Last week, Portland faced Boston in Boston, and managed to rally a draw, even though they were behind by two goals by the 50th minute. This was mostly because Boston is a young team; they were unable to hold onto their lead. Will the Thorns manage to break them down again?
The Thorns should start the same group as last week: AD Franch in goal, Meghan Klingenberg, Emily Sonnett, Emily Menges, and Celeste Boureille in the back, Lindsey Horan, Amandine Henry, and Allie Long at midfield, and Nadia Nadim, Christine Sinclair, and Hayley Raso at forward. With Tobin Heath, Dagny Brynjarsdottir, Katherine Reynolds, and Mana Shim all still injured, the bench is thin, though Brynjarsdottir was upgraded to “questionable” in this week’s injury report, to this reporter’s excitement. Cox subbing in for Klingenberg should help the left side rally again if that’s required.
The return of Allie Long, who was out on an injury last week, should really help the Thorns. The main problem last week was our midfield; without it, Sinclair was dropping back into a number 10 position, which wasn’t ideal. She’s a true forward, and although she was able to adapt, I know I’ll feel more comfortable when she’s up top again.
Nadim scored her first goal during the run of play last Friday; hopefully, this will give her the confidence to sink some balls into the back of the net this week. Long’s return this week will also hopefully lead to both players working their way into the attack more; Long’s creativity in the final third has been sorely missed.
The Breakers have only one slight change to their lineup. Amanda Da Costa is out on an excused absence. Da Costa is one of the Breaker’s star midfielders, but her absence won’t kill the Breakers. Their midfield is still incredibly strong, and with Abby Smith’s recent call up to the National Team, their goalie has just gotten a good confidence boost. Not ideal for Portland.
But Portland does well at home; with the crowds of Providence Park behind them, can the Thorns rally and win?
Watch it on: go90 (US), http://www.nwslsoccer.com/ (everyone)
Where: Providence Park, Portland, OR
When: Saturday, May 27 at 7:00 p.m. PT
Portland Thorns: 2-1-3, 5th in the league, drew 2-2 at Jordan Field
Boston Breakers: 2-2-2, 7th in the league, drew 2-2 at Jordan Field