. Long is currently ranked tied for second in the league for goals with nine.

The Thorns return to the Rose City next Sunday, Aug. 28th for an already sold out match versus the Washington Spirit.