The last time the two teams met, in Chicago in August, Portland won 2-3, but largely on the strength of a terrific first ten minutes and a second-half Klingenberg-to-Sonnett free kick.
In the teams’ first meeting in April, however, A.D. Franch stood on her head to keep the clean sheet and Emily Sonnett bounced a random pass off Press’ arm that was called a handball for a penalty for the 1-nil win.
Last weekend the Thorns drew in a scrappy match in Orlando while Chicago clinched their postseason place with a wild 2-3 win in Houston.
Today the Thorns return home to meet the Red Stars in the final match of the regular season. Both teams are assured of a semifinal appearance, so both will likely be playing to get the best possible result while avoiding injuries to key players and resting as many critical starters as much as possible.
One of the most interesting stories of the match may well be the second appearance of the season for Portland’s Tobin Heath, whose long-awaited return in Orlando last week was limited to the final half-hour of the match. Will Heath play a full half today and, if so, how will that affect the Thorns’ shape on the pitch and how might she influence the outcome of the match?
Where: Providence Park, Portland, Oregon.
When: Saturday, September 30, kickoff at 12:30 p.m. PT.
Watch it: On Lifetime. Currently, the Lifetime schedule shows no pregame show so unless you want to record the last half hour of Abducted: The Carlina White Story! set your DVR for exactly 12:30)
Portland Thorns: 13-5-5, 2nd place in the NWSL, 0-0 draw at Orlando
Chicago Red Stars: 11-6-6, 3th place in the NWSL, 2-3 win at Houston