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Match Preview: Portland Thorns FC vs Washington Spirit

With playoff hopes dashed, Portland bids farewell to Van Hollebeke, Angerer in final home game of 2015

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Overall Record: 4-1-2

Last Meeting: 2-1 L @ WAS

With their playoff fate already sealed, Portland Thorns FC play host to the Washington Spirit Sunday night in the team’s final home game of the 2015 NWSL season. Portland was knocked out of playoff contention when the Spirit tied FC Kansas City, moving both teams seven points ahead of the Thorns with six points left to play for. The Thorns are expecting a second sellout crowd of the season Sunday.

Portland enters the match on a two-match losing streak, following a 1-0 loss to Sky Blue FC back on August 22. An early goal from Nadia Nadim sealed the points for Sky Blue, though Christine Sinclair and Tobin Heath both hit the woodwork and Alex Morgan missed a last minute penalty kick. The Thorns have won nine of their last 14 home matches and have never lost to the Spirit at Providence Park.

Washington secured a playoff berth with their 0-0 draw with FC Kansas City. While FC Kansas City would have beaten the Thorns on a tiebreaker for a playoff berth, Washington was still within reach for the fourth and final spot. However, the one point earned in the draw moved Washington out of reach, giving them 29 points while Portland could only hope to reach 28 with two wins in their last two matches.

In their last meeting, the Spirit beat the Thorns for the first time, coming from a goal down to win 2-1. Ayo Añonma scored her first Thorns goal in the 18th minute. Washington hit back with two goals before halftime. Amanda DaCosta latched onto a deflected lofted pass to chip over goalkeeper Michelle Betos to equalize and a slip by Betos allowed Crystal Dunn an easy tap in for the winner.

Sunday’s match will also be Portland’s sendoff for Nadine Angerer and Rachel Van Hollebeke in their final home game after both announced plans to retire at the end of the year. The Thorns will finish up the 2015 season on the road against the Western New York Flash next Friday, September 4.