The Thorns are back on the road this week against the Utah Royals. Personnel wise, the NWSL’s newest team has been in a similar position to the Thorns, with their Australian, Katrina Gorry, away at the Asian Cup for the beginning of the season, and Amy Rodriguez still gradually coming back from injury.
Utah has struggled to score this season; they notched one in their inaugural match against Orlando, before going scoreless in the next two games. They got two in their draw against North Carolina last weekend, both following egregious defensive errors by the Courage. As the Washington Spirit showed last week, though, some teams can step up when they face the Thorns, and former Seattle boss Laura Harvey being at the helm in Utah might be extra fuel on the fire.
“With Heath and Crnogorcevic in the mix, the top three will look a little different than they have in previous weeks, where two of Tyler Lussi/Ifeoma Onumonu/Mallory Weber played as dual forwards ahead of Christine Sinclair. Instead, Heath will both drop back and drift wide, with Crnogorcevic and Sinclair also alternately dropping into the midfield and getting forward depending on the situation.
The big question mark this week is the bench, which won’t be quite as shockingly bare-bones as last week’s was, thanks to the addition of Andressinha and Carpenter, plus Kling’s recovery, but will—unless something changes between now and game time—lack keepers after Bella Geist showed up on the injury report with a quad strain.”
Watch it on: go90 (USA), NWSLSoccer.com (international)
Where: Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah
When: Friday, April 20th at 6:00 p.m. PT
Portland Thorns: 2-1-1, 3rd place in the NWSL, drew 1-1 against Washington Spirit
Utah Royals: 0-1-2, 7th place in the NWSL, drew 2-2 against North Carolina Courage