The Portland Thorns are back at home to take on the Orlando Pride for the second time this season. The Thorns will be looking to bounce back from a poor midweek draw against the Dash, when their best starting lineup to date produced their worst performance to date. AD Franch is still out following surgery for a meniscus injury, while Meghan Klingenberg is unavailable for personal reasons. Emily Menges, however, listed as “questionable” on the injury report, could see her first minutes of the season.
“Wednesday excepted, Portland’s real problems are still going forward, not defending. The starting roster still needs to gel, and Saturday-to-Wednesday is a tight turnaround for two soccer games, it’s true. Nonetheless, we need to see a lot more out of Portland’s forwards. Mallory Weber is Mallory Weber; she’s basically playing to her ceiling. Ifeoma Onumonu may or may not have a higher upside, but we’re not likely to see it on the timeline the Thorns need. Crnogorcevic needs to do better, period. A player can only hesitate a beat too long, or place a shot poorly, or fail to take the extra touch to beat a keeper so many times before their permitted adjustment period is over.
So what of Orlando, specifically? Their defense, as discussed, has been good in recent games. A couple weeks ago, however, Seattle had success in exploiting their high press and playing balls in behind their back line. Ali Krieger, in particular, has been playing well, but has also spent a lot of time pushing high—and her side of the field is, of course, Tobin Heath’s. On the other hand, Nairn was still in the midfield for that game, giving Seattle a correspondingly easier time solving that pressure.”
Watch it on: Lifetime, NWSLsoccer.com internationally
When: Saturday, May 12 at 12:30 pm PT
Where: Providence Park, Portland, OR
Portland Thorns: 2-2-3, fourth in the league, drew 1-1 at Houston Dash
Orlando Pride: 2-2-3, fifth in the league, drew 0-0 at Utah Royals