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MATCH PREVIEW: Portland Thorns FC vs Washington Spirit

Thorns face Spirit for second time in three weeks, return to Providence Park for first time since home opener

Defender Meghan Klingenberg returns to Providence Park for just her second home game in a Thorns jersey.
Defender Meghan Klingenberg returns to Providence Park for just her second home game in a Thorns jersey.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

After an extensive four match road swing, Portland Thorns FC finally return to the Rose City to take on the Washington Spirit Saturday night. The match marks the second meeting in three weeks for the two clubs and the final meeting of the 2016 regular season.

Portland (2-0-3, 9pts) remains unbeaten in five matches, earning their first point at Memorial Stadium last weekend in a 1-1 draw with the Seattle Reign. After Nadia Nadim opened the scoring two minutes into the second half, pouncing on a defensive mistake to head past goalkeeper Hope Solo, Seattle equalized three minutes later through Beverly Yanez. Nadim’s goal was her first in a Thorns shirt, while midfielder Meg Morris registered her first Thorns assist, breaking midfielder Tobin Heath’s monopoly on the statistic.

The Spirit (4-0-1, 13pts) come to Portland on the back of a 1-0 win over the Houston Dash with Joanna Lohman tallying the game winner. Washington currently tops the table, one point ahead of the Orlando Pride though Orlando has played one game more.

Two weeks ago the Thorns took on Washington on the road looking to break the Spirit’s winning streak, while also putting their unbeaten run on the line. In the end, a scoreless draw kept both teams undefeated, though Heath was sent off in the final minutes.

The last time the Spirit visited Providence Park, the two clubs played out a thrilling 3-3 draw. Forward Crystal Dunn tallied a brace for the visitors and Francisca Ordega added another, but were matched by goals from Heath, and forwards Alex Morgan and Jodie Taylor.

Portland will welcome the return of Heath, who served her one match suspension during the 1-1 draw with Seattle last weekend. Christine Sinclair, who made her first appearance of the season against the Reign, is listed as doubtful, while goalkeeper Michelle Betos, defender Kat Williamson and midfielder Kendall Johnson are all still out injured. Washington will be without Laura del Rio and Whitney Church.

A win or draw Saturday would set a new record for the longest unbeaten stretch in club history for the Thorns. Kick off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. (Pacific) and can be live-streamed at