After seeing a 12-game unbeaten run come to an end last weekend, Portland Thorns FC travels to face the Houston Dash hoping to continue their winning ways in Texas. Portland has played the Dash on the road three times, winning twice and tying once.
For the first time this season, the Thorns conceded multiple goals in a match, falling 2-1 to long-time championship rivals FC Kansas City thanks to two headed goals from forward Shea Groom. However, Portland showed strong character in the match, putting significant pressure on Kansas City in the second half and were doubly rewarded with the return of defender Kat Williamson from injury who also scored the lone goal for Thorns FC, her first ever in the NWSL. Goalkeeper Michelle Betos was also rewarded for her heroics with the NWSL’s Save of the Week award on a diving save to deny midfielder Erika Tymrak.
Houston also comes into the match following a loss, going down 1-0 to Sky Blue FC. The Dash have lost their last six-straight matches, all by a 1-0 scoreline. In total, Houston has taken points from three matches all season with two wins and a draw to their name so far in 2016 leaving them second from the bottom on the league table.
Saturday’s matchup will have an interesting caveat in terms of goal scoring and not in favor of the Dash. While Houston is tied with Kansas City for allowing the fewest first half goals, Portland has scored the majority of their goals in the second half, and have started to make a habit of scoring after the 75th minute. Thorns FC have scored seven goals in the final 15 minutes of matches this season and remain the only team to not concede a goal after the 75th minute.
Earlier in the week, the U.S. Women’s National Team roster was announced for the 2016 Summer Olympics, taking five Thorns FC players to Rio in the process. Defender Meghan Klingenberg, along with midfielders Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan and Allie Long were all named to the 18-player roster, while defender Emily Sonnett will travel as an alternate. All but Heath will be participating in their first Olympics. Portland will also be without forward Christine Sinclair (Canada) and midfielder Amandine Henry (France) as each national team prepared for the Games. Portland is also without midfielder Kendall Johnson and Meg Morris due to injury.
The Dash will be missing significant players themselves as reigning FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Carli Lloyd and midfielder Morgan Brian were selected to the U.S. Women’s National Team for Rio, while midfielder Andressa and defender Poliana will suit up for Brazil.
Kickoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. (Pacific) with a live-stream available on YouTube.com and ThornsFC.com.