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MATCH PREVIEW: Portland Thorns FC vs Washington Spirit

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Thorns look to extend unbeaten run to four games, take over top spot in NWSL

Midfielder Tobin Heath and forward Crystal Dunn will be on opposing sides Saturday when Portland Thorns FC take on the league-leading Washington Spirit
Midfielder Tobin Heath and forward Crystal Dunn will be on opposing sides Saturday when Portland Thorns FC take on the league-leading Washington Spirit
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Thorns FC continue a tough road trek with a visit to the NWSL-leading Washington Spirit Saturday as both clubs look to remain unbeaten in the league. The match marks the first of two meetings between the two sides in a three week period.


Portland (2-0-1, 7pts) remain unbeaten after earning a 1-0 road win over the Boston Breakers last Saturday. Midfielder Dagny Brynjarsdottir scored her second goal of the season when she headed in midfielder Tobin Heath’s free kick in the 79th minute for the deciding strike. Heath tallied her league-leading fourth assist in the match and was named NWSL Player of the Month for April leading up to the Thorns trip to Maryland.


The Spirit will look to defend their three game winning streak when the Thorns visit. Washington has conceded just one goal in three matches, while scoring a league-leading six. The squad comes into the match off a 3-0 road win over the Western New York Flash, where midfielder Diana Matheson tallied her league-best second and third goals of the season.


Portland has dominated the eight previous contests with the Spirit, having only lost once and winning four times. Washington has failed to keep the Thorns from scoring and Portland has scored two or more goals in six of the previous six matches against the Spirit. However, Portland’s defense will be tested early as Washington has outscored their opponents 3-0 in first halves this season. The Thorns have done the exact opposite and have outscored opponents 3-0 in second halves this season, and have tallied three goals in the final 15 minutes of play. Portland will also be looking to go undefeated through the first four games of the year for the fourth consecutive season.


Thorns FC will still be without defender Kat Williamson, midfielder Kendall Johnson and forward Christine Sinclair. Goalkeeper Michelle Betos, who was a late scratch for the match against Boston, is listed as probable. The Spirit’s only concern will be Christine Nairn who is listed as probable. Otherwise the Washington club is at full strength.


Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. (Pacific).