The NWSL's best meet as the Portland Thorns (4-0-5, 17 points) take on the league-leading Chicago Red Stars (5-1-3, 18 points) at Providence Park Wednesday evening. The match will be streamed live on YouTube at 7:00pm.
The Thorns and Red Stars met 10 days ago at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois, a 1-1 draw that saw Christine Sinclair score her first of the season, only to see Christen Press equalize for the Red Stars just a few minutes into the second half. The Thorns lead the all-time series 3-1-6, including a 1-1-3 record at home.
Both sides are coming in off short rest, as the Thorns defeated the Western New York Flash 2-0 on Friday, with Adrianna Franch and the Thorns' top-rated defense shutting down the Flash's dangerous attack, despite losing left backs Meghan Klingenberg (pre-match) and Meg Morris (21st minute) to injuries early in the match. Sinclair and Nadia Nadim netted their second goals of the season, with Sinclair getting alone with the keeper and Nadim scoring from the penalty spot. The victory extended their unbeaten run to 9 matches, the longest in team history.
The second highest scoring team in the league, Lindsey Horan leads the Thorns with three goals, while Sinclair, Nadim, and Dagny Brynjarsdottir have added two, with Meg Morris and Tobin Heach adding a goal, with the latter leading the league with 5 assists. On other side of the ball, the Thorns have the league's stingiest defense, only allowing 5 goals through 9 matches, including three clean sheets recorded by Franch, with another recorded by Michelle Betos The Thorns bolstered their defense last week with the arrival of Amandine Henry, who played 38 minutes in their match against the Flash and will likely see more playing time in this match, if not her first start for the Thorns.
The Red Stars took on the Boston Breakers last Saturday, defeating the Breakers 3-0 as Sofia Huerta netted a brace, her second and third of the season, and Casey Short scoring her second of the season. For her performance in the match, Huerta earned Player of the Week Honors for the third time in her career. The Red Stars are currently riding an 8 match unbeaten run (5-0-3), dating to the second week of the season.
Press leads the Red Stars and the NWSL with four goals, while Huerta has scored three, while Short and Jen Hoy have each added two goals. Defensively, goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher leads the league with 5 clean sheets and the Red Stars have only allowed 6 goals on the season.
Wednesday's match marks the fourth time this season that the Thorns have met the team at the top of the table. In those three previous meetings, the Thorns have a record of 2-0-1, drawing the Red Stars 1-1 and defeating the Spirit 4-1 and Flash 2-0.