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MATCH PREVIEW: Portland Thorns FC vs Chicago Red Stars

Thorns look to remain lone unbeaten club in NWSL, tame Chicago threat in Christen Press with the return of five U.S. Internationals

Hayley Raso will be eager to continue her impressive run of form for Portland Thorns FC ahead of back-to-back road games.
Hayley Raso will be eager to continue her impressive run of form for Portland Thorns FC ahead of back-to-back road games.
Jeremiah Braeback

After a week off, Portland Thorns FC returns to league action with a trip to third-place Chicago Red Stars. The match marks the first match between the two clubs in 2016 and the first of two meetings in a two week period.

Portland head to Chicago after a hard-fought 0-0 draw against Seattle Reign FC where the Thorns were missing six players to U.S. Women’s National Team duty. Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, defenders Emily Sonnett and Meghan Klingenberg, and midfielders Tobin Heath, Allie Long and Lindsey Horan should all return for Thorns FC against Chicago.

The Red Stars are also coming off a week break, before which they were held to a 1-1 draw by Sky Blue FC. Chicago has seen a bright start to the season in which they’ve only lost once in their first seven games. Forward Christen Press is among the league-leaders in scoring with three goals, currently in a seven-way tie for the lead along with Portland’s Horan. Press will be the constant offensive threat for the Red Stars as she leads the NWSL in both shots (27) and shots on goal (22) Chicago goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher co-leads the league  with four shutouts.

Thorns FC remains the lone unbeaten club in the NWSL and will have history on their side in the Windy City. In five games on the road in Chicago, Portland has not lost, posting two wins and three draws, outscoring Chicago 8-4. Portland will welcome the return of their league-leading assist leader in Heath, while Horan will need to be careful as she is one yellow card away from a mandatory suspension. Horan leads the NWSL with four cautions.

Portland continues to wait on the return of defender Kat Williamson and midfielder Kendall Johnson from injury, but will be bolstered by the arrival of eagerly-anticipated French international Amadine Henry, who landed in Portland on Friday. Henry joins her new club after helping the French National Team to a 1-0 win over Greece in a Euro2016 qualifier. However, Henry is not expected to feature against the Red Stars, which Thorns head coach Mark Parsons saying he expects Henry to make her debut on the road against the Western New York Flash on Friday, June 17. Chicago is at full strength for the match.